Can the hijab be a symbol of feminism? No, but the news media won’t stop trying to make the sale

There were quite a few hot takes spotted among the media’s coverage of#MuslimWomensDay this year. USA TODAY, for one, offered up the idea that the hijab had emerged as a symbol of feminism following the election of President Trump.

It wasn’t long after that CNN featured a music video in which aMuslim rapper “swaggin with her hijabis” made a statement against intolerance, and now CNN is back at the well, promoting the latest episode of“United Shades of America” with a tweet again asking the question: can the hijab be a symbol of feminism?

Read more: http://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2017/05/21/can-the-hijab-be-a-symbol-of-feminism-no-but-the-news-media-wont-stop-trying-to-make-the-sale/

11 Reasons Bad Gal Rihanna Is Actually A Great Role Model

In praise of a good girl gone bad.

11. She has excellent role models.

10. Her signature look is confidence.

When it comes to fashion, Rihanna follows no rules and gives no fucks — she’s walked the red carpet in a see-through gown, accepted an award with her hair in a doobie wrap, and strutted the streets in full-body denim. She wears what she wants, when she wants and doesn’t care what anyone else has to say about it.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / Getty Images

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Jason Merritt / Getty Images


9. She doesn’t treat her female peers like rivals.

Is there a pop star more committed to dismantling the bullshit narrative that all successful women are competitors than Rihanna? She has collaborated with Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, and Shakira, spent dozens of award shows snuggled up to bestie Katy Perry and has openly expressed her admiration for Queen Bey.

Larry Busacca / Getty Images


8. She’s not afraid to take a stand.

7. Her music is the definition of sex-positive.

Months before Fifty Shades Of Grey hit stores, Rih conquered radio with “S&M,” a pro-kink anthem that dares to make rough sex actually sound fun. Her music is judgement-free zone where expressing your sexuality — even the less mainstream elements of it — won’t undermine your power or diminish your worth.


6. Her soulmate isn’t a man, it’s her BFF Melissa Forde.

5. She refuses to be slut-shamed.

Rihanna loves her body. She also loves sex. This shouldn’t be controversial but there are plenty of people who’d like to shame her into different choices. When nude photos from her phone leaked and caused an uproar online, Rihanna didn’t apologize for posing in private or have her publicist issue a denial. She decided to be a smart aleck on social media instead.

@PinaRihanna that would be… ME when I was skinny!

— rihanna (@Rihanna)

She was similarly unbothered when TLC’s Chili and T-Boz accused her of taking the easy route by selling sex. “We sold and became the biggest girl selling group of all time, with our clothes on,” T-Boz said. “That says a lot.” Rihanna’s response? A choice Twitter banner:

4. Seriously, she doesn’t need a man.


Stop asking about them!

3. She’s doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects in her music.

Instead of shying away from her own experience with domestic violence or trying to make it palatable, Rihanna has made the messier elements of her personal life central to her art. Every album since 2009’s Rated R has featured songs that deal explicitly with the effect and appeal of toxic relationships.

2. When she sings about sex, it’s almost always about what she likes and what she wants.





1. She’s not perfect and doesn’t try to be.

Rihanna is beautiful, talented, and extremely successful, but she’s also human. She’s made mistakes and she’s made them publicly. It’s part of her appeal — watching someone struggle and find their way is inspiring. Flawed role models are the best kind.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kelleydunlap/bad-gal-riri-is-a-good-role-model

The Trouble With “It Girls”

We’ve used the term for nearly a century. But what does it tell us about the way we label women and their work?

Matt Baron / BEImages / Getty Images / BuzzFeed News

On the cover of the February issue of Vanity Fair, Rosamund Pike gives her best icy blue-eyed Grace Kelly. The cover’s intro — “From Bond Girl to Gone Girl to 2015’s It Girl” — is banal: Pike’s beauty here is the real draw.

But still, there’s that phrase, “It girl”: one that Vanity Fair wielded back in 1998 for the then-up-and-coming Gretchen Mol, who struggled so mightily to make good on the promise that the New York Times dubbed it the “Vanity Fair Cover Curse,” and that Vogue uses in its own February cover story on Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson, “who exudes the effortless cool of an It Girl.”

