Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And so it begins.

This is not my first time entering the blogosphere.

I have tried it before, for the benefit of others (namely my mother), and surprise, surprise- it was a short lived endeavor.

But today, something switched, and I wanted to share. For the moment, I credit Krysten Ritter. I wish I could follow that statement up with a heart-warming and quirky story about how I ran into the soon-to-be-infamous B---- in Apt. 23, but those things don't happen in Chapel Hill. Unless, of course, you're talking about President Obama, Jimmy Fallon, or Dave Matthews, all of whom  were on campus today. But that's another story entirely.

So after a rousing speech by the President about rising interest rates on student loans (with the predictable drabble about reclaiming the American dream) and a kick ass Arabic presentation given at the speed of a race car, I was feeling pretty good about the world I live in, even with all the crazy stuff that happens in it. For this reason, I bought myself a Coca-Cola, sat in a sun shiny corner of the student bookstore, and picked up a magazine with Krysten Ritter on the cover. I've seen two episodes of  Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23and I aspire to be as self-assured as her character Chloe (though less of a bitch). The magazine is called Bust and is clearly marketed towards women, but without the vomit inducing eye catchers like, "Wow him every time!" and "10 Easy Tips to Drop 10 Lbs." No, this magazine was something a little different, and I wanted a look.

Here’s a brief description- it's a women's magazine, founded in 1993, and caters to a world view of Third Wave Feminism.  Yes, they talk about fashion, and yes, they talk about sex. Because being an advocate for gender equality and enjoying fashion/sex are not mutually exclusive activities. I cannot tell you the love I have for this publication. It's honest, witty, fun, and feminist. The contributors are embodiments of the woman I aspire to become. There was a piece about Lena Dunham, creator of upcoming series Girls and the film Tiny Furniture, beloved by Indie girls everywhere. She says,
"Of course I’m a feminist; I wouldn’t even know another thing to be. It’s something that I don’t tackle in a way that’s overt, but it’s part of everything I do. My biggest desire is to write interesting, complex parts for women and increase the visibility of women both behind and in front of the camera, and that is essentially a feminist goal. I also think that feminism is really complicated. We’re not fighting as clear a fight now as,  like, when we wanted to vote and own property. It’s a much more nuanced thing now that I’m constantly navigating in my work and my romantic life."


I've been identifying as a feminist since the sixth grade, when my mother and a close friend of hers (who was about 20) would chat with me late into the night about the virtues of safe sex, my obligation to stand up for women around the world, my right to control my body, and my ability to achieve anything and everything. In middle school, kids either didn't understand feminism or didn't care. By the time my mother and I performed in The Vagina Monologues when I was in the 9th grade, times had changed.

Girls and boys alike wanted to know why I was suddenly a crazy person, hell bent on destroying men, clearly sex starved and probably a lesbian. Feminists would be harbingers of the apocalypse.

This eventually died down (for the most part), and by the time I reached college, even the liberal lands of UNC had some flack to give me and my feminist cohorts.  Girls, many of whom are my friends, don't understand why I make such a big fuss about the nuanced things. They vehemently deny being anything even close to feminist, because they understand feminists to be whiny bitches looking for attention, desperate to complain about problems that no longer exist. It's cooler, for many, to not be a feminist. We are allowed to work now, we are allowed to own property now, what's the issue?

But you, dear reader, surely know there are many. From reproductive rights to salary equality, from underrepresentation in Congress to the body image issues plaguing our country, women are fighting for the nuances and the hidden forces. Feminist, for me (and, I suspect, for many), has always been synonymous with "gender equalitist," if such a term were to exist. There are moments when people challenge me and I feel foolish and naïve- but so be it. I'm still learning how to express myself and my convictions, and one day, I hope to be as articulate and creative as Lena Dunham and Krysten Ritter. I don't have well thought out or highly informed opinions on everything. I'm learning.  For now, I'll be taking my cues from publications like Bust and Jezebel.

More to come; the time I saw President Obama speak, my impending travels abroad, and more cluelessness regarding my life path.

Stay tuned!