I was perusing the WWW yesterday, seeking out weeding techniques, clothing patterns, and the cost of my next video game purchase when I happened upon a Facebook post. It spoke to me, considering some personal issues I'm dealing with right now. Putting it on my favorite forum seemed like the logical next step. Back to my girl pal. This friend of mine and I met through our writing and we used to collaborate often in online literary communities when we were in high school. It was spectacular, considering she lived in Ohio and I lived in the southern-most tip of Texas. We were geographically separated, but the written word was a common land we adventured together. Another thing we have in common, as reiterated through her Facebook post, is that she and I are both feminists. For those of you who are maybe a bit unsure of what feminism is, here is a hint: I know what people think when they hear or see the word "feminist". They think of propaganda, bra burning, unshaven women, misandry and mothers destroying their families so they can go off and become lesbians. The truth is, I'm a feminist and I don't think I've ever partaken in any of those things! I don't burn undergarments or hate men. I kinda like maintaining my personal hygiene and I haven't destroyed any families lately. Like everyone else, feminists come in all shapes and sizes. What sparked this thread was my recent acknowledgement of being a feminist. A couple years ago, when I first truly understood the word, I too had misconceptions on what it meant to be an active participant in the feminist movement. It all seemed very serious and I wasn't prepared to sign my life away to a cause that I didn't truly understand. It was this year that I truly begun to understand the power dynamics between men and women in my family (plus, sometimes I get frustrated when I'm in a thread talking about building a new coop addition and someone says, "Well, maybe you can ask your Dad/Brother/Neighbor's-daughter's-son to build it for you in exchange for fresh-baked ziti or a sandwich that you made with your womanly charms!"). That is why I began doing research. It took some doing to find non-biased researching considering there are a lot of men and women out there who seem to have different ideas of what feminism is. Here is what I know for certain: Feminism isn't about misandry/hating men. Feminism is about equal rights for all genders. Feminism isn't about burning undergarments, destroying families, or witchcraft. Feminism is about having the option to choose what you do with your life and your body. Feminism isn't about pushing men down a peg. Feminism is about not having to fear another gender because they are considered stronger or "above" you. Stopping the Feminism-Induced Wince The truth is, I don't know how to change perceptions of feminism. When I tell people, they generally are surprised and ask questions about how I can be part of such a politically-charged movement. I just tell them the truth: Being a feminist doesn't have to be a political statement. Feminism has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with civil rights. It is my right to be treated with equal respect as a man, no matter what I'm hiding in my pants. I can only hope that what I say and how I act is enough to change perceptions. Of course, it would be helpful if more male and female celebrities came forth with a proper understanding of feminism. Right now, all we have are the Miley Cyrus-es and the Chris Browns to tell us what is socially acceptable. I know this wasn't really a post with a question or any real purpose other than to educate some people on what being a feminist is to me. Maybe you were expecting me to tell anecdotes of when I went on a girl-only rally and burned my bra in a big bon fire lit with nail polish remover and the sparks of stilettos being slashed against one another. The truth is, though, that I've been going on this feminist journey alone, for the most part. I've got a couple of great, feminist friends and one kinda-sorta feminist sister and a super supportive kinda-sorta feminist Mom, which is enough for me. I hope one day that feminism will be a thing of the past and all we'll have is equal rights.