Vanity Fair


Vanity Fair


In naming someone an It girl, a publication is either hedging a bet (Gretchen Mol will be all that anyone’s talking about in 1998) or trendspotting (Cara Delevingne is everywhere in New York; you’ll be seeing her everywhere else soon). In this contemporary iteration, “It girl” has come to mean some cross of a new, young, generally hot thing known for attending parties and movie premieres and a new, young, generally hot thing who makes her name in a sphere (politics, journalism, golf, rap) broadly delimited to men. It’s a seemingly safe way to declare someone as worthy of your attention without actually articulating what, exactly, merits that attention. These girls are it: no matter that the antecedent to “it” remains unknown.

So what’s the fascination with naming — and reading about — prospective It girls? The term may seem like a cliche, ambiguous, employed out of editorial imprecision, and it certainly is many, if not all, of those things. But the century-long history of the It girl, coupled with a remarkable usage spike over the last decade, points to a broader and enduring trend in which writers flag a certain type of behavior, demeanor, or ambition, name it, and, in so doing, map a certain type of (limited, limiting) career and behavior trajectory in which the woman is forever marked by both her gender and her ineffable thing-ness. There’s no such moniker, after all, as an “It woman.”

The modern It girl age can probably be traced to a seminal 1994 New Yorker profile of Chloë Sevigny in which Jay McInerney dubbed the 19-year-old “the It Girl with a street-smart style and down-low attitude.” The article’s lede set the scene for this ‘90s version of the It girl, which is to say, part socialite, part fashion plate, part indie oddity:

It’s weird, this happens all the time. Chloë Sevigny is sitting at one of the outdoor tables at Stingy Lulu’s on St. Mark’s Place just off Avenue A, absorbing a mixed green salad and devouring the just-out September Vogue. A black girl and an Asian girl huddle anxiously on the corner a few yards away, checking her out. The two are about Chloë’s age, which is nineteen, and they seem to be debating whether or not to approach. Do they recognize her from the Sonic Youth video—the one filmed in Marc Jacobs’ showroom, which was kind of a spoof of the whole grunge thing—or did they catch her modeling the X-Girl line last spring? Maybe they saw her photo in Details, the ones taken by Larry Clark, who has just cast Chloë in his new movie, “Kids.”

Sevigny in 1994 Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

Sevigny wasn’t beautiful, exactly, or sexy, per se; she was different, and indifferent, and that’s what made her It. Sevigny’s It-ness manifested a particular sort of abrasive, even erudite hipness. So much about her seemed to scream “fuck you, I contain multitudes,” yet the profile attempts, as profiles must, to unite that multiplicity under a single theme: It-ness. In so doing, the New Yorker transformed an unruly woman like Sevigny, with her nontraditional looks and unfamiliar club-kid ways, into a digestible rhetorical pile of It.

And thus began the beginning of the It girl deluge. Entertainment Weekly started a yearly “It List” cover in 1997, and the Times used it for another potentially threateningly different young woman (Fiona Apple) and, in “The Making of an It Girl” (1998), Keri Russell. The Guardian put it to work for “professional posh person” Tara Palmer-Tomkinson in 2000; in 2001, the character of Amelie was an It girl (Globe and Mail); in 2002, it was Parker Posey, snowboarder Tara Dakides, Chelsea Clinton, and Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi; in 2003, the WNBA’s Sue Bird and “Almost It Girl” Jaime Presley; in 2004, Belinda Stronach, CEO of Magna International, Lindsay Lohan, and Joanna Newsom.

