"Beauty itself is not given to us by anyone; it is a power we have within us; a radiance inside us." What is feminine?

Essay by cavysunchicCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2005

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I am a feminist, but I did not know it. I believe in women having equal right and opportunities to those of men, and I hope some time in my lifetime women will hold an equal place in society. Three months ago I would have told you the color pink, flowers, pretty jewelry, high heel shoes, skirts, and cute shirts were feminine. I was aware of oppression, but it was hard to see how it specifically affected me. I knew was I somehow qualified for different scholarships for women only, and in some way the admissions department thought I was a minority, but I never thought twice about this. The reality is that women are not equal that is why these things are in place. A society dominated by men has created images we are all supposed to fit into; images that hold women back in our fight to equality, and images that serve men's wants and fantasy.

To not fit into these images is a crime punished by rejection, cruel jokes, humiliation, and to be outcast in mainstream society.

I now see how oppressed women really are, and how I have directly dealt with the issues associated with anti-feminism. I used to put up with a relationship where I was treated as less than equal. My partner believes in male privilege, that he is automatically better than me because he was born a man. He made me feel guilty about things that I had nothing to do with. If he had a bad day at work, it was my fault somehow. He also saw himself as "master of the castle"; I would do nice things like his laundry and dishes, but he began to expect it; these became no longer just nice gestures. At the time I took the...