Pushing the topic of feminism into relevance is as challenging as challenging gets. Explaining the matter clearly enough for those that oppose the topic is one task. Grouping the many categories of feminism is another. Finding sincere supporters that grasp, really what feminism is, also keeping the interests of the newly concerned… the list is never ending. Thankfully, we have iconic people that help allow feminism to reach across all crowds. Whether these icons’ audiences support feminism, they definitely have an idea of what it is in some sort of way. Audiences that would probably never gotten the chance to put a title on their experiences have Malala Yousafzai to thank. Entertainment based feminists are able to depend on Beyoncé to address the subject of feminism in the showbiz; and she is preceded by Angelina Jolie, Amber Rose, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey and so many others. Reminding us that feminism, in some form, has always existed, even if it was not named, we can also commensurate Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, and the fictional Rosie the Riveter. The list undoubtedly doesn’t end there; you can continue to review coined feminists HERE.  For now, we will focus on some previously named feminists and how they have helped put feminism on the map, helping to give feminists a discerned voice.

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai – Taken by Russell Watkins/Department for International Development.

Ladies: Imagine being told you cannot attend school! The outrageous law, was a reality for Malala, in her homeland of Pakistan – a law enacted by the Taliban. In opposition to the Taliban’s law, Malala was struck in the head by a bullet after boarding her school bus one morning. Surviving the attack, Malala’s outstanding act of courage sparked the nation’s involvement. Developing a petition advocating for children all over the world to be enrolled in school by the conclusion of the year 2015. Malala is seen as one of “the 100 most influential people in the world” and has been awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize as well as the Sakharov Prize. Malala has visited the UN and been interviewed by Forbes, where she didn’t address herself as a feminist but was inspired by a celebrity then titling herself as one. Today, Malala continues to fight for children’s along with women rights.

Beyonce Knowles
Beyonce Knowles – Image Credit: Jen Keys

Next up, our beloved Beyoncé that can do no wrong. Very flamboyant about her stance on feminism, Beyoncé has performed various concerts with the word “feminist” flashing brightly behind her. Taking a very modern day approach on the topic of feminism, Beyoncé has two songs I recognize to have a strong feministic stance. Her 2013 song “Flawless” features quotes and questions on the contradicting double standards proposed in our society:

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller, we say to girls, ‘You can have ambition but not too much you should aim to be successful but not too successful otherwise you will threaten the man’…But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments which I think can be a good thing but for the attention of men we teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”

Concluding the rant on feminist related problems, Beyoncé then defines a feminist in her own words as “the person who believes in the social Political, and economic equality of the sexes”. More recently Beyoncé performed the hit single “Formation” at the 2016’s super bowl; addressing the love for her heritage, the black lives matter movement, as well as telling both African-American women and women altogether to embrace their worth.

These two feminists hold great significance to me, though there are a vast amount of feminists in our society. I chose to discuss the two, in order give an example of different versions of feminism. Everyone takes a different approach in addressing feminism, no route is the same and no route is wrong. Having a voice when it comes to feminism is easy, having that voice heard is the challenge. If you find yourself lost at some point on your journey into feminism, we have these icons to encourage us to continue on in whatever we wish to achieve within the topic. As Malala said, she speaks “not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” Proving that there is a population of feminists rallying for each of our success!

About the Author

Asha PAsha P.
Class of 2016 | Transfer
Major: Communication
Minor: Psychology
Blog Theme: Women A Loud


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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