When I was a senior in high school, something happened one day that I never forgot. In my U.S. History class, the teacher asked us to raise our hands if we considered ourselves feminist. My hand shot up without hesitation, but when I looked around, I immediately felt ostracized. Nobody else raised their hands, and I couldn't understand why. Didn't they feel that women should have every right that men have? Didn't they believe women and men were equal and therefore changes in our culture were necessary? Didn't they know that we as a society still had a long way to go? And then it became apparent to me in that moment that, perhaps, it wasn't the ideology (at least I would hope not), but the word "feminist" that people were hesitant about.
Before I went to the feminism conference on the weekend of April 8-9, 2005, I felt strongly that I was a feminist, but had trouble educating other people about what it means to be a feminist.
The word feminist has become almost a dirty word to so many people, who in my opinion, are ignorant to its meaning. For them the " f " word (as many feminists will joke) conjures up many stereotypical images of bra-burning, man hating, women I guess, and the significance of what feminism is about gets lost on them. The conference held most it's significance for me by showing how feminism relates to the experiences of such a wide range of women, which just proves once again to me that it isn't just about a certain type of woman, but about all of us.
The conference was kicked off by listening to the keynote speaker, Inga Muscio. When she spoke about Shirley Chisholm, the African-American women who was candidate for the...