“I’m not a feminist, I just think that women should be equal to men.”

I’m not a pessimist, but I’m slowly losing my faith in humanity. When I hear things like this, I want to bang my head against a wall. Being a feminist means that you believe in equality for women. Equality as in getting equal rights, equal pay for equal work and social equality. Those are just to name a few.

If you’ve ever seen “Mean Girls” then you understand that part of the problem is other women. Girl-on-girl hate is made up of words like “slut” and “prude,” spoken in a way that is meant to disparage. Why do we vilify each other while men commend each other? The only way to get rid of the double standard is by accepting that our sexuality doesn’t define us, ever.

This is why I have such conflicted feelings about Taylor Swift. Her boyfriends do not define her, her music does. However, all of her music is about boys. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, until she drags other girls into it. In her song “You Belong With Me,” she downplays herself as the nerdy, unpopular best friend of the perfect guy, who just happens to be dating the evil cheerleader that wears — no, could it be? — short skirts and high heels. Last time I checked, there wasn’t a dress code for life; you can pretty much wear whatever you want. Wearing a short skirt doesn’t make you a tyrannical teenage girl hell-bent on destroying every guy she’s with.

Recently Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the Golden Globe Awards, and they made a jab at Taylor Swift, joking that she should stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son. Apparently forgetting all of the songs she has written bashing other women, a bitter Taylor told Vanity Fair that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Ouch. She might have a point, but she should really check herself before she starts accusing card-carrying feminists (and comedians, no less) of trying to bring her down.

Society, especially at Fairfield, is stereotyping feminists as bra-burning, hairy-legged harpies, and some are even called “feminazis” because of how strongly they advocate for their god-given, unalienable rights. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that wanting legal control over my own body was comparable to slaughtering millions of innocent people. My bad.

I’m a feminist because it’s up to me to decide if I want to take birth control or have an abortion. I’m a feminist because I work just as hard as the men in my office and I deserve the same pay. I’m a feminist because I don’t want to be judged by my sexual decisions.

I’m a feminist because I want to live freely in a country that owes its existence to the desire for freedom from oppression. I’m a feminist because I believe that all people were created equal. If you agree, then guess what: You’re a feminist too.

Read last month’s opinion article on how Taylor Swift’s songs provide life lessons here

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