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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

Feminism is big enough for everyone

Feminism is popular in part because it’s so open-ended.

Equality is the goal, but none of us are 100 percent sure how to get there, which is why I find my fellow Indiana Daily Student columnist Sarah Kissel’s endorsement of respectability politics somewhat concerning.

I cried during Beyonce’s Video Music Awards performance.

I could say it was because I had something in my eye, but I can’t lie to you, dear readers.

I cried because there she was, Queen Bey, standing in front of a 15-foot tall projection of the word “feminist.”

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s voice carried over the music: “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

It was the most blatant endorsement of feminism by pop culture I had seen.

It seems feminism is enjoying a revival. According to an AOL market survey, 53 percent of millennial women and 47 percent of millennial men identify as feminists.

Monday, Kissel admonished the feminists of GoTopless, a Las Vegas activist group that believes women should have the right to go shirtless in public.

Kissel implied that their campaign was embarrassing to the larger movement.

“The feminism movement and all who ascribe to it need to remember that meaningful, lasting change cannot be established unless the nation takes it ?seriously,” she wrote.

It’s a common sentiment, even among our ?columnists.

But putting on a suit — or, in GoTopless’ case, a shirt — won’t automatically make the rest of the world take you seriously.

You’ll still be gay, black and/or a woman.

That just doesn’t sit right with homophobes, racists and misogynists.

We don’t deserve equality because we’re “respectable.”

We deserve equality because we’re people. It’s morally appropriate.

Posting a nude pic isn’t the most respectable thing to do, but we still let Anthony Weiner go to the doctor when he needs to.

Wanting to go topless in public isn’t even that bizarre of a request.

Women’s breasts are only considered obscene because they’ve been sexualized, despite the fact that their primary purpose is to breastfeed infants.

The prohibition on shirtless women seems to be largely arbitrary. Ankles were once thought to be too scandalous to show in public, too.

True, I’m not particularly worried about my toplessness rights either, but I don’t think “radicals” such as GoTopless are threatening feminism’s solvency as a movement.

Miley’s VMA performance didn’t stop ?Beyonce’s.

Feminism is big enough for every feminist.

As the movement grows, we should be careful to avoid the kind of gatekeeping that has historically left women out of boardrooms and legislatures.

Just think, we could have a topless woman president someday.

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