What is a feminist?

By Nikki Weisenburger

I used to be a biology major. When I decided to change my major to Women’s Culture and Health, my guy friend asked me, voice dripping with disgust, “You’re not going to become a feminist are you??” I looked at him like he was crazy, “I’m a woman. I’m already a feminist.” Of course, as I said when discussing it with my female friends later, I’m not going to start burning my bras anytime soon. But I think feminism has become accepted enough that women don’t need to resort to extreme acts to get attention for their cause. I thought a lot about this encounter; are people still afraid of “feminists” because they’re afraid of getting burning underwear stuffed in their faces? Or are people simply afraid of women with opinions?

Margaret Atwood asked “What is a feminist?” better than I ever could: “Does a feminist mean a large unpleasant person who’ll shout at you or someone who believes women are human beings? To me, it’s the latter, so I sign up.”

I’m sure I am a feminist. I believe in choice for all. I believe in a woman’s right to her body as strongly as I believe in a woman’s right to decide how she dresses and what religion she practices or chooses not to.

I am a woman; therefore I am feminist.


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