The 20s are all about becoming the real you. I used to think it was ridiculous when people would say that they needed time to find themselves, now I I think it may quite possibly be the most important thing we get to do in this life. Everything else either works or doesn't dependent on whether or not we get to be our full selves. I say get because it's an immense privilege and one every single human DESERVES to be yourself. The reality is, as for now, not everyone and honestly very few people ever get to wholeheartedly be themselves. It's sad, scary, and truly disappointing. We should get to be, at least in this sense of the word, ourselves in the most authentic ways possible. Join me on a miniature path to liberation.

I am a feminist. There I said it. I know what you're thinking, I'm betraying my own gender and sex (first of all there are not interchangeable or the same; neither are a binary but sex has to do with what you were assigned biologically at birth whereas gender is how you see yourself). You're thinking I must hate men, and subsequently myself. You're thinking what I just said doesn't make sense. Well, I'm about to share my perspectives with you (as always), take them or leave them but at least consider them. I watched Emma Watson of the Harry Potter series fame give her riveting and powerfully moving speech (whether it be her eloquent delivery, poignant use of pauses, shaking vulnerability, or her celebrity status - probably a mixture of it all) in front of the UN. Yeah, that's right, the United Nations. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out here #HeforShe Speech . There are a few powerful quotes that resonated most with me. "Feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes" in getting back to the basics. However I will  say that if women whether are outraged, pissed off, or angry about the oppressive institutions they've had to endure for centuries is irrelevant but they do have the right to be (as if they need my permission). They've been speaking out against their mistreatment for years, it shouldn't take a celebrity to let their cause be taken seriously, it's not something new. This is an issue for men because it's a human rights issue. Until those of who have have the social power (aka men that we gave to ourselves mind you) to make change, nothing can/will happen. Women need men to rally not ahead of them, not behind them, but with them. We need to march hand in hand to liberate all of us. Check out my posts combatting sexism here: Women's Intuition & Femme Fatale.
"If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can all be freer. And this is what He for She is about. It's about freedom. I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice, but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too — reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves." Emma Watson

I think I've been a feminist for the entirety of my life but only in the past couple of years have I really found tangible ways to show my support, advocate, and be vocal about standing up for gender equality. I am a feminist because anyone being mistreated for an identity they literally have no control over makes absolutely no sense. Fundamentally it's irrational for women to be discriminated against on the basis of their sex. Also, as someone who has been fortunate to have both a mother and a sister who has loved him unconditionally I would do anything to see them treated with the same respect and dignity that I receive. So why do men need feminism it's simple because we just as much as women are imprisoned by our assigned gender roles. You can fulfill all the stereotypes and be as much as the ideal man (as if that's a singular thing) as you want, if that's you, that's fine, but it's also worth questioning where you get those ideals and whether you want to perpetuate them or not.

We need feminism because too many of us are suffering in silence because it's "not manly" to have feelings let alone talk about our emotions and our issues. We are forced to keep what we deal with quiet. We're looked down upon (just like women are) when we need to ask for help. You know what's absolutely ridiculous, people being made to feel shame because they require assistance. No one, sincerely, no damn body should ever have to feel less than because they have a lot to process. We all have things we need to work through, that's a reality of being a human being. Why do we keep people isolated by calling them weak, telling them to 'man up' or 'grow a pair' or a 'little bitch?' Why is not okay to be not okay? Not to mention all the issues that men can face and do endure but are socialized to not discuss like mental health, body image, self-esteem etc. Men can and are sexually assaulted (albeit a less reported rate than women), have eating disorders, or benefit from counseling. We have problems, that's an undeniable fact. Why do we pretend like we don't?

It's so sad that we can call ourselves friends to people and know nothing about what they go through. How can you be friends with someone when all you know is the good stuff? People are more than that, we're complicated. We all have chapters of our stories that we don't read out loud. Feminism frees us from the captivity of silence. We get to be ourselves, our true selves, whoever that may be. It gives us access the range of emotions, traits, and characteristics that we have deemed exclusively feminine (even our language is gendered; words didn't have gender until we assigned it to them) and vice versa. All of us get to be strong, courageous, powerful, competitive, loving, intelligent, and passionate. All of us get to be happy, sad, scared, angry, hopeful, sincere, and vulnerable. We get to be the most authentic versions of ourselves. We become more whole. Liberation.

“I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from illness, unable to ask for help for fear it will make them less of a man …. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.” Emma Watson
This past weekend was one where I was able to be more of myself than I have been in a while. The mark of a true friend is someone who knows you and likes you anyway. Reread that sentence, because it's so damn powerful. Friends, the ones who are actually in it for you, not only allow but encourage you to be you. I am so very thankful for those in my life who give me the comfort and support to get real, to show who I am behind all the preparations and pretending, and to just be. Friday after classes I passed out like nobody's business, I'm talking Sleeping Beauty perpetual slumber status. After a lazy evening of doing much of nothing my roommate and I decided to make a junk food run at the grocery store. The best version of me is the one very few people get to but when we're in the car blasting music, harmonizing horribly, and dancing our asses off with seatbelts on, that's me. We came back to our apartment to watch the final two Harry Potter movies (the landscapes in Deathly Hallows Part 1 is absolutely breathtaking and Part 2 is just nonstop intense). Four hours straight of just being enthralled in a world different from our own (yet governed somehow by the same unwritten rules of how it's supposed to work) and it was great just to be sit and vegetate.
Saturday morning I spent making pumpkin spice (there it is again) cinnamon rolls which were absolutely delectable before knocking out some homework and getting prepared for a wonderful day.  I spent the afternoon playing bubble soccer (you have to see it to believe it) and challenged myself to partake without apprehension. I took pictures, enjoyed the scenery, and the conversation. I had time to lay in the grass, let a gentle blowing breeze was over me and connecting with my fraternity brothers, Jake, Kyle, and Connor along with some new friends, James, Nick, and Megan. A few hours later it was back home for dinner and to skype with my best friend Jeff. Honestly, one of the few reasons I know I chose the right school was getting to know him RHA. He was the first person outside of my immediately family that I ever knew I loved and meant it and still makes me smile whenever I think of him. We spent a solid two hour catching up, being stupid, and just antagonizing one another. With him, I'm nobody other than myself, there's nothing to hide and nothing to be embarrassed about. We took inception selfies via video chat, like who does that. We send each other snapchats from the toilet and in the shower (top up), the concept of boundaries doesn't exist. Liberation for me means being able to express my love for him unbridled and unabashedly. Sunday was choreographing dances to some of Chris Brown's greatest hits for the upcoming Greek Sync competition (we are going to demolish it once again) and then attending interfraternity council and my chapter meetings. The IFC meeting was particularly interesting because without advisors there the men were quite candid and it was refreshingly empowering. The night ended with Zach and I hardcore grocery shopping (because apparently I cook for a family of four conceptually - anyone want to come over for dinner?) before calling it a night. Liberation for one and liberation for all.

My blog post question for the day is ... how do you use your dominant identities to advocate for equality and equity? I'm happy to be exploring my male and heterosexual privilege in order to dismantle the systems of oppression I benefit from as well as liberate myself and those who are unjustly not granted the same advantages.


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