Part two of a series on feminism… forget the labels


Photo Illustration Courtesy of Vicky Sandoval

Just as the artist's rendition portrays, labels, can have an oppressive effect on individuals.

Sara Freitag, Opinion Editor

Feminists do not always look the same. For example, I wear heels (quite a bit). I over-pack. I love to look and feel feminine. I am at times indecisive. Yes, these are all stereotypes of women… specifically (according to labels), women who are supposedly not feminists.

However, I am also competitive. I will throw off my heels and will try to kick your butt at any sport you challenge me to. I am motivated to achieve, succeed and be the best version of me that I can be. I don’t back down from my goals, and I persist until the very end.

The worrisome thing about gender stereotypes and ideological labels is that they perpetuate ideals of conformity as opposed to free expression. I find it important that, rather than labeling people, we see them for who they are – as a person and nothing more.

As such, I would like to, jumping off from part one of my series, propose a spirit of understanding pertaining to a common misperception that feminism means women are trying to be men or replace them.

Additionally, although there are varying types of feminists, the heart of feminism cannot be minimized by saying women solely desire to pay men back and gain superiority over them.

Thus, I would like to personally apologize on behalf of any women and men you know who may reflect an immature mindset – masked by the term feminism. I realize that labels and misperceptions tempt us to place blame on all members of a particular demographic (in other words, stereotyping); however, the feminist movement is not founded upon a sense of false entitlement.

We are not vying for gender superiority and f r e e handouts. Nothing could be further from the truth, and believe me…if that were the heart of the movement, this achievement-driven woman would be hightailing it out of here.

Rather, as a feminist, I seek to empower women so that their voices are heard on an equal playing field as men’s, but that does not mean they have to be the same voices, or that they should be raised to a higher level than that of a man. I encourage us to take a deep look at the way we label people.

Realize that, just because someone identifies with a particular gender – male, female or other – or whether they ideologically identify a certain way, does not mean you can neatly fit them inside a box of preconceived notions.

Rather, let’s celebrate diversity and individuality, realizing that every person is unique and cannot be confined to the four corners of a socially constructed stereotype. Stay tuned for part three!