By Louren Kilburg
As I sit in my college dorm room well past midnight writing this post, I can’t help but smile. Here I am, nineteen years old, given the opportunity to put words to something I’ve been feeling for quite some time now.
This topic, this idea of wholistic feminism, is probably not a normal topic for a nineteen year old college student to be writing about. This topic is probably not one that would be supported by most of my cohorts. And I’m left to beg the question, why?
What makes my story different than the thousands of women who stood this year at the Women’s March? What makes my story different than women I see sitting around tables discussing women’s issues on day-time television? What makes me different than so many of my friends and neighbors and peers?
Most women’s journey with feminism is defined by the illusory effect. In short, the illusory effect says that when we hear something repeated over and over again, it becomes accepted as fact in our minds. Because this information is repeated so many times (think “carrots improve your vision,” “your blood is blue in your body,” or “we only use 10% of our brains”), we never question, we blindly accept, assuming that since everyone says it, it must be true. In much the same way, it was this movement, this repeated information that brought modern feminism to its current state-wide acceptance without question.
For me, however, this was not the case. I had a team of voices from women around me counteracting that effect. When the world said my femininity was something that needed to be suppressed, I found knowledge that told me it was something to embrace. When the world said that one doctor’s opinion was the only opinion in existence, I found knowledge assuring me that doctors who practiced and believed in caring for an entire woman existed. When the world told me silently believe what I was told, I was armed with education.
It was more information, not less, that brought me to empowered knowledge and this stance with wholistic feminism. It is this idea of wholistic feminism-empowering women through education about their own bodies and fertility- that has finally given a name to the unnamable notion I’ve held so long.
Here I am, standing apart from what the world would tell me is best, in a position that I’ve been told is a contradiction, is in opposition to women everywhere.
But what could possibly be more pro-woman than to welcome women into a space where they are loved, they are educated, and they are empowered to understand their bodies, and in turn their beauty. Nothing could be more pro-woman that to pass this affirming message to our friends, our peers, and our daughters, creating a generation that knows, celebrates, and embraces women just as they are.
So I invite you to join me, as we unite as college students, as men, women, children, and embrace our bodies and our beauty through wholistic feminism.