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The “F” Word Revisited
Women in their 20s and their view of feminism

Many, many women over 40 have had the heated debate: “Don’t call me a feminist” vs. “I’ll be a feminist ’til I die, and you should too.”

But times are changing. And because so much is new in the world, we wanted to see if the attitudes toward feminism were new too, especially among millennials whose generation is powering the MeToo movement. One thing we found: While some of the ideas on feminism may be unique to the times we live in, the passion – no matter where you stand on the issue – remains powerful.

Feminism is just believing men and women deserve equal rights and opportunities. I think people who don’t like the word misunderstand what it means and have an old-fashioned view of crazy feminists who hate men, but I think that is changing now. I would definitely say I am a feminist, and I think everyone should be a feminist.

Dorothy Florence, 21 | Mount Laurel

I don’t think everyone needs to be a feminist. The movement has flaws, and many people use the term to perpetuate violence against marginalized groups. I do, though, think everyone who is able should be fighting for policies and efforts that promote equality.

Olivia Miller, 22 | Hainesport

I call myself a POC (person of color)

feminist, because I have been a victim of fellow classmates and peers getting a higher salary, even though I surpassed them in credentials. I call myself a POC feminist because women of color are often misrepresented or invisible when it comes time for research or political agendas. I am a POC feminist because the black female body is often ridiculed (“ghetto” being one of the most common terms) but once a white female does the same thing, they are praised. I do believe everyone should be treated equally, but

I don’t think it’s going to happen until we agree on what equal really means.

Nethania Andre, 22 | Cherry Hill

I consider myself a feminist, but feminism has to do with more than just women. It’s a yearn for equality, a never-ending fight to fix what’s wrong in the world. Everyone deserves a good quality of life, which is why I consider myself a feminist.

Genesis Almonte, 23 | Cherry Hill

I’m all about women’s empowerment and collaboration, but I don’t consider myself a feminist. Feminism is about female rights and equality. People I know have a negative view of feminism due to differences in the way women are treated because of their culture or skin color.

Personally, I believe men cannot even compare to women’s glory. That’s why she is the most powerful piece on the chess board. Even though I don’t believe in

feminism, I believe we have to fight for feminism in this political era.

Lydia Sherice, 26 | Somerdale

Feminism is me being able to become president of a club at school. Some people don’t like feminism because they think it means I get to be president automatically. Feminism means I get to work hard and earn the position because I am qualified.

Sam Epstein, 21 | Cherry Hill

We need to continue to challenge outdated ideas and norms of what a woman’s place in society should be. This means our ambitions should never be suppressed because we are expected to fit a certain mold or conform to traditional roles. As a society, we all need to take accountability to keep moving in the direction of equality and supporting women. At its core, I believe this is the real goal of feminism, and therefore I stand by it 100%.

Patrizia Messineo, 21 | Pitman

I think feminism is the fight for women of all colors to have the same equality as white men. I think people don’t like feminism because they think it means women want more rights than men and that they’re trying to take power away from them, but it’s really just about equality.

Jessie Walker, 21 | Elmer

I’m a feminist in the sense that I believe in gender equality, but I’m not an extremist feminist in the sense that I believe it’s a man’s fault. I think people don’t like the word because it can be used in an accusatory way, but it’s important because women’s lives and aspirations matter just as much as men’s.

Jessie Thomas, 23 | Washington Twp.

I consider myself a feminist. To me, that means a life dedicated to breaking down gender norms so everyone has an opportunity to flourish as themselves – not who society says they should be. Depending on your identity, you can have a different relationship with feminism. I’m dedicated to a life of learning about different issues affecting women and girls and being a resource for everyone I meet. I don’t want anyone to feel silenced or vulnerable due to their gender or personal identity.

Colleen Tryner, 25 | Glassboro

Being a feminist is believing that men and women deserve equal representation in society, because they are inherently equal. Feminists live their lives actually supporting that belief. I am a feminist.

Nicole White, 22 | Moorestown

People dislike the word “feminism,” because it has a long-standing history in white supremacy and perpetuates binaries, so some people can’t identify with the term. Plus, people who are in power are afraid to lose their power, and they associate feminism with a fight against them. Feminism historically has not included everyone and has not done a great job of showing the ways our current sociopolitical climate can negatively affect everyone, even those who are in power. So feminism can be a negative for many.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a feminist, but I do support the rights of all humans.

Bri Cardlenzo, 27 | Princeton

People tend to overcomplicate the definition of feminism. To me, it’s simple: you believe that everyone deserves the same starting point and quality of treatment throughout life. Because of the state of our world today, reaching that equality is definitely complicated. But that foundation, the idea that everyone should be treated equally, is simple.

Rose Harbeson, 28 | Edgewater Park 

May 2019
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