Baller: What feminism means to me on a college campus

Properly defining feminism can have many benefits on college students and promoting equality for all.

Attendees+march+on+the+pedestrian+mall+for+the+annual+Women%27s+March+in+Iowa+City+on+Saturday%2C+January+19%2C+2019.+The+Women%27s+March+is+an+annual+event+that+started+in+2017+following+the+inauguration+of+President+Donald+Trump.+The+march+advocates+for+a+range+of+issues+including+women%27s+rights%2C++healthcare+reform%2C+LGBTQ%2B+rights%2C+and+environmental+issues.+
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Baller: What feminism means to me on a college campus

Attendees march on the pedestrian mall for the annual Women's March in Iowa City on Saturday, January 19, 2019. The Women's March is an annual event that started in 2017 following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The march advocates for a range of issues including women's rights,  healthcare reform, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental issues.

Attendees march on the pedestrian mall for the annual Women's March in Iowa City on Saturday, January 19, 2019. The Women's March is an annual event that started in 2017 following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The march advocates for a range of issues including women's rights, healthcare reform, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental issues.

Grace Colton

Attendees march on the pedestrian mall for the annual Women's March in Iowa City on Saturday, January 19, 2019. The Women's March is an annual event that started in 2017 following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The march advocates for a range of issues including women's rights, healthcare reform, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental issues.

Grace Colton

Grace Colton

Attendees march on the pedestrian mall for the annual Women's March in Iowa City on Saturday, January 19, 2019. The Women's March is an annual event that started in 2017 following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The march advocates for a range of issues including women's rights, healthcare reform, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental issues.

Kasey Baller, Columnist

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“What is feminism?” This question seems to run through my head frequently. Since I have started college, my views on identifying as a female and what comes with that have changed in many more ways than one. Feminism’s definition has become so misinterpreted in recent years that it makes me even more compelled to begin to explain it on a college campus, as even now women are saying they are against feminism and do not need it.

Being a woman in college, I found I needed to understand feminism more than ever. It affects my campus in a major way and my own life. College students should understand what feminism means to them. In the words of the Daily Beast, “You don’t hate it. You just don’t understand it.”

We have all heard the stereotypes of feminists. Women who hate men. Women who do not shave and have short hair. Women who just want to fight about everything. If you believe any of these, you would find you are kindly mistaken as to what feminism is.

Being a woman in college, I found I needed to understand feminism more than ever. It affects my campus in a major way and my own life.”

Feminism is the idea of equality for all people, not just women.

In college, I have found that by realizing what feminism means to me, I have been able to use it to my advantage by being more aware of numerous situations. I have been more aware of prejudices that lie on campus toward individuals and how I can use my understanding of feminism to not buy into everything I hear. I have learned to overcome expectations for women in certain majors and not being treated as complex and unique as male students.

Culture swarms on college campuses, leading to stereotypes. It can be hard to push past a stereotype that someone else wrote about you on a college campus because it is a place of growth and development, but it is the most liberating when you put feminism into context. Realizing that equality can come to all can help people feel confident in their future job endeavors, finding a group of friends, and getting an A in class. Feminism can make anyone realize that the world does not revolve around you. You may feel that you do not “need” feminism, but loads of other people do.

As a pre-law student, I encounter a number of males in my classes compared to females. I am sure I am not the only one who finds themselves in this situation. I used to be scared to speak in my classes based on what others would think of my intelligence, how I looked not wearing makeup that day, and simply about being a girl. Once I realized that everyone in the classroom has the same goal as me and none of what I was worried about should matter toward my success, I was relieved and a bit ashamed to assume anyone even cared what I had anguished over.

At the end of the day, college is a place of confusion, growth, gains, losses, firsts, and everything after them. Whether you realize it or not, we are all in school for many reasons but essentially have the same end goal of succeeding in whatever it is we do. Feminism goes a long way for all if you let it. By realizing this in college, I “suddenly” became aware of my goals and capabilities. If we all support each other in this confusing time in college, we can begin to accomplish our best selves, which will benefit us as a whole.

That is what feminism means to me.

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