“Everytime I move, I make a woman’s movement” Ani DiFranco

I am a feminist.

I shave my legs. Housework does not bother me. I look forward to one day having an equal partnership with my husband. I am not opposed to flowers, chocolates or other forms of chivalry. I am quite excited about motherhood because I think that raising children is one of the toughest and most meaningful purposes in this world, though fiercely underrated.

I am not exactly sure who it was or how many people it took but time has hinged a great deal of negative connotations to the word “feminism.” These days it is a word that people cringe at as visions of braless women with unshaven legs who refuse to do dishes or have babies dance in their head. Hence people being caught off guard when I call myself a feminist or the laying down their own egg shells to walk upon in front of me, afraid that they might say something that will offend the “chip on my shoulder” (which, might I add, does not exist).

But I call myself a feminist for other reasons. Because of a radical cry that quakes the depths of my heart for other women, for those who have the same insides as me— the same inner weavings of heart, strength and vulnerability—and yet we are forced into separation.

Separated. By Borders.       By Language.         By Rights.         By Laws.            By Cultures.           By Words.          By Corrupt Governments. By Working Conditions.        By Our Definitions Of What Womanhood Means.

We take for granted that in this country being a woman is now an empowered title. In other places and spaces it is a word that starts thousands off in life with the term “less than” already strapped to their backs.

It kills my spirit some days to read of young girls who are raised to believe in belittlement from the very beginning. Or to learn of women, at an age when I was discovering the art of flirting, who had already disappeared into trafficking rings and brothels. Violated. Stripped Of Their Humanity. Never to be seen again. And with no one to look for them. No one to search for the invisible women.

My heart aches when I glance over the New York Times site on most mornings because I cannot find the invisible women anywhere. Seeing that the things that should be reported— the thousands of women forced to work in less than meager conditions in factories and enslaved by the sex trade—are not because its hardly considered news anymore.  And I wonder what the cut off number is. At what number of women gone missing do countries stop looking, do people stop caring. I Want To Know What The Number Is. But as I trace over endless statistics that are forced to trace the frail outlines of these invisible women I realize that in other countries there is no number. There is only acceptance of this atrocity and the turning of cheeks to look the other way.

And so I stand up for the fact that I am a woman in this world, but not for the stereotypical reasons that people first think of. I am not standing up for equal wages or more respect in the workplace. I am not standing up to resist those who want to force an apron around my waist and a baby on my hip. It is not about that. I am standing up as a woman because elsewhere, beyond these borders of red, white and blue, there are women who are facing brutal treatment, beaten for resistance, degraded and downplayed because they were born with the title of “woman,” and to them that is a burden. A Cross To Bear. And within these borders, in the “comfort” of their own homes and in the quiet spaces that their neighbors don’t know of, there are women in this country whose voices have been stolen to sexual abuse and violence.

I am a feminist.

I still like looking sassy in a red dress and pumps. I don’t have an evil agenda of putting men in their place or even attempting to play inside of their heads. I don’t shy away from activities that might make my label as a “woman” more pronounced.  I am a woman but at the end of the day I am not looking to level the playing field after all those years of not being able to vote; I am looking to stand up for other women. With my opportunities I am seeking to break down the oppression that has plagued others who are exactly like me. Who Have Dreams. Hopes. Fears. Passions. First Loves. Things That Make Their Hearts Skip Beats. Pet Peeves. Songs Their Spirits Ache To Sing. And for these similarities I own my title and take pride in my title as a woman and I join the fight to set the rest free.

This post has been inspired by the book “Half The Sky” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Kristof and WuDunn examine more closely the lives of women and girls in the developing world. In my eyes Kristof is a genius when it comes to taking a column space for the New York Times and transforming it into a platform for women all over the globe who are oppressed and voiceless.  He and his wife really take a giant step forward in this publication. I would recommend this book 100 times over to anyone who is looking to understand more fully the oppression of women all over the map and the ways in which opportunity can sprout through active change. This is a brilliant book of testament, truth and a viable path to follow if you are looking to join the fight to set the rest free.

