Monday, December 5, 2011

Star of Davida Essay Contest Winner: Eliana NB

This essay by Christina P is one of the winners of the Star of Davida Essay Contest, answering the question "How has feminism changed your life?"

We all owe so much to feminism. Over the years, it has helped us gain basic human rights and the freedom to be individuals. Feminism especially affects those of us who identify as feminist. When a girl or woman first discovers that she is a feminist, her opinions and worldview start to change. For me, feminism encouraged me to stand up for what I believe in, empowered me to realize my opportunities, helped me to gain the respect of numerous people, and enabled me to find an online community of like-minded teenagers.

Feminism helped me to always stand up for what I believe in. Throughout my time as a feminist, I have learned that it is better to stand up for what you believe than to fume silently. Being a feminist has helped me to comment on the sexism that I see in society, even if it means interrupting a class or otherwise risking some embarrassment. As a feminist, I realized that it doesn’t matter what others think of you, so long as you know that you did the right thing and stood up for your beliefs.

Without feminism, I would not have nearly as many opportunities in life. Fortunately for me, both my parents showed me that I could be anything that a guy could be. For example, I love science. When I was a little kid, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be allowed to be a doctor because of my gender. Feminism helps me to be more confident in myself, not only in my beliefs, but in general life. Thanks to feminism, I don’t see my gender as a disadvantage in difficult classes. Confidence is vital to education because it is very important to participate, discuss, and ask questions. Students who are not confident cannot understand ideas and concepts as well, because they don’t interact with the outside world as much.

Despite some societal opposition, feminism has helped me gain people’s respect. This is usually from adults (especially women) who already support feminism, whether they identify as feminist or not. However, even some people who do not support feminism respect me for speaking up for what I believe and caring about important issues. I also have gained the respect of those of my peers who support feminism and gender equality. Although I don’t know if all of my friends identify as feminists, most of the girls I discuss sexism with agree with me and have a lot to say, so feminism is a definite conversation starter.

I was happy to discover the online world of feminist blogs. It’s very encouraging to read articles written by other feminist teenagers, because it helps me know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. The internet helps girls connect with each other and helped me to learn about many issues and topics that I might not otherwise have thought about. This is different from relying on books (which are also wonderful) or other media because it gives teenagers opportunities to discuss issues which are not as applicable to adults, who control the publishing world.

My life has definitely been changed and improved by feminism. I believe that all women and girls have been positively affected by feminism, and that most of the rights we enjoy today are the result of the feminist movement. Joining the continued struggle for feminism is an important decision. A dedication to equality can have wonderful, life-changing effects. Feminism taught me to stand up for what I believe in, realize my opportunities, gain people’s respect, and connect with girls who feel similarly.

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