Lady Business: My feminism is personal

You can probably tell by the title of this column that I’m going to be focusing on issues related to women. Feminist issues. Lady business.
Part of me wanted to launch right into it with a good old rant, but the more clear-headed part of me held that back. “Introduce yourself,” she said. “Let everybody know what to expect before you start getting too angry about the patriarchy.”
“There’s no such thing as being too angry about the patriarchy,” I thought, rebelliously, but rational me had a point.
Feminism is widely misunderstood, and, despite rampant stereotypes, no two feminisms are exactly alike.
That’s because, when you take a step out of the academic study of feminism and into the reality of it, everyone brings their own experiences to the table and those experiences shape how they view the world.
I’m not going to go into dictionary definitions, because that’s boring and I’ve got better things to do. Do that on your own time. Ask a sociology professor.
Instead, I’m going to briefly introduce you to my own feminism.
My feminism is built into my bones. It bloomed up around the time I started realizing how important positive female characters are, when I was obsessing over “Little Women” in the third grade, and it has been growing and evolving ever since.
It wasn’t until the beginning of high school, though, that I figured out how to put a name to everything that I had been feeling.
In its most explicit roots, the feminism that I’ve formed around myself was born of the Internet, where I accidentally fell into forums full of young, enthusiastic feminists and womanists and, soon, fell deeply and desperately in love with everything they had to say.
Through them, I could rationalize and define all of the anger that had started spiking up inside me after puberty hit and I started to see the effects of misogyny on both my classmates and myself in my day-to-day life.
These women were who helped me realize that feminism is exactly what I needed to teach myself how to feel correct and whole in my own skin.
My own view of feminism is personal because it grew around the problems I saw that left me horrified and desperate to explain them.
These aren’t just larger overarching issues like rape and reproductive rights and economic disparities. They are issues that I saw in every type of media that I consumed, in every single classroom that I had to sit in, and in every single classmate that I talked to.
They are common, every day issues, and they all tie together with a culture of misogyny to immediately, subversively impact the person that I was when I first stumbled into feminism: a scared, confused teenage girl.
Weren’t we all scared, confused teenage girls at some point? Well, kind of, at least. The point is, every time someone prioritized my brother’s career plans over mine, I became more of a feminist.
Every time a really special history teacher I had would tell the girls in our class that we should skip college and just get our “M.R.S.,” I became more of a feminist.
This kind of feminism is personal. It’s informed by scholarship and history and politics, but, at its heart, it’s about deconstructing the world that I live in every day and working to create the world that I want future teenage girls to grow into, brick by outraged brick.
That’s one thing I’d like to achieve with this column, and I’ll leave you with that. Let’s stack up a few more bricks.

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