I am a feminist. I value my right to vote, my access to education, and my ability to choose my path in life without so many restrictions that existed in the past. Feminism has a bad rap, and I think it’s important to understand that there are many types of feminism and that men and women come to feminism through different avenues. A feminist does not hate men, marriage, or children, and does not burn bras and seek to destroy the family. The work of feminists gave women the right to vote, and we vote differently on many issues. A feminist is one who seeks to challenge discrimination of every kind: based on sex, race, class, sexuality, religion, age, ability. We believe in equality. For all people.

I came to feminism as a result of work with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. In a country where sexual assault occurs once every two minutes, where 1 in 6 women will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime and roughly 1.3 million women will be a victim of domestic violence every year, I cannot hide my face and pretend that violence does not exist. I recognize that our culture allows for and encourages misogyny, and misogyny leads to violence against women. I long for a day where violence against women is a thing of the past, and I have seen the feminist movement work towards a world where that is possible.

At Berry, we celebrate a day called “This is What a Feminist Looks Like Day.” It was empowering to walk across campus in a shirt proclaiming a fundamental part of your identity and see others doing the same. Because feminism is so often challenged and dogged in conversation, especially at Berry, the unity of that day was important. Professors, staff, and students alike came together in solidarity. Today, March 12, is This is What a Feminist Looks Like 2010. I add my voice to theirs.

Berry Feminists

My words are weak, but I find comfort in the community of voices lifted up together.:

Additional reading.Additional viewing.A great blog.More information on sexual assault.More information on domestic violence.An old favorite.Take action.A local organization.