Last Thursday was one of my favorite “holidays” of the year: International Women’s Day (IWD).
It’s not a very big secret that I’m an outspoken feminist, so IWD always kind of feels like a second Christmas for me.
Although I try to praise women daily for the awesome accomplishments they are contributing to our world, IWD is special because it is one specific day totally dedicated to celebrating badass ladies across the globe.
Unfortunately, the word feminism is not always admired in our society.
Some believe that feminists are all bra-burning, anti-leg shaving hippies who think women are better than men, and some skeptics discredit the whole movement for this reason.
To me, feminism is not represented by this stereotypical image.
Feminists believe in equality of the sexes in all realms of life — social, political and economic.
The type of feminism I believe in never pushes the idea that women are better than men, but rather it argues that women should have the exact same rights and privileges of their male counterparts.
In October, Donald Trump took a stab at limiting women’s access to contraceptive care.
That same night, I went and had a very tiny Venus symbol tattooed on my ribs — sorry, Mom and Dad.
The Venus symbol is associated with the goddess for whom it is named, and it has been used to represent the female sex in botany, anatomy and zoology in more recent history.
My tattoo is hidden beneath every layer of clothing I could choose to wear, but to me it is an incredibly powerful symbol.
When I see the ink, I am reminded that I must never be discouraged and give up on fighting for the rights of women both in the United States and around the world.
I also feel an even greater connection to powerful women who are involved in this movement because I now have a physical reminder of my involvement and passion.
Although some argue that women have already achieved equality within the United States, I would disagree.
When I went to Washington, D.C., over our December break, a male federal employee told me that our nation’s capital was not kind to young women, and he encouraged me to look into alternative career choices than working in government.
This conversation never would have occurred if I were a young man.
For this IWD, the New York Times even admitted its own shortcoming at telling the stories of women through the years.
The Times ran a special edition story that began with the powerful quote, “Since 1851, obituaries in the New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of 15 remarkable women.”
It is important that these gaps in history are being filled.
We must remember the brave women who have come before us so we can continue to fight in their honor.
Until the day when women of all races, economic classes, educational levels and nationalities can be guaranteed the same protections as men, I will proudly stand up as a feminist.
I would encourage every individual — man or woman — on campus to do the same.