39 thoughts on ““Everytime I move, I make a woman’s movement” Ani DiFranco

  1. Yet another great post, HK! I think you’ve reiterated the great point that we not all alike, that you don’t have to conform to the typical feminist to want to stand up for women’s rights. That it while it takes a lot of compassion and empathy to stand up for equal pay, it takes more still to care about those who you never see in the press and will probably never be in the situation to thank you for your action and concern.

    1. Thank you Stephen! I am so happy to hear from ya, it has been quite a while. And I am not scratching equal pay off the board, I just think its more pertinent to focus on those who don’t receive pay at all, those who are in a far worse state of crisis.


      Hannah Katy

  2. My best friend always says – “I’m not a feminist. I’m an equalist. I believe in equal rights for men and women.” Which I agree with. But I see the importance in being a feminist. Women have been so oppressed for so many centuries, it’s going to take a lot of feminism to pull us out of this dark, black hole. I do believe it will happen, and I do believe that women will one day rule the earth.

    And it will be a peaceful planet.

    1. Ha ha touche Lucy. I think women just need to keep on doing what their doing, getting into positions of power and seeking the change the world. Can’t everyone just work together and get along? Yes it sounds whimsical but if we could just be on equal grounds then things would run a lot smoother in my eyes.


      Hannah Katy

  3. Congratulations, you are the first feminist I have applauded. The line that goes:

    “And within these borders, in the “comfort” of their own homes and in the quiet spaces that their neighbors don’t know of…”

    reminds me of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, and that really grabs my attention because Col. Jessup is a bit scary in that movie.

    But I suppose what I actually wanted to say is that most of the time we don’t think about the atrocities that are committed outside our borders. You are ahead of the curve Hannah Katy.

    1. Well that is a great compliment so thank you for that. I am honored to be the first feminist that you applaud, and maybe I will not be the last.

      Embarassing to admit but I have never seen A Few Good Men.. Netflix?


      Hannah Katy

      1. Please add it. I honestly can’t believe you can’t haven’t seen it…

        The movie “100 girls”. Not all of it, the guy’s speech in his Women’s Rights class. It goes something like Lucy’s comment. He basically says that the world would be a better place if there were fewer “-ists” in the world, with the exception being humanists.

      2. I like that.. ha ha very good.

        And I will have to add it to the list, which means I will have to make a list and put it at the top… I am often shy to admit that I am the worst with movies. People are always referencing quotes in conversations and I am completely lost on them more than half the time.

        But I think you have persuaded me…


        Hannah Katy

  4. Hi Hannah! I love your blog! This is an unbelievable post and I couldn’t agree with you more. I currently work for an organization devoted to fighting human trafficking and women’s empowerment and I truly am a leg-shaving, boyfriend-loving, bra-wearing feminist =)

    I haven’t read Kristoff’s book yet and I’m very wary to do so because I’m not the biggest Kristoff fan. He’s done a lot of things to try and ‘better’ certain situations that I think actually make them worse. That’s a whole different argument, but maybe I should read it? We learn the most from those we disagree with don’t we?

    1. Hi Christy:

      It is great to hear from you. I would love to hear more about the organization that you work with, that sounds so awesome!

      And I would still definitely recommend you taking a look at “Half the Sky.” It opened my eyes to a lot of new issues and I think the best part about it is that there are so many stories packed into the book. Stories that really touched me and made me think. Its not infused with opinions either, its facts and evidence that are really hard to swallow, as I am sure you already know from your own experiences. Let me know if you pick it up!


      Hannah Katy

  5. Love this post! I too am a feminist and if that makes people cringe when they hear it then so be it. Because I know who I am and what I stand for – and when I see someone else being taken advantage of I step up. That’s part of what being a feminist is to me. This has really gotten me thinking – I might link back to your post soon – thanks for taking the time to write about this!