Then it gets so ridiculous I can only offer you a semi-chronological It bomb:

Feist, Michelle Monaghan, war zone It girl Lara Logan, Michelle Wie, Margherita Missoni, “dewy It girl of spirituality” Marianne Williamson, lit’s It girl Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, tennis It girl Nicole Vaidisova, Carey Mulligan, Katherine Heigl, “It girl of the social network scene” Facebook, opera’s It girl Anna Netrebko, Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto, George Clooney’s ex-girlfriend Sarah Larson, gymnast Shawn Johnson, The New Yorker cover of the Obamas fist-bumping, “It girl for the poorer, darker Russia” Agniya Kuznetsova, Alexa Chung (who published a book simply entitled It), Betty White, Blake Lively, CBC radio personality Frances Bay, Freida Pinto, “lesbian It girl” Ruby Rose, Frances Bean, San Francisco It girl Rose Pak, Elizabeth Olsen, Zooey Deschanel, “Russia’s Scandalous It Girl Kseniya Sobchak,” Carly Rae Jepsen, Lena Dunham, Gabby Douglas, “fashion’s new It girl…and boy Andrej Pejic,” Sofia Vergara, Suki Waterhouse, Annie Lennox’s daughter Tali, Kerry Washington, reality star Gigi Hadid, Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Lawrence, Pantone’s Color of the Year “Marsala,” model Cara Delevingne, Rita Ora, Kendall Jenner, hip-hop’s Jhené Aiko, “indie It girl” Aubrey Plaza, Ariana Grande, “director-DJ-designer” Vashtie Kola, softball player Mo’ne Davis, Emma Watson, Felicity Jones, Dakota Johnson, the Nine West It girl tote, French actress Clémence Poésy, Gossip Girl character Jenny Humphrey, “Piperlime’s new holiday It girl” Shay Mitchell and, from Vogue in 2014 alone, slideshows of British It girls, Japanese It girls, Korean It girls, country It girls, and Parisienne It girls.

According this list, an It girl can be a serious war reporter, a fearless politician, an impressive athlete, a person of color, over 40, over 80, a color, a magazine cover, a persona who buys an $80 tote, a social networking site, an androgynous man, a celebrity scion, a model, an Oscar-winning actress, a writer, a lesbian, a person who drinks wine from a terrifically ugly glass. The It girl’s gone democratic. But to what end?

Jonathan Short/Invision / AP Jonathan Short

Theresa Bouche/Invision / AP



You could argue that today’s hazy, often imprecise use of “It girl” isn’t indicative of lazy writing so much as an expanded understanding of what sex appeal, charisma, and the type of personality that can “change the chemistry of a room” might look like: women of different nationalities, sexualities, backgrounds, and careers.

That’s something worth celebrating, of course. But the persistence — or at least the resurgence — of the term in the mid-’90s also aligns with the rise of postfeminism, an ideological attitude in which the advances of second-wave feminism are traded in for the rhetoric of “choice”: freedom through self-objectification and consumption of goods, empowerment via the capacity to attract the attention of men, “girl power” in the place of systemic progress against patriarchy.

Those goals are a throwback to the 1920s understanding of female empowerment, a decade in which women reconciled freedoms enabled by suffrage, conspicuous consumption, and the entrance of women into the public sphere with the endurance of patriarchy. These “New Women,” as they were called, were “free” — to have jobs as shopgirls, to use their wages to buy things — but in a profoundly limited sense of the term.

And no one crystallized those contradictory freedoms better than Clara Bow, the original It girl. Bow was the cat’s pajamas, the bee’s knees, the real fucking deal. She was pretty, sure, but so were a lot of girls on the silent screen.

Photoplay Magazine

Motion Picture Magazine


She had something more: a curious and beguiling mix of sex appeal and modernity and charisma that no one really knew how to describe — save cultural commentator and author Elinor Glyn, who, over the course of the ‘20s, coined the designation of “It” and held forth as its arbiter. While some equated “It” with sex appeal, Glyn made it something more complex: “The It factor lives in the girl who doesn’t know she’s beautiful, who’s utterly without self-consciousness or pretense.”

For years, Glyn resisted attributing “It” to any single star or public figure. But then Paramount optioned her It novella, crafted a very loose adaptation thereof, and cast Clara Bow in the lead, effectively marrying her name to the concept.

Motion Picture Magazine

Watch a clip from It, and you can come close to understanding the power over audiences Bow had in 1927. I think it probably felt like watching joy, or the future, or the first time you saw a firecracker. Part of the attraction stemmed from her cool-girl antics offscreen; part was her embodiment, vis-à-vis her character in It, of a specific ethos of female liberation and consumerism, shot through with the overarching goal of marriage. It was sex appeal, but it was also just short of truly transgressive.

