By Rocio, age 17, California
"What's the latest trend?" we ask ourselves. Well, it might be homosexuality ... No, that's old school by now. Is it the freedom and peace movement? No, it can't be, not in our democracy. I know what it is. It starts with an "f" and is feared by men. Women embrace it, and men are perplexed by it. I call it a virtue. Most call it a weapon. It's time we face it. We are all entitled to feel as feminine as we want.
With a growing apathy toward women in the work field, it's time that we all unite as one feminine identity. Ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing wrong with being a feminist. But being a feminist isn't just a label. It's a part of who you are as a person. Being a feminist makes you no different from the other millions and millions of people living in the United States. In fact, think of it as your way to exercise your right to freedom of speech.
Honestly, it's been extremely wonderful for me to accept that I am on the road to being a full blown feminist. And no, that does not mean that I will let my armpit hair grow and not shave for ages. It just means I care about my rights. I mean, think about it. Up until the civil rights movement, we as women were not allowed to even come close to the work field, let alone a career. Why not take advantage of the rights we are entitled to as women?
In many other countries, women are suppressed by controlling governments that entitle them to no liberty whatsoever. The number one reason that so many single moms come to this country illegally to raise their children is because they are escaping the wrath of the liberty absorbing machine I like to call "The Macho-nator". Ideally, the country we live in embraces women who are passionate about what they do. Realistically, however, many of these women are denied the benefit of the doubt and lose the opportunity to exercise their rights. Surprisingly enough, many of you girls out there would rather get married and have life the easy way to avoid the struggles of working hard for what you want. A wise man once said your choices shape your future, and as cliche as this may sound, it is quite a coincidence that many of the famous quotes we have placed on a pedestal today were said by men.
For crying out loud! Women put their lives at risk for us so that we could enjoy the freedom they so passionately desired. What is the point of having so many women's rights museums and historical landmarks if we as women do absolutely nothing to revolutionize and relive the times when women were truly recognized. I know, I sound absolutely insane and radical at times, but it is so important for my generation and generations to come to feel empowered to do what they want. Many of my friends, particularly this year, have decided that what they want to do after high school is to study for a short career and start working at little more than minimum wage. Now I don't blame many of those women for making this decision, as these young ladies have special circumstances under which they must adapt. But then again many of these girls don't have any special circumstances to adapt to. They simply choose to give in to the many stereotypes of a girl living in a city like Los Angeles who chooses to take the easy way out of things because she has suffered much too much her entire life. Struggles make you stronger, but truly breaking through the walls that put us down is entirely what makes us all that much concrete as an identity.
It is not my intention to degrade any women out there who have taken on the paths that I somewhat disapprove. It is just that as a young Latina who has lived in a city where there are no expectations to live up to, it is so empowering for this Latina to have the courage to urge so many women out there to be who they want to be. I am driven to raise awareness about the lack of encouragement that young ladies are given to study what they want to study, particularly women who come from under represented ethnicities.
Remember, the experiences we have lived through in the past decade would not be possible without the struggles of people who truly cared for justice. I am by no means a radical. I am just one of those people who likes to call herself a feminist. Break out of cliches and prove to the world that the expectations set out for us are only going to make us stronger.