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Embracing the F-word: This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Theo Kogan for Kenneth Cole

Everyone knows the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman.” And then I see an article that one of my friends shared on Facebook about the 10 women who secretly control the Internet (aka “the world”), and I have to ask – what’s with all the secrecy here, people?

The answer is obvious and it has to do with which pair of pants we put on in the morning and how we conduct ourselves in a room full of strangers. It’s the way we shake hands in public and how we introduce ourselves using only our first names. It’s the question of whether our actions are dictated by society or if it’s from the very nature of the “g” word – gender.

Learning “F”

I was 17 when I learned the “F” word. I had heard the “F” word before, but I never really understood what it meant and especially what it meant to me.

Feminist Coming Out DayIt came to me from the most obvious of places; a class called Introduction to Women’s History at the community college. I was still in high school and especially impressionable. So I did what every teenager did and I shared it with my best friend.

My best friend and I were revolutionaries without a revolution. We were like every single teenager on the planet who was looking to be a part of something but we weren’t too sure what that ‘something’ was. (This was also before Facebook.)

To us, feminism was an identity that we could wear proudly on our arm and let it stand that it stood for being who we as it is true to ourselves. It stands for knowing that we are strong, represents the gutsy, and tells us it’s not only okay to strive for what we want out of life, it’s required.

How this Feminist celebrates International Women’s Day

As a girl and a woman growing up in the U.S., a glass ceiling has never prevented me from achieving what I want to accomplish in life. But I know that’s not the case for everyone.

Give2Girls on JolkonaThe role of women and girls in the world is constantly on my mind. I am fortunate to work for an organization that holds these values close to the core of their business. But there is so much left to be done and so much to do. Which is why today, on the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, I’m proud to help power the launch of Give 2 Girls, a campaign that turns activism into action by empowering the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today.

Seriously, you should check it out the campaign and see how the Jolkona community is supporting this movement.

So as I clean up my desk, load this blog, and head to one of the few celebrations of International Women’s Day in Seattle, I need to send a few text messages to the women in my life who helped inspire and support me throughout my budding “F” word years. These are women who share their strength, knowledge, and beauty when I needed and when I didn’t know we needed it.

Happy International Women’s Day, Feminist Coming Out Day, and good ol’ Tuesday!

I’m going to celebrate with 100+ ladies and gents in Seattle. What are you doing to celebrate this momentous day?

Photo Credit: ego technique

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  • Good post. My spouse is my partner, she is successful – her being successful enables me to be successful – she is also rock solid, backbone of iron and will step up and into w/o hesitation. We note that often times one’s lack of desire to be spotlighted is mistaken for lack of capability – far from it.nAnother good site which highlights the value of the educated girl/woman: http://www.girleffect.org.nnAll the best,nChristopher

    • Thank you, Christopher. That’s really sweet how close your success is tied to that of your wife. I’d say my husband, John, and I are the same way. Seeing him go after his goals inspires me and I know he feels the same way when watching and helping me succeed too.nnConfession: I am in absolute awe and love with the Girl Effect. That video gives me goosebumps every time. I would love to meet the architect behind that campaign and learn how they turned statistics into awareness so that we could take those tools and turn it into action. It’s amazing.nnThanks for stopping by!nn

  • Love this. Just recently, my bf and I were talking about marriage (eep!) and he was saying, “you know, once one of us gets a job then the other one can move there, or whatever needs to happen.” We were talking about our different life choice/my career and I said, “just so you know, you’re a feminist.” nn”no i’m not.”n”yes you are.”n”ok, explain it to me.”n”you believe there isn’t any kind of difference between the two of us – our jobs are equally important, our life plans are equally important – you don’t see gender, you see people.”nnhe looked at me and said, “well yeah, why wouldn’t i? there’s a special word for that? i thought it was just how things were supposed to be.”nnyep. win.

    • Okay, that’s absolutely priceless. I shared your comment with my husband as we had a very similar conversation when we were flirting with the “m” word. (And this is when I realize that I didn’t talk about him at all in this post…)nnHaving a man in your life who shares the same values as you just shared is invaluable; it’s similar to what Chris shared in the first comment about his relationship with his wife and how when she succeeds, he succeeds. As someone put it, we’re a team.nnThat totally rocks, Shanley. Thanks for sharing! nnDouble win.

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