Because when Bow did cross the line of acceptable female behavior — stringing too many men along, gambling, drinking — is when she fell from It girl favor. In 1927, she was arguably the biggest star in the world; by 1932, having weathered a string of scandals and high-profile breakups and a truly awful tabloid smear campaign, she retreated from Hollywood completely.

Yet the mantle of It girl remained hers: At her peak, during her decline, in retrospectives and film revivals, and in the obituary of her husband, actor and Nevada lieutenant governor Rex Bell, she is invariably referred to as “It girl Clara Bow.” Even as new stars (Jean Harlow, Mae West, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner) took up the mantle of Hollywood sexpot, the press and studios resisted dubbing them the latest It girl.

Outside of Hollywood, “It girl” was used to describe criminals and what would later be referred to as femme fatales: The “It Girl of Chicago Gangs,” mentioned in the Chicago Daily Tribune (1931), was “known to the police as ‘death angel’” and “all of her suitors met death by bullets or other violence.” Or, in the newspaper Afro-American, It girl Helene Morgan’s love meant “astonishing and tragic things” for the four men who fell for her.

“It girl” could also be highly localized: The Philadelphia Tribune followed the social life of “It Girl Miss Peggy Dee” in 1937, while the industrious men of MIT made elaborate plans for “a special meter, replete with electronic tubes” for a “unique method of testing college girls, office girls, and those who are ‘at home’” to devise “the amount of ‘It’ in their make-up.”

“It” was clearly still a concept with currency — and one plebes could possess in limited, apparently quantifiable amounts — but that concept remained powerfully linked to Bow. In the 1940s, however, “It girl” took on a new valence: a smart woman, usually one of few in her field, who played by men’s rules with wit, cunning, and style. The New Yorker used it for a 1940 profile of Dorothy Thompson, the so-called first lady of American journalism, who was a foreign correspondent, wife to author Sinclair Lewis, and a widely read columnist in the years preceding World War II.

Dorothy Thompson with husband Sinclair Lewis. AP Photo

Thompson was a former suffragette and what my granddad would call a total pistol: stubborn and aggressive; sexy not for her body, but her mind. Lewis referred to the “international situation” (the burgeoning conflict in Europe) in relation to Thompson as “It,” thereby rendering her the It girl. It’s a play on the term, but it fostered a connotation of uniqueness, even brashness, that clings to contemporary uses of the phrase.

In 1946, for example, the Boston Globe called Clare Boothe Luce the “It girl of Congress,” a reference that referred not only to her status as a “glamorous representative” married to one of the most powerful publishers in the world, but also the presence of a fiercely intelligent, occasionally combative, and unequivocally beautiful woman in elected office.

During this period, the press also applied the term to various non-Hollywood spheres: Broadway’s It girl (Mabel Scott), It girl of European capitals (Una Mae), It girl of opera (Geraldine Farrar). But it wasn’t until Bow’s death in 1965 that the term was transmuted on to another type of girl.

It’s coincidence, really, that Edie Sedgwick began hanging out with Warhol the same year that Bow died. Yet the rise of Sedgwick — and the particular sort of waifish ingenue she represented — would guide another iteration of the It girl, this one marked by privilege, excess, and decline.

Sedgwick was an It girl without the specific designation: In June 1966, the New York Times grouped her with Warhol’s other “superstars”; a month later, Vogue featured her in a full-page spread, declaring her a “Youthquaker.”

The Times followed her around town, describing her antics with Warhol and Chuck Wein (“They made a scene in Paris by turning up at Castel’s with 15 rabbits and Edie clad in a white mink coat and black tights that have become her signature”) and habits (losing jewels, stripping to her bra and dancing in a pool, biting her nails). “It’s not that I’m rebelling,” she told the Times. “It’s that I’m just trying to find another way.”

