Feminism (n.) – the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
While my eleventh grade English teacher would deride my opening statement as pathetically cliché, I find that the dictionary definition of Feminism is the most useful for explaining why I am a Feminist. It’s as basic as being an American: that all men are created equal is a truth to be held self-evident, then you are a feminist.
I am a feminist because I believe that women are a powerful social, economic and human force who have as much right to self-determination as any man on this planet. I am a feminist because what I endure as a woman in the United States amounts to paper cuts compared to the injury other women endure around the world.
Regardless of economic or political power, countries that educate and liberate their women and girls are across the board more successful. Countries where women have access to proper prenatal and maternal care have lower infant mortality rates. Countries that deny women education, rights and reproductive freedom deny themselves half of their potential labor force and capacity for economic growth.
The lack of a Y chromosome is not justification for treating a person like a possession or a second-class human being.
Pick up the December issue of National Geographic and look at the Afghani women who are shown in the images. One girl set herself on fire, another had her nose and ears cut off by her husband. Few are policewomen and actresses who (gasp!) drive a car. Look at these women and tell me you are not a feminist. I dare you.
–By Erin O’Neill