    1. Ah that is so good to hear. I will look forward to your writing love.

      And you and I are one in the same on that issue: I could care less if people want to say something about my standing up for women’s rights.. I really go by that quote of if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. Good to know we are in the same boat.


      Hannah Katy

  6. I love this. I too am a “feminist” and it frequently blows peoples’ minds because I’m also an Evangelical Republican…two groups that don’t *generally* hold warm feelings for the feminist movement! 😉 Like you said, we have this general image of who a feminist is…tied to the more radical movements in the 70s.
    I’ve always cared about equal rights, but now in my third year of law school I can honestly say that it blows my mind how rampant discrimination against women still is, even in our country. And I completely agree with you about needing to look outside our borders – the line about wanting to know “the number” really hit me, because I’ve thought it too.
    One thing that really gets me is how little young women today understand about the women’s movement. I have a degree in Political Science, so I guess I tend to focus more on that arena, but when I see young women who don’t vote it fires me up. I once asked someone if they knew that less than 100 years ago women were imprisoned and worse so that we could vote. They had no idea. And that breaks my heart…

    1. Amanda, you and I would have great life conversations! Of this I am sure.

      I really was not well-informed on the Women’s Rights Movement until my sophomore year of college where I took a Women’s Issues course. It changed my life. I never cared to look at the evident discrimination and injustices of women in America and how hard they had to fight in order to get the rights that we so often take for granted. The right to vote. The right to an education.

      Do you read any of the feminist writers? I am a big fan of Gloria Steinem and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

      Thanks for the comment and for making me think further as well.


      Hannah Katy

  7. I love this post, especially because there is such a misconception of what feminism is. So many blogs I read get so amped up when a woman chooses to stay home and raise her kids, defer decisions to her husband, etc. It’s not about “I am woman, hear me roar” and being in the workforce. It’s about a woman’s ability to choose.

    And I don’t think we look outside our borders enough, to really see how good we really have it. Yeah, our society isn’t perfect but it’s a whole heckuva lot better than what’s happening in other countries.

    1. Touche Stephany! I agree with you 100 percent. I think what we struggle against today is this notion of “women should go out and get a career and be just as tough as men.” You know what, if a woman wants to do that then she should go ahead. If she wants to be a mother and devote her time to being at home then she should do that. I think it should be acceptance all across the board. That a woman should follow her heart and do what she wants to do.

      I think being a mother is one of the most beautiful blessings in this world and it becomes more evident to me when I come across the mommy blogs all over the internet. I think to myself, the world is lucky to have such dedicated moms to raise up the next generation. I know one day I will be among those women and can hopefully do half the job that they do.


      Hannah Katy

  8. I have a feeling one day I’ll open up the NYT and see your name on the byline for a story about the invisible women. I mean it. You rock and never cease to amaze me.

    1. Thank you so much Nora. That comment really made my day, I hope you are right. One day I would love to see my name dance along the bylines of the New York Times.


      Hannah Katy

  9. Hey Hannah 🙂
    So this year our programming board sponsored a Women’s History Month speaker and it was Sheryl WuDunn! I ran the event and got to meet her! I knew her book was well known but didn’t really think people our age knew alot about it. Alot of the members of the audience were community members. Well, I was excited to see that you know of the book…and again great post 🙂

    1. Thanks Albs. That is so exciting, I would have loved to meet her. I am sure she was great, she is an awesome journalist to say the least. Have you read the book?


      Hannah Katy

  10. LOVE this post! I minored in women’s studies courses in college, and took many a feminist based class. Most of my friends were thrown by my assertion that I was a feminist (even now, my desire to be a stay at home mom above any kind of career really throws people off), but I felt all the same things you stated! I may be traditional in many ways, but I am a feminist at heart!