Underground superstar, Youthquaker, but never an explicit It girl. She would be retrospectively dubbed as such — in the 2000s, reviews and publicity for Factory Girl, the Sienna Miller-starring film about Sedgwick, repeatedly made use of the term — but for most of the next three decades, the term was wielded only intermittently, affixed to a horse named “Bowl of Flowers,” the apparent “IT Girl of the Turf Scene,” Diana Ross (1988), young Jessica Lange (1983), and literary bête noire Tama Janowitz (1987) before the 1994 Sevigny profile sparked the It girl deluge.

In the early ‘30s, Clara Bow was forced to recognize the limitations of her freedoms when fans turned on her particular brand of sex appeal and behavior. Dance on tables, the instructions for It-ness went, but not too many tables. The label of “It girl” thus becomes a sort of rhetorical disciplinary device: a means of channeling a woman’s potential in a sexualized yet ultimately contained direction in which she attracts the gaze, but never controls it. Even the term’s application to Dorothy Thompson in 1940 or Benazir Bhutto in 2007 is a means of containing an otherwise unruly, powerful woman, transforming her accomplishments into a fad, a spectacle, the playful and ultimately unimportant work of a girl.

When I first saw the Rosamund Pike cover, I thought I was annoyed because of the misapplication of the term. Pike, I thought to myself, is no Clara Bow. But as I’ve thought more about the term, it’s become clear that maybe I’m just subconsciously irritated by the way in which popular magazines wield the term as the ultimate backhanded compliment.

Because it’s one thing to look back at Bow, and analyze, understand, and bemoan her It-ness, a label that simultaneously elevated her to the height of stardom and anchored her asunder. It’s another to see the term — and all its insidious, objectifying power — resurface, proliferate, and thrive nearly a century later. Only this time, it’s saddled not on one woman, but any woman who seems primed to be more than an object — an It, passive and pliable — in the narrative of their own lives. And that’s nothing to be celebrated on the cover of a magazine.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/annehelenpetersen/the-trouble-with-it-girls

22 Powerful Stories About Feminist Awakenings

From personal experiences to Beyoncé and everything in between, people have found feminism in lots of different ways.

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their stories about what sparked their feminist awakenings. Here are their powerful responses:

1. “I started following a girl on Tumblr who happened to be a feminist.”

I started following a girl on Tumblr who happened to be a feminist; I read almost everything she posted about feminism and it just made sense. It clicked. I realized some of the ideas I had grown up with were really toxic and there is so much internalized misogyny in most girls.

2. “I was told ‘just touching’ me was not a crime.”

When I was walking downtown with my mother and a stranger grabbed my crotch, I was in shock. My mother called the cops and when I went to make a formal complaint I was asked what was I wearing and then I was told “just touching” me was not a crime. I was a teenager, and I didn’t know it was feminism back then, but I just knew that no one should say it’s OK to touch another person’s genitals just because they didn’t rape you, regardless of what you’re wearing.
–Paulis Grienssen (Facebook)

3. “The fact that Beyoncé stood before millions in front of the now iconic FEMINIST sign empowered me to openly be a feminist.”

Mine came from Beyoncé, specifically her song “Flawless” with the excerpt from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie speaks with such conviction that it immediately resonated with me. That, and the fact that Beyoncé stood before millions in front of the now iconic FEMINIST sign, very much empowered me to openly be a feminist and to fight for the rights of other women and men experiencing sexism and gender rules.

4. “When I went in to give my application, the older lady said, ‘This is no kind of job for a woman.'”

When I was 14 I was applying for a job at a place that builds lawn chairs. From the time I was little I was always my Dad’s sidekick and he is a contractor, so I knew exactly how to do this kind of work. When I went in to give my application the older lady that was the manager, she said, “This is no kind of job for a woman.” That is when I proceeded to notify her I had previous experience and she completely dismissed me. The thing that stung the most was it was a fellow woman who dismissed me.
–Savannah Snow (Facebook)

5. “I asked my dad why I always had to wash the dishes. His only answer was, ‘Because you’re a girl.'”

Ever since I was little, I always had to wash the dishes. If I didn’t, then I would be grounded. I have three brothers who did nothing after dinner, so when I was 14 I asked my dad why I always had to wash the dishes. His only answer was, “Because you’re a girl.” I was pissed off and we got into a fight because he never made my brothers do anything around the house. My brothers and parents expect me to have a bunch of kids and become a housewife, but ever since that day I decided to start doing things for myself and myself only.

