Feminist Fridays #5

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This week in school, I found out some things about my peers’ POVs on LGBTQ+. And they were slightly surprising. I mean, lots of people use “gay” as an adjective to describe anything weird or strange or gross or scary or anything of the like. So I already knew that a) they don’t really understand how to properly sue the word “gay” and b) they [probably] don’t really like gay people.

One thing I learned is that some people—even some who are my good friends—are very homophobic. They think that you get to choose to be gay or lesbian or whatever. And they think it’s gross and unnatural. One of the reasons that I think people think this is that they’re uninformed. Maybe friends who have never known someone who was gay told them these things, and they decided it was right. Maybe their parents are uninformed or just very anti-gay. Whatever the reason, many people are homophobic, and it broke my heart to learn this.

It was during design class. I was telling my friend about my new novel because she’d read the first twenty-five pages and wanted to know if I’d written more. The boy next to me overheard and asked me what it was about. I described the main characters to him and the extremely basic root of the plot. Afterward, he kind of grimaced and said something along the lines of, “That’s weird. Having a gay character.” I proceeded to inform him that Jack was bisexual, not gay, which he still thought was weird. I asked him why he thought so and he said it was “gross” for two people of the same gender to be kissing. He said he didn’t like gay people and all that stuff.

I lectured him for a moment, and he kind-of-not-really listened. Then my friend who is a 120% ally came over and joined in. We had to go to our next class, and as we waited outside, I heard a few of my friends near me discussing how of course people choose to be gay.

UMMM. What the heck???

The second thing that happened went a little something like this. We were playing basketball in PE and I was “subbed out.” [Which means that we have too many players so one has to stay on the sidelines and switch out.] One girl whom I know and talk to was also subbed out, so we talked while they played. After a little bit of chatting, she told me about something really funny that has happened today.

Apparently, this one boy was walking around with his hands crossed over his chest [I don’t even know why] and someone had said that he was transgender and was covering up his breasts. And then someone joked that he was on his period. I know I should have said something, but I was kind of speechless at the sheer horridness of this, and I just kind of nodded and smiled a little and turned away to watch the basketball game. The girl was still chuckling to herself.

I’m not transgender. I’m not claiming to know exactly how trans people feel. However, not only am I an ally, I am writing a book in the POV of a transgender person, and this hit me kind of hard. People are now joking that others are transgender, and scorning them for it?

thoughts about this? tell me in the comments below.

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Feminist Fridays #4: All About Feminism

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I recently received a comment on my blog on FF #2 about Emma Watson. The commenter said in response to me:

I know he’s not aha. And I know the way you are defining feminism, but the definition seems a little different than what feminists are actually doing. I agree (mostly, not entirely) with the last video, although I thought all three had good points. It’s more how feminists (the extreme feminists if you will) portray themselves and how that might actually be detrimental to boys/men.
I get that you don’t hate men. I get that you have an outgoing, independent personality and I admire that. I’m not attacking you at all. I’m just trying to see if I can reconcile these two opposing ideas for myself, you know?

I want to break this down.

So how do I define feminism?

I define it the way I’ve been raised to and the official dictionary definition, which is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Here is the link to the Urban Dictionary definition, which elaborates more.

What are feminists doing?

According to this commenter, feminists are acting differently than the definition. I’m not fully up to date on everything feminism going on, but I do know about a few things that ahve happened recently.

Malala Yousafzai is still advocating for girls’ education and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Emma Watson spoke at the UN about her new campaign, HeForShe, which tries to get men involved in the feminist movement.

Taylor Swift has said a few things about feminism in 2014.

And that’s just what I know. All of those women have not been shaming or discriminating against women. They have been advocating for equality.

Where are people getting the idea that the word “feminism” is synonymous with “man-hating”?

I know of, but do not personally know, “feminists” who think they are better than men. This is not feminism.

I have seen this portrayed once in the media by, unfortunately, the otherwise wonderful Shailene Woodley. She said she wasn’t a feminist because she didn’t hate men. This really disappoints me. Her entire fanbase of young teenage girls are going to try to reflect her, and probably won’t be feminists because of this. Which makes me very sad.

I found this article on the web and found it very enlightening. If you’re interested in learning more about why feminism is being called man-hating, click that link!

What I Learned:

  • feminism started in the late 1700’s
  • about misandrists
  • that people are irrational [but I kind of already knew that…]
  • men wanted to keep power so they basically called feminism man-hating [I am not blaming all men]

Are you a feminist? Has this been enlightening? Tell me in the comments below.

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Feminist Fridays #3

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Evi @ Where Books Never End has generously volunteered to write a guest post for Feminist Fridays. Thank you Evi!

Hi! I’m Eviline Lunette (or Evi), fellow book blogger at Where Books Never End. Chloe was so wonderfully kind to let me do a guest post today (she’s just wonderful in general). I’d like to talk to you about something that I’m a part of and that I’m sure you all have heard of before: Girl Scouts.

Now, tell me. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear those words? Perhaps it’s the cookies. It is, after all, practically what we’re famous for (my personal favorite is Thin Mints). Or maybe you picture a group of girls (also known as a troop), all dressed in a spiffy white-polo-khaki-pants uniform, complete with the traditional vest or sash, adorned with badges and pins.

Or, perhaps, you simply picture a girl. You see the classic, uniform-clad Girl Scout, looking practically perfect. You might think of her as a “Miss Goody Two-Shoes” or a “girly girl”.

