Feminism | Posted by Zuleika L on 02/27/2009

Some thoughts about feminism

What’s up? My name is Zuleika Lewis and I am a young woman who is 18 years old. I live in Concord, CA and I am a senior in High School. I was raised in Venezuela [South America] until I was almost 15 years old. Growing up in two different cultures where women are seen different led me to explore more feminism and see the different sides of it. Feminism has never killed anyone while machismo does, especially in Latin countries where women are more attached to the will of man. In part this is because women are not usually as independent and the mentality is still way back where the woman’s job is to be the traditional wife.

The bigger the state or country the more liberal thinking there is and  more opportunities to do something else to benefit women in  a greater way like here in the U.S. In comparison to the life here in the U.S women are way more independent here and have more rights under the government’s protection. I would say the level of thinking is way more liberal here, which favors the women. For example abortion is legal here in the U.S and in Venezuela and most of Latin-America it’s illegal, which leaves women in dangerous situations.

One of the things that I feel is very common between the American and Latin culture is that none of them creates a space for young women to explore who they are. Moving more into my world, which is the teen world, I feel like a lot of the time movies and society does not support women or celebrate them either. Most of the movies I go and watch with my girlfriends in the movie theater do not support the struggle of growing up as women. Rather they put man, clothes or the shapes of our bodies and popularity as the only solution to our happiness and problems. I think that instead of feeding that illusionary concept of man’s love and materialism and the perfect “body” being the key to our happiness, which in part leads to emotional attachment and unhealthy relationships, it is better to encourage our feminine part and create movies where women overcome obstacles and encourages us to explore our sexuality and taboos about sex. Maybe if we get more support and education about how to explore the feminine world the many taboos of sex and abortion would decrease along with domestic violence.

Going back to movies and society I would love to see movies and books where men are part of our discovery of self instead of the only solution for happiness. It is the same with material things or the shape of our bodies which hides the fear of ignorance on how to celebrate women. I also feel like many times there is a lot of envy and competitions between girls because of guys. A lot of girls try to “prove” that they are prettier than most girls because they have a lot of guys when reality is that we as women should be united to create communities where we can find support rather than division between us. Especially when we need to prove that we are as capable as men.

I’m going to go with a quote written by Paula Kamen a feminist “A natural response is to change the word feminist to a word with fewer stigmas attached.  But inevitably the same thing will happen to that magical word.  Part of the radical connotation of feminism is not due to the word, but to the action.  The act of a woman standing up for herself is radical, whether she calls herself a feminist or not.”

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