The word “feminist” used to send me into eye-rolls. I didn’t quite grasp the concept. To me, feminism was the equivalent of male-bashing and calling out injustices by pointing fingers and shouting. It was so easy to disregard the radical voices and make the whole movement seem extreme and without cause.
After several history classes and all-too-personal experiences and multiple attempts to stop being so naive about things, I started to get it. But it wasn’t until I joined the cast of the Vagina Monologues that it really started to click.
I first saw the 10th Annual Mizzou production of the Vagina Monologues during freshman year. At first, it was something that I wanted to attend for the shock factor. I mean, what was I supposed to expect out of a two-hour show about vaginas? It was during that performance, that show that made me laugh, tear up and all-around want to do something about the outrageous continuation of domestic violence and abuse against women, when the pieces started coming together. I wanted to be a part of the VDay Movement to end violence against women and young girls, and this was a way I could start.
Joining cast this year has given me so much more insight about what it means to be a feminist. Sure, there will be the radicals who are loud and upfront and brash about their cause. That’s cool, and I can respect them for caring about an issue to that extent. To me, being a feminist means standing up for the other women and girls who might not be able to face their own challenges against their sex. It’s knowing the difference between a “joke” and something insensitive and hurtful. It’s being aware that these issues are out there and ever-growing unless we do something to stop it. As Eve Ensler wrote in her piece for the Huffington Post, it’s time to understand that rape and abuse against women, emotionally and physically, is never okay. And not only do we know that it’s not okay, but that we can take the steps to stop it completely. Because it’s time to be over it.