See, most people tend to think of Girl Scouts as a girly activity. I don’t know about you, but that’s the impression that I get from television, social media, people, et cetera. They (‘they’ being the ones stereotyping) picture troops flouncing around, doing good deeds like rescuing kittens and the like. They think of us as a kind of “upholder of niceness”- it’s incredible how stereotyped it is.

But they aren’t completely wrong. Girl Scouts is about girls- but girls of every personality, every color, every age. Yes, saving kittens is wonderful, but we try to do bigger things- things that can make a bigger difference (i.e. volunteering at a homeless shelter to decorate it for the holidays, something my troop recently did). It’s about that- but it’s also about having fun and being who you are. And we are girls- but not the stereotyped kind. We are friendly, we are curious, we are kind, we are funny, we are sassy, we are geeky, we are smart, we are silly, we are us. We are girls who have fun, help others, and do what’s right. That’s Girl Scouts in a nutshell.

Have you ever heard the Girl Scout promise?

On my honor, I will try:

To serve God and my country,

To help people at all times,

And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

I’ve had this drilled into my head since I was a little Daisy, the first level of Girl Scouts, in kindergarten. But it’s what makes us us. Our three fingered hand symbol, much resembling the Mockingjay symbol from The Hunger Games, is based off the three parts of the Promise. And even then, there’s the Law:

I will do my best to be:

Honest and fair

Friendly and helpful

Considerate and caring

Courageous and strong

Responsible for what I say and do, and to

Respect myself and others

Respect authority

Use resources wisely

Make the world a better place, and

Be a sister to every Girl Scout.

It’s not just about girls, it’s about girls and friendship and changing the world. It’s about being the best girl you can be. It’s about helping others. Our motto is “be prepared”. And it’s explained like this:

“A Girl Scout is ready to help out whenever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency. When you read tales of great heroism or lives of men and women who gave great service to humanity, you will notice that these people were able to do so much only because they had trained themselves along the way.

-Girl Scout Handbook, 1947

It’s not just about helping others, either, it’s being able to help others.

But how does this specifically connect with feminism? Well, despite the fact that it’s a female-run organization about “girl power” and helping others, it was formed at a time when girls were expected to be proper young ladies who grew up, married, had children, and then did the housework and things like sewing. Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, met Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, on a trip and loved his idea. She wanted to do something with all the girls of Savannah, Georgia, and eventually all the world (Lord Baden-Powell’s sister, Lady Agnes, was actually the one to found Girl Guides). She wanted them to be able to camp, to learn knot-tying, to canoe, to do all the things generally not expected of them but still fun to do. And lo and behold, Girl Scouts was born one evening in Savannah, when 18 girls came to Daisy’s house for the first Girl Scout meeting.

Chloe also asked me a very interesting question- does Girl Scouts allow LGBTQ+ leaders or girls? I did a bit of research on this (I had never heard anything otherwise), and am glad to discover that Girl Scout refuses discrimination of girls or leaders, and will accept them, even though the Boy Scouts does not. This is pleasing to hear- it makes the community of girls so much more open and accepting.

Maybe, now that you’ve survived to the end of this post (Congratulations!), you think of Girl Scouts a little differently. Maybe your views have changed. Or maybe they haven’t, because you knew of Girl Scouts already or are one yourself. However, I hope you’ve come away from this with one thing in mind: girls can make a difference, from when they’re in kindergarten to when they’re old with graying hair. That’s what Girl Scouts does.

Thank you again, Evi, for this wonderfully informative post. Any questions for Evi or any other things to say? Tell me in the comments below.

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Feminist Fridays #2

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This is a new feature about feminism called Feminist Fridays. Since I deleted my second blog, A Girl’s Voice, which was about feminism, I decided to have feminism on this blog by introducing a new feature. FF will have topics ranging from what feminism is to my thoughts on LGBTQ+ things and beyond. It is not a linkup, but feel free to leave your own opinion on whatever I am discussing in the comment section below.

There is a wonderful website called feminist.com that I used in my previous blog frequently. As I was browsing articles, I came across the 7 Reasons Why 2014 Was a Great year for Feminism. Among these seven reasons was Emma Watson’s speech at the UN, which is what I will talk about today.

Emma Watson is my hero. She is, to me, the true embodiment of a feminist. She knows that not only women are oppressed, but men are, too. She talked about some of her experiences and how they have impacted her. She spoke of being called “bossy” when she was eight, and I could relate to this. I have been called bossy my entire life, especially by boys. I am a natural leader, and I was okay with being bossy.

But there are better words. Confident, for example. It’s wrong that I have to be called bossy, which is synonymous with “pushy” and “dictatorial.”

Emma Watson spoke of being sexualized by the media at the tender age of fourteen. Her girlfriends dropped out of sports at age fifteen because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.” At age eighteen, her male friends weren’t able to share their feelings or be sensitive. This has to stop. Teenage girls should be able to be girls, not sex objects, and they should be able to play sports and have muscle, and not be ashamed of it. Boys and men should be able to share their feelings and be sensitive and vulnerable, and not have to be macho 24/7.

In the speech, she also talked about how “feminism” is perceived as being a bad word, and people don’t want to identify as feminists. I know people who have said the same thing to me, yet they are feminists in my eyes. There is also a stereotype that feminism is man-hating. It’s not! I was very hurt and upset when Shailene Woodley said she was “not a feminist because I don’t hate men.” She is a role model for so many young girls, who are going to hear that and not be feminists because of her.

Emma Watson is my hero. She is, to me, the true embodiment of a feminist. I admire her so much for starting HeForShe, which I am hoping will be a success.

What do you think of Emma Watson’s speech? And have you ever been the subject of sexism? Tell me in the comments below.

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