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 Feminist is Not a Dirty Word

Years ago my dad, being the progressive liberal he is, took my sister and I to Lilith Fair. For those who have never heard of it, Lilith Fair was a music festival that supported female musicians and raised money for women's charities throughout North America in the late 90s. Headlining artists included Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Tracy Chapman, Paula Cole and Lisa Loeb. Though I didn't really understand what feminism was at the ripe age of 11, I felt like I was a part of something special being there--a celebration of womanhood. 

I'm 27 now and I have only just begun to come to terms with what the word feminist means to me. Because the media likes to twist this word often, I am here to give you the real definition. First, however, I will explain what it is not. 

A feminist is not a granola-eating, hairy-legged, Birkenstock-wearing, male-bashing, pachouli-smelling lesbian. Being a feminist, plain and simple, means you support equal rights for men and women. I'll even extend it a bit further and include "equal rights for men, women, and every single human being on the planet." Under this simplified definition, do you consider yourself a feminist?

What we may lack in physical strength or size we make up for in resilience. If you ever see us without a smile, it's because we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. We know that one day we will lose everything and everyone we love, yet we still get up every morning and make sure that our friends and family are cared for. Sometimes our hearts swell so much for people that we don't even know in real life. Other times we hear stories of other people's struggles and it fill us up with sadness, the tears quietly spilling out of our eyes. No matter how burdensome yesterday's news is however, we awaken each day with more purpose to our step, more love in our bones, more fire in our hearts and more spirit in our sway. Oh, how great it is to be a woman.  

Though I'm not going to delve any deeper into the catacombs of my soul to tell you what being a woman means to me, I will leave you with this song by Jenny Lewis, a sweet ode to the ladies (by a lady) that subtly (and quite pleasantly) touches on some of the plights we face as women. The uplifting song with a simple melody does a swell job of summing up my attitude on this sensitive topic.

Nicole Paulus, Nico New Media

Photo credit: Sunset Girl via

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