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Let me start by saying that a few years ago, I would not have identified myself as a feminist. When I was a few years younger, I had a skewed view of what it meant to be a feminist. When I heard that someone was a feminist, I pictured a woman who hated men, didn't shave their armpits, and felt the need to argue against all institutions.
My view of feminism has drastically changed within these last few years. Now I even identify myself as a feminist, and I am darn proud of it.
I feel there are many different types and levels of feminism. I feel there are radical feminists who protest and talk about it constantly, making it their lives (which there is nothing wrong with), then there are feminists like myself, and everywhere in between.
To me, being a feminist is simply believing and/or implementing the fact that women are able to have all opportunities men have. This doesn't mean that women should be handed the position of CEO of the company just because she's a woman. This means that if a woman has all the qualifications needed of a CEO, then she should be considered for the position the same as a man, with the same pay as a man.
Now does this mean that women shouldn't be stay-at-home moms? Does this mean that women should feel ashamed if they actually like doing work inside the house rather than outside? No! Not at all. A woman should have the RIGHT to choose to do these things. Not because it's what society says is correct, but because she feels that it's in the best interest of herself and her family. I feel the same way about men. If they choose to be stay-at-home dads, and the woman works, that should not be looked down upon either.
A woman and a man should have equal opportunities. A woman should be able to do the same work, for the same amount of pay, as a man. It's time that we stop looking at the gender of the person doing the job, but rather the accomplishments and qualifications of the person doing the job.
Honestly, I believe I feel this way and can now comfortably identify as a feminist because of my wonderful fiancé. He has taught me that to be in a successful relationship, we have to encourage each other. We have to help each other be successful. He has more faith in me than I do in myself. He believes that I can do anything I put my mind to. Not because I am a woman and not because I am his partner. But, because he believes confidently that I am smart and capable of doing anything I want to with hard work.
If everyone had this same thought process, I feel our world would be entirely different. If we just believed in ourselves, and in others, based on their hard work, accomplishments, and qualities rather than looking at their gender, race, etc., I feel that we would be so much more advanced than we are right now.
Take a moment to think about the things we have lost because we have discouraged people from doing things and advancing in their careers because they are a woman who wants to work in science, or they are a man who wants to stay at home with the kids, or because of a racial issue. Someone somewhere wasn't able to accomplish their dreams and contribute all they could to society because of the ignorance and insecurities of other people.