Let's Become Happy Feminists!
I can't ignore a society where people are discriminated against because of their gender or sexuality, and I genuinely hope for this reality to go away. In college, I've taken classes from the Women Studies and Gender Studies departments. I've also tried to attend discussion events at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to learn more about gender equality around the world; however, I didn't want to admit that I was a feminist myself. I couldn't and didn't want to tell the people around me that I was a feminist.
I guess I was embarrassed to define myself as a feminist because I had stereotypes against them. This is just due to my lack of research, but when I heard of feminists, things like the following came to my mind: they were people who dislike men, who were angry all the time, and who can't like cute things. I was afraid that by admitting myself as a feminist, people were going to put labels on me like the ones above. Plus, I love cute things, and I wear mini skirts all the time, choosing "girly" outfits. I was also into boy bands throughout my middle school years, so I felt like it was wrong for me to call myself a feminist.
Around that time, I watched a Ted Talk "We Should All be Feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian writer. She mentioned in her speech that she looked up the definition of feminism, and it went like this: "Feminist, a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes." This is when I started identifying myself as a feminist. Many people hesitate to use the word feminist or feminism; perhaps this is because many think that anger underlies in feminism. However, I believe Chimamanda knew that anger shouldn't be underlying in feminism when she gave her speech. In fact, she defined herself as a happy feminist. She also works closely with the audience, revealing that Chimamanda herself is striving to forget about gender stereotypes that she encountered in her earlier days and yet, still feeling her own weakness when she does encounter them.
When she started teaching production at graduate school, she was more worried about what to wear than the content of the lecture. From her desire to be seen and the pressure to prove her abilities, She regrets how she wore a manly suit, from her desire to be seen and the pressure to prove her abilities, when she actually wanted to wear a skirt with lip gloss. And she says that from this experience and on, she will never be ashamed of being a woman or her femininity.
After listening to her speech, I can proudly call myself a feminist whether I'm wearing a mini skirt, loving pink, or being in love with boys band.
"We Should All be Feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie TED Talks <https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie_we_should_all_be_feminists?language=en>
Translated by Yulia Ikumi
Graphic by Emily Mogami
Edited by Emiru Okada