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

6. “Super Smash Bros. had only one usable female character, which was Zelda.”

It was playing video games as a child with my male cousins. The GameCube games we had were all male-oriented, and even my favorite, Super Smash Bros., had only one usable female character, which was Zelda (though I had no idea that Samus was a girl until I was older). I thought about how wrong it was because I saw that everywhere, girls were always weaker in everything, like in video games they were the worst players. I never knew there was a word for it until recently, but when I did, it felt right.
–Meagan McDowell (Facebook)

7. “I was raped … when I talked to an officer to press charges, they said that I wouldn’t stand a chance.”

I was raped when I was 19. When I talked to an officer to press charges, they said that I wouldn’t stand a chance because the court would bring up the fact I was drunk, went to his place willingly, and I’ve slept with other people. A month later, I saw the guy at the bar and he actually tried to take me home with him. That’s when I realized that I’m a feminist and I deserve the right to say no. I deserve to not have what happened to me be just one more story of a discredited woman who, instead of being taken seriously, was told that she was asking for it.

8. “I want my girls — and EVERYONE — to know that women are capable of greatness.”

I have two daughters; one of them was born with a heart defect that may affect becoming a serious athlete in the future, and my older daughter has serious food allergies. Considering there are medical restrictions being put on them as it is, it was at the moment my daughter’s cardiologist discussed her potential physical limitations that I became a feminist. I don’t want them to think they cannot be intelligent, brave, vivacious, brilliant, and capable just because they are women. I want my girls — and EVERYONE — to know that women are capable of greatness and that the limits of achieving that greatness is up to each individual.
–Catherine Cara Toler (Facebook)

9. “He only valued me as another guy’s property.”

I was at a party and the only way I could get this one guy to leave me alone was to lie and say I was in a relationship. I realized that he only valued me as another guy’s property and not as a human being who deserves respect.

10. “I had never heard anything about being pro-choice and their signs intrigued me.”

Growing up, I lived a few blocks away from my town’s Planned Parenthood and there were always a good number of protesters outside, holding signs and chanting. One day there was a group at the end of the street protesting the anti-choice group. I had never heard anything about being pro-choice and their signs intrigued me. I looked it up, discovered the word feminism, and my identity as a feminist has remained since.

11. “[The Spice Girls] dressed the way they wanted, acted the way they wanted, and loved themselves.”

The Spice Girls. Here were these girls that dressed the way they wanted, acted the way they wanted, and loved themselves even if people thought their clothes were too loud or too revealing. It was a big reveal to me that being a woman meant being who you wanted to be and that loving yourself gave you a power over the people who wanted to belittle you. That made little 11-year-old me a feminist.
–Sonya Ballantyne (Facebook)

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

12. “I’ll be perfectly happy because I don’t need a man or children to validate me as a woman.”

My road to feminism began with the rape of my best friend and ended with a conversation I had with a male relative. “Kalie, if you lost weight, you’d have guys crawling all over you,” he said.

“Well, I wouldn’t be interested in anyone who knew me before the weight loss and approached me after. A man should love me for me, not my weight,” I replied.

“I don’t see you getting a lot of offers. You should lower your standards,” he countered.

“You know what, Dad, I’m amazing; I have so much to offer a man that my standards should be high. All I want is a man who will love and respect me because I’m a unique human being with passions, hopes, and dreams. That’s not too much to ask. And if, God forbid, I don’t get married or have children, that’s fine; I’ll be a kick-ass career woman with amazing friends and a dog. And I’ll be perfectly happy because I don’t need a man or children to validate me as a woman,” I said.

He ended the conversation by saying, “Oh Kalie, please don’t be a lesbian.”
–Kalie Hoke (Facebook)

13. “I don’t remember how old I was, probably early teens, but I remember Jo March in the 1994 version of Little Women.”

I don’t remember how old I was, probably early teens, but I remember Jo March in the 1994 version of Little Women saying, “I find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country.” To this day, that is what I believe about equality: Regardless of gender, color, age, orientation, or place of birth, we are human beings.
–Christian Paul Keller (Facebook)

14. “I remember waking up and realizing that there were two guys engaging in sexual acts with me.”

