A Teen View of Feminism

Recently, I watched a TED Talk by Tavi Gevinson about feminism.  As a teenager, her analysis of strong female characters in literature and on television was interesting.  She stated in her talk that strong female characters are often simple and non-complicated.  She goes on to discuss how in the “real world” that is not the case.  She states that strong female characters are complicated and multi-faceted.  She also states that strong female characters are characters who have weaknesses or flaws, but they are relatable.

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/tavi_gevinson_a_teen_just_trying_to_figure_it_out.html“>Tavi Gevinson Ted Talk

Strong female characters should be based on the real world view, not a Barbie imitation of life.  Strong female characters should be complex and multidimensional, because I can’t honestly think of one woman I know who is simplistic.  It is interesting that as a teenager she sees the contradictions associated with being a strong woman.  She sees that it is difficult to be smart and pretty, to be strong and feminine.

Tavi identified an interesting misconception of feminism.  “Feminism is not a rule book,” she states, it’s a conversation, a process.  I’ve never really taken the time to think about feminism like that before.  Honestly, if you had asked me if I was a feminist, I’d probably have told you that I’m all about equal rights and equal pay for women, but that I’m not necessarily a feminist.  The idea of feminism that is often publicized is that of extremely radical people doing outrageous things to make a point.  Often times I think the message is lost in the hoopla of the event.  I think some women feel that there is a rule book for feminism and if you aren’t out there protesting, you are not truly a feminist.  The truth of the matter is that feminism isn’t necessarily about loud protests.  Feminism is apparent in many with quiet, conscientious efforts to make the stature of women in our world better.  These quiet approaches are just as important as any loud demonstration.  Many women are quietly and conscientiously moving to better the world for women.  These women are feminist, but may shy away from calling themselves that because of the media depiction of feminism.

I enjoyed reading Tavi’s perception of feminism.  I wholeheartedly agree that feminism isn’t a rule book.  Feminism is a conversation and a process.  Everyone can contribute to feminism in their own way by standing up for what is right for our gender and by making important contributions to society.


5 thoughts on “A Teen View of Feminism

  1. I took a class called Gendered Communication last spring and a specific part from the textbook for that class reminded me of something you said. The particular passage claimed that often when we hear the term feminism we think of radical bra burners and other extreme acts. But, in reality, like you said, a feminist is actually someone who just believes that men and women should be treated equally. Like most other people, I was under the wrong impression until I read that particular text.


    1. Isn’t it funny how that’s what we think of when we think of feminism… I guess it’s like anything, we think of the radical, loud part of a movement as the entire movement, when in fact, that is far from the truth.


  2. Being a teenage woman is hard. I don’t know if I’ll ever figure anything out. I agree with Tavi that the female role models girls have in this society are not helping girls out. We need strong, powerful women to be turning girl’s eyes. Not girls with big butts that can twerk. Thanks for sharing this TED talk! More women need to embrace their feminism, and quit taking any crap!


  3. I once read an article I just tried to find and was unable to. I think this article would have went with your post greatly. The ad was a woman looking for a husband that made basically over a million a year so she can live on the good end of NYC. Someone answered the ad as someone that made that amount and explained how most sensible men are not looking for women who she portrayed herself to be. As he put it, it was not a good investment to marry someone such as herself who is looking for a free ride just because she is young and pretty.
    I know many woman that were very angered by this woman’s article as they commented after the gentleman explaining how fanatically it was not a good investment to marry such a person. Some went after the male while others went after the female. Case in point, no one should look for a free ride in life. One should make their own marks in the world and not ride on the coat tails of others. If you’re a stay at home mom, that doesn’t mean you’re getting a free ride. You are the individual raising the kids, perhaps doing a majority of the housekeeping, perhaps not. Point being is your contributing to the family greatly even though it’s not by making money. There are now stay at home dads, and I think it’s great to hear that. That means that they have taken to watching the children and keeping the house in order while their wife is able to work without worry of the house or children.
    Our house has always been an equal marriage. No, my wife may have not made as much money as I have through most of our marriage, but that is not the point. We both worked 8-hour days and came home to work on the house together and raise our son together. I don’t have an account that is only mine and her one that is only hers and we don’t hide our earnings. Everything is available for each other and completed together. I believe this is what the male responding to the article was trying to get at. Individuals be it male or female are not looking for partners that do nothing in the relationship but “look good”. Relationships I think turn out better when everyone in the family is involved and has equal say in all matters pertaining to the betterment of the family.


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