    1. You go girl! I am right with you on that one. I definitely want to be a career woman but I also want to be able to raise my children and give them a childhood similar to my own. I think people are really thrown off by the word, there is a single negative image attached to feminism and I really think we need to break it down.


      Hannah Katy

  11. I’m a feminist for many of the same reasons as you are. I love it and reading stories on this topic. I took a class in college about it too and it was one of the most interesting classes I took in college, lol

  12. Wonderfully said – great post, and I agree, there is such huge misconception about what feminism actually is. I think with any “label” there unfortunately comes some form of stigma or stereotype or another, and I’m proud of you for standing up for the true meaning, and for encouraging people to count their blessings, and acknowledge what’s happening elsewhere in the world.

    1. Thank you Emily! I am tired of those stigmas and those stereotypes or people legitimately becoming afraid to engage in a conversation with me… I am glad you and I can agree on this. Thanks for the constant support love.


      Hannah Katy

  13. Girl, this is quite possibly one of the best articles I have ever read. Ever. I completely agree with you, and your passion is undeniable and contagious.

    i LOVED this!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog – and I’m excited to “meet” you!

    1. Thank you so so so much. That means so much to hear and I am so honored by your compliment. I am glad that my passion can be considered contagious, I will hope that it spreads and get more people wanting to join the fight.

      And I lovee your blog. Emphasis on the LOVE.


      Hannah Katy

  14. Oh, I could not agree more with this! It’s incredible how women are still being treated, around the world but also in this country, too.

    It is quite sad that people think that feminism is synonymous with man-bashing. How did that happen?

    1. So true Carmen. I wish I knew where it all began but I know that I too was weary of the word “feminist” for a while. I used to think “blah, blah, blah- can they just be quiet about wanting rights?” And now my eyes have been opened to a whole new realm of women’s rights issues and I don’t think I will ever want to be blind to them again. This is why we need to pump up the image of feminism and work to turn it into the positive and good thing that it really is. I am not looking to start a revolution or some radical movement, I am just looking to help those all around this world who have been stripped of the basic human rights that we all deserve and are entitled to. And to me there should be no stigma surrounding that.


      Hannah Katy

  15. Love it! “I am quite excited about motherhood because I think that raising children is one of the toughest and most meaningful purposes in this world, though fiercely underrated.” This is exactly how I feel and why I’ve recently made the scary switch and realize that I DO want to be a mother.

    All the equal wages and “problems” of American feminists almost seem petty when you talk about these issues in your article.. I also consider myself a feminist and I know that many women of color feel ostracized by the voice of feminism, often preferring to call themselves womanists and shunning feminism. it’s sad. as a movement, i’m not sure that feminism “works”. it definitely could be improved!

    Yep, I’m a feminist who doesn’t mind chivalry.

    1. Well you and I see to agree on most things then Floreta.. Feminism itself doesn’t work as much as women standing up for rights that they deserve.. I think that holds a lot of potential. I just think it is so important to educate young women on the important role they play in society, so that they don’t belittle it or take it for granted.

      Always love hearing from you.


      Hannah Katy

  16. Hello,

    I hello found your site from an old post about chivalry on candy college site and just like the others I think it’s a well said artcle. I myself don’t identify myself as a feminist because what the modern feminism taken too extreme represents today although I do share some feminists ideals. And it’s nice to hear a feminist who can appreciate some old fashioned ideals like chivalry. I also want to say I liked your chivalry post on other site I mentioned and hope you weren’t discouraged by most of the negative comments. In fact I’m a member of a site called chivalry.now and may link that article to their forum. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you very much! I am wicked glad you liked both of the articles. And I was not discouraged by the comments on the site, I was glad to stir up a little controversy and get people talking on the site. I stick by what I said no matter what other people had to say about it. Let me know if you do link it, I would love to see it! Hope to hear from you again soon!


      Hannah Katy

  17. My best friend is doing an honors thesis on women’s rights, specifically global reproductive rights, next year and I linked her to this post. She loved it! =)

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