I was sexually assaulted by two of my friends in the dorms. I had been drinking and don’t remember how I got back to my room. I just remember waking up and realizing that there were two guys engaging in sexual acts with me at the same time. The next day one of the guys told me that I liked it. My friends also told me that I was drunk and I had been with one of the guys in the past so it wasn’t a big deal. I felt so alone and like I was at fault for what happened to me. It wasn’t until I read a blog about someone that had gone through the same situation that I realized how entirely wrong it really was. It took what happened to me to have my feminist awakening. I don’t think those guys think that what they did was wrong and I want to change that.

15. “I realized it when I joined the U.S. Coast Guard.”

I realized it when I joined the U.S. Coast Guard. The male-to-female ratio is so vast that at 18 years old, I was stationed at a small boat station that hadn’t had a female crew member in two years. To say it was a “boys club” would be an understatement. I was treated so unfairly based on my gender, it still affects me daily. I knew then that equality between the sexes was not only needed, it was necessary.

16. “I realized we almost exclusively learned about French men in literature, art, and music.”

I told my philosophy professor that I had studied French in high school and he asked me what I knew about Simone de Beauvoir. I had never heard of her. I then realized that we almost exclusively learned about French men in literature, art, and music and that most of Western canon is based on the male perspective. Once I started to ask why that was, that’s when I learned about the systemic oppression of the female sex and consequently, feminism.

17. “As a high schooler I just thought double standards were a normal thing.”

I became a feminist after reading the book He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know by Jessica Valenti. As a high schooler I just thought double standards were a normal thing we all had to deal with, but after reading this book I became fired up and wanted to make changes about all the unjust standards women have to face.

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

18. “I was at a party and a close friend of mine was sexually assaulted.”

My feminist awakening was caused due to sexual harassment of my friends in which the harasser never was punished. I was at a party and a close friend of mine was sexually assaulted. It happened right in front of many people, including a few of my other close friends. I screamed and yelled and confronted the guy, and all that happened was that I was called a bitch.

19. “Twitter has opened my eyes to feminism.”

When I read the #YesAllWomen tweets. Twitter has opened my eyes to feminism. Just this past weekend there was a big fight on Twitter between many kids at my high school talking about sexual abuse. The boys were saying the most awful things, and it really opened my eyes.

20. “It was the comments that sparked my feminist awakening.”

When I was a senior in college, I started following a handful of celebrity gossip blogs. The blog posts themselves were often implicitly sexist but I might not have even realized that if not for the comment sections. It was the comments that sparked my feminist awakening. A lot of women who don’t consider themselves feminists like to say that they don’t see the need for feminism because they’ve never experienced sexual inequality. Presumably, they don’t think sexism really exists — at least not to an extent that should bother anyone. I would consider any such woman to go read the comments section on a gossip site and get back to me on whether sexism exists and should bother them.

21. “Being in eating disorder recovery from anorexia.”

Being in eating disorder recovery from anorexia made me a feminist. I’ve met amazing, beautiful, and strong women. As I’ve become more confident in myself and comfortable in my own skin, I’ve realized that I can be strong, too. Some of the bravest and most intelligent people I know are women and I think all women deserve to feel equal to our male counterparts.

22. “My feminist awakening has been about changing myself.”

The most enlightening moment was when I figured out “internalized misogyny.” I must’ve spent my entire high school career calling other women sluts or judging them for wearing “too much” makeup; you could’ve tattooed “I’m not like other girls, I’m one of the boys” on my forehead, just to save me the trouble of introducing myself that way to everyone I met. Everything I did had to be justified if it was feminine, and was some kind of triumph if it was masculine. Then I got older and I got into college and I took all these literary theory classes where we discussed gender performativity and queerness and feminist writing. I learned about rape culture and slut-shaming and realized I’d been doing it for basically my whole life. And I didn’t want to anymore. More than changing other people, my feminist awakening has been about changing myself.
–Jasmine Felicia Lane (Facebook)

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