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10 Girls on What Feminism Means to Them

10 Girls on What Feminism Means to Them

Feminism in 2017 has made its way into Beyoncé lyrics, Emma Watson speeches, and designer clothes—but what does it really mean in day-to-day life? We asked 10 girls from all over the world to define feminism for themselves.

“Feminism means so much to me. It’s equality in every sense of the word, including in pay. It's seeing more women, and women of color, as elected officials. It's being able to enter whatever field a woman wants to, and not be prejudiced or shunned for daring to follow her dreams. Feminism is a world where women can live their lives unafraid—unafraid of men, of sexism, of discrimination.” — Lizzie, 17, Texas

“To me, coming from a developing country where women are not given equal opportunities at all, feminism is an escape to an ideal world. I strive to live in the world where I will be given an equal chance to work beside the male population. I wish for the day when women will not be bound to home in most of the areas of my country. I wish for a time when women will be able to make their own choices regarding their lives. Feminism isn't just an idea for me; it’s a goal that I have set out to achieve.” — Momina, 20, Pakistan

“Feminism doesn't mean male oppression and female power. It means female power and male power and non-binary power and love. It means acceptance, equality, and justice. Everyone deserves an equal shot in this world, and gender shouldn't be a factor. I want a world where this is true, and I want a world where feminism is respected.” — Erin, 15, New York

“Feminism is about having the opportunity to do what you want with your life, no matter your gender, whether that be a housespouse, an artist, a CEO, or all three. It’s also being able to receive the same vacation time, salary, and paid parental leave in the process. It's about the opportunity to be anything. And that opportunity means you can choose to have what you've fought for, or what you already had, without shame. ” — Malia, 18, Washington

“Feminism is fighting for the equality between men and women. Not making one superior, but breaking down the barriers society created between the two.” — Hafsah, 16, Canada

“Feminism taught me that in order to become a better version of yourself, you don't bring other women down—you empower them. Empowerment is a contagious thing. Feminism also made me realize that beauty should never be confined to one specific type. Beauty is diverse. Feminism taught me to appreciate beauty in all forms and colors, not just the ones I grew up accustomed to.” — Tanya, 15, Philippines

“My definition of feminism is making my own decisions for myself, and not allowing preconceived notions about what a woman ‘should’ be affect that. It means viewing myself as worthy of love and success, so that my self esteem and my ability to reach my goals are not affected by the world's view of women. It means both actively and mentally supporting other women instead of comparing myself to them.” — Madeleine, 19, California

“Feminism has made me a better person, a person I am proud of. It makes me stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves, and it makes me speak out whenever something is wrong without hesitating. Feminism has not just taught me to fight for my rights; it has also taught me compassion—compassion for the people who aren't as privileged as I am, and compassion for those men who are chained by patriarchal norms.” — Akanksha, 15, India

“Too often, feminism is defined as a series of stereotypes. Feminists hate men. Feminists don't wear makeup. Feminists only wear pants. However, these are just a series of misconstrued stereotypes. Feminism is about the idea that women are equal in every way and that women are capable of achieving anything they want. It's not about giving up anything you believe in; it's about believing in yourself and other women and your ability to change the world.” — Soumya, 15, California

“Feminism to me is equity. It's equity of gender, sexuality, race, religion, color, and creed. It's creating a better and more equitable world where we can all live without fear of judgment or persecution.” — Lilli, 16, Maine

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