Blogmas Day 7: My Favorite Feminists

Hello, dear readers! Today I'm coming at you from another all day study session, this time focused around this Religion paper that's due Friday. In typical Lauren Sauer fashion, it was assigned over a month ago, and I've elected to start the research now. That's okay though--totally doable. Especially because our prompt is super open-ended and allows for us to write about pretty much anything we want as long as we tie it back to a major religion of the world. Naturally I took a feminist angle on this, because that's the angle I generally take on everything. So to keep that trend going, today I thought I'd talk about my favorite feminists.

1) Malala Yousafzai
Malala is first on my list because she's the center of my Religions paper--I'm writing about the Taliban motivation for her attempted assassination. So as a result, I've spent hours of my day researching her and learning about how truly inspiring she is. Before today I fell alongside the majority of the world that was relatively unaware of her work and just knew her as the girl who stood up for other girls and was shot in the head on a school bus. Now I know all about her past as an anonymous blogger for the BBC in 2009, her unabashed commitment to education, and her truly courageous spirit. She's gone on to become the only Pakistani person--as well as the youngest woman--to win the Nobel Peace Prize. And here's the kicker: after she accepted the prize and gave her speech, she had to hurry off stage so she could get back to chemistry class. 

Here's a video of her first public appearance since the shooting--this is just a brief excerpt of the speech she gave at the UN. If you have more time, the whole thing is only about 20 minutes long and worth watching too.

2) Mindy Kaling
Speaking of Malala, this next feminist made waves recently after being mistaken for the 17-year-old activist. At an after party for a New York City event, a man apparently cornered the comedian and showered her with compliments for her heroic action. In a truly diplomatic and iconic response, Kaling responded by saying "Did he really think I was Malala? And if I were, I'd be at the Boom Boom Room?" In her usual witty fashion, Kaling also noted her Indian heritage in contrast to Malala's Pakistani lineage, highlighting an important point: the Western world LOVES to lump together People of Color. It's always inspiring and important when People of Color in the public eye use their stature to call people out on issues of marginalization and ignorance. And on top of that, Mindy is an amazing feminist because she is unapologetically herself in all aspects of her life: she writes and directs her own show (which, by the way, is named after herself, as it should be!) and speaks up about body positivity. I could go on and on about Mindy, lamenting about how much I identify with Kelly Kapoor (the character she played for years on The Office) and how I read her book in two days, but I'll just leave you with a video of her kicking ass and rejecting your traditional idea of beauty and femininity:

3) Taylor Swift
You guys knew this was coming, right? Everything in my life somehow comes back to relate to Taylor Swift, but if I'm being totally honest Taylor couldn't NOT make the cut. As someone who probably always was a feminist, Taylor has recently boldly embraced the title, and as a result is making it cool for average girls to do the same thing. She is so aware of her presence, and I love that she's now using it to highlight the gender-based discrepancies the music industry--and the world in general--is full of. Plus, I love when women can call proudly label themselves as feminists while still being hyper-feminine; Taylor is a prime example. She still wears dresses and high heels while crushing the patriarchy and I'm all for it. Plus can we just discuss how "Blank Space" is the feminist anthem 2014 needed? Anyway, here's a video of her responding to Emma Watson's amazing speech at the UN, and also just about her coming to terms with feminism as a whole.

4) Laci Green
If you haven't heard of Laci, I guess that's somewhat understandable, but in the words of Kevin Hart: "you gonna learn today." Laci Green is one of the women who directly influenced my feminist awakening. She's a sex positive YouTuber who makes videos about gender, reproductive anatomy, and the stigmas surrounding "bumping uglies." Laci is so good at what she does because she defies the commonly-held myth that all feminists are angry and vengeful by making videos that aim to educate gently. Watching her videos, I've never felt forced to believe what she does, but rather I've gradually grown to understand her point of view as I've become more aware of the world around me. For those of you that have never seen her videos, you seriously should watch them all, but I'll start you out with my favorite, entitled "Reasons Why I'm a Feminist."

5) Cara Delevingne
There are so many more women I want to include on this list (Emma Watson, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Lena Dunham, just to name a few), and maybe sometime in the future I'll expand upon it, but for now my fifth and final favorite feminist has got to be Cara Delevingne. For those of you that don't already know who that is, maybe this'll help: that model with the eyebrows. You know the one. Better? Anyway, even if you've only seen pictures of Cara or you have no idea who she is at all, she's a famous British model who gets as much attention for her personality as she does for her chiseled face. Cara recently led a pseudo-protest for Chanel, preaching the importance of feminism in the fashion industry, which is so important. Women are taught to believe anything targeted toward them is either a) intended to attract men or b) is petty and shallow. Fashion is perceived by many to be both, so it's necessary that major players in the industry lead the discussion about reclaiming those myths. The fact that Cara doesn't just passively wear pretty clothes and aimlessly strut down runways makes her a feminist; she talks openly about how fashion should empower women and how the industry must dispel the myth that models and designers are narcissistic and vapid. Plus, she's very open about her sexuality (Cara is proudly bisexual and refuses any stigma society wants to place on that label) and is an advocate for body positivity. Here's a video of her promoting a British campaign called "Feeling Nuts," but in true feminist fashion, she redirects the conversation a bit:

And that's it for now! I hope you all enjoyed reading about my favorite feminists and feel inspired and empowered. Especially you ladies out there. Now I'm off to continue my Malala research, but feel free to leave me comments letting me know who I left off this list! I hope you're all having a good Sunday and your week ahead goes well!

“Why do people say "grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.” -Sheng Wang



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