Unsolicited Advice to Questioning Teenage Girls

When your friends go on about their crushes
do not feign interest in a boy just to blend in
tell them you would rather kiss girls even though that scares you
tell them you’re confused but
do not lie

When your uncle asks if you prefer Gail or Peta
explain to him that you like Katniss
that her female form strikes you more
than any teenage boy could

And when a girl comes up to you and offers to tell you a secret
listen to her
she will become the first love of your life

When a priest tells you that the way you feel is wrong
spit in his face
who you are is not a sin
and his cross is the biggest lie of all

When you start getting feelings for your best friend
do not ignore them
contemplate what it means to feel
and how friendship differs from love

When you can only imagine kissing her every time you see her
do not feel ashamed
your feelings are healthy and valid
and you deserve the same in return

And when you cry so much your eyes swell up
do not cry for her

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Exposing “Masculine” and “Feminine” Qualities

The definitions our society has attributed to masculinity and femininity widely contrast. In fact, they are the exact opposites. When we think of masculine we use words like dominant, strong, and independent. When we think of feminine we use words like submissive, frail, and dependent. While both women and men do contain a mixture of both of these qualities, for some reason it is only acceptable for men to be completely masculine and for women to be completely feminine. For this, we can blame society.

However, these words, these adjectives, are faulty. They shove men and women into tiny boxes, forcing them to “conform” to these ideals. One is to believe that a masculine man can take care of everything, provide for the family, and never cry, while a feminine woman is weak and must obey her husband or any other male authoritarians. Obviously, these are two extremes ranging from super human to helpless. But if we are to take these definitions so literally, as we generally do, we have to consider the extreme sides.

I have heard many people make the bold “statement” that masculine women are lesbians, and feminine men are gays. When such statements are made, at least to me, it is obvious that these reverse characteristics are meant to be taken as an insult and as an abnormality, which so happens to be considered wrong or disdainful. These claims may be made for various reasons, but the important part is that they are made at all. It appears to be a rather troublesome thing to be “different”, existing outside of societal ideas and/or normalities. It is not acceptable to set ourselves apart.

And although being feminine is an insult for men and women, women are at a disadvantage because masculinity is something they should never ever possess. If they adhere to their given roles as weak and submissive, they are inferior. (I mean, who wants to be told that they’re weak?) And if women are masculine, they are either lesbians (which is a bad thing apparently) or undesirable. Feminine men do appear to be at a certain disadvantage, but in the end, they are still men, men who own everything and rule the world.

To conclude, the terms masculine and feminine are absolutely ridiculous. We do not need to use these adjectives ever. They are insulting and absolutely useless. Humans are individuals. We are all inherently different and we all possess different qualities, regardless of sex or gender. We are unique. We have brains. We have entire thesauruses and dictionaries to provide us with more appropriate and accurate words to describe each and every individual we meet. There is no need to clump an entire gender into one “ideal” category. We’re better than that, or at least, I hope so.

*I decided to write this because of these comments that I have viewed recently:

[“Women aren’t supposed to be too strong. If women were strong, they’d be men (or lesbians).

What man in his right mind would want to have sex with another man? That’s gay. Therefore, women should be slightly submissive. It’s the essence of femininity.”

“A man wants to be with a woman who’s a woman – the type of feminine woman that is rapidly becoming extinct.”]

Well, boys, here’s a little tip:  If there is a vagina attached to her, there’s a good chance that she just might be woman.

Coming Out of the Feminist Closet

Someone very close to me is still unaware of my ever-present and ever-growing feminism. This person is my sister. I am hesitant to inform her about this part of my life because she tends to be judgmental and because of various things she has said in the past. About a year ago, her and her husband were talking and said something to this effect: “Feminists are butch lesbians who hate men.” At the time, my only reaction was to roll my eyes and feel somewhat shitty inside, but now I feel disgusted and slightly hurt that someone I love would make such an ignorant comment. Lesbians can be butch, lesbians can be feminists, and lesbians can be butch feminists, but they do not make up the entire demographic of feminists. Feminists consist of men, women, heteros, homos, bisexuals, transgenders, Christians, atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, republicans, democrats, libertarians, independents, femmes, butches, you name it. So, obviously not all feminists are butch lesbians. This is because people have the ability to think for themselves and decide what they want to believe and agree with. Each and every human being is an individual, who can use his or her own judgment to determine who they are and what they want out of life.  My other new reaction to this ignorant comment is: Then what the hell am I? I am not a lesbian, or a butch lesbian, yet I’m a feminist. Oh, and I also don’t hate men. So it would seem that we now have a debacle on our hands since I am now the ultimate exception to the feminist rule. A predominantly straight, biological female, who doesn’t hate men can be a feminist? What? I know. I am astonished as well.

All sarcasm aside, the fact that her and so many other people think feminists are part of the “she-woman man-haters club” shows how seriously misinformed and ignorant the world is. Feminism is about achieving equality for both women and men because we are equals, regardless of our inherent, biological differences. Those differences are insignificant and matter not. The goal of the feminist movement is to rid the world of misogyny and misandry and to eliminate gender stereotypes and gender specific insults, so that one day a girl will not be given grief over her desire to join the school football team, and a guy will be allowed to cry and feel emotion in public without being called a girl, because, in reality, that is not an insult. In reality, we are all human. We were all created equally. Different doesn’t equate to less.

So, Sister, I am stepping out of the feminist closet to show you who I truly am. I do not expect you to agree with me on every issue. We both have very different beliefs politically, socially, religiously, academically, but in the end, none of those differences matter. I have looked up to you for so long. For so long, I wanted to be you, but now it is time for me to become my own person. I am who I am, and I am proud to be me. And I hope you are proud to be my sister. I love you, and I can’t wait to see you on Thursday.

Love,

Catherine