The “S” Word

by brooke eickmann

When it comes to feminism, I have always had unwavering beliefs, but until a conversation with my grandma, a very strong female role model in my life, I never had to put my thoughts into words.

“…and Miley Cyrus is out there sexualizing a wrecking ball and using a hammer as a sort of euphemism. Of course I don’t think less of her for being a slut…”

When my grandma said the “s” word, I was shaken. She kept talking like she hadn’t just torn down another woman. I tried to explain why this bothered me, but my mind was empty, except for an echo of that word. I remember stammering an explanation, but I could see the confusion still in her eyes. We spent a while longer trying to resolve the conflict, to no avail.

Our conversation resurfaced a couple weeks later. I had finally found a way to communicate why that word had cut deep. 

“You said it like it was a bad thing. My views on women are that they can be whatever they want to be and it’s never a bad thing.” 

I finally found the words to explain that to me, feminism is women being whatever they want, acting however they want, dressing however they want, and doing whatever they want. Being a woman is defined by who you choose to be, and who you feel you are. I’m just as much a woman in my baggy jeans, dad shoes, T-shirt, and flannel, as Miley Cyrus is when she’s braless in red lipstick, her underwear and a tank top. Being a woman is a state of mind.

My grandma and I talked about our views and experiences as women, comparing modern feminism to feminism when she was growing up, sharing stories, and talking about how hard it is to do what you want without judgement, despite the progress we’ve made. Above all else, we realized how much we love being women.