We need to talk about feminism.
It may be 2020, but there’s still a long way to go when it comes to reaching equal pay between men and women, lessening gender inequity in the STEM field, obliterating sexual harassment in the workplace, and addressing the domestic labor divide. And that’s just a few of the issues.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to learn more about all we need to do to make the world a more equitable place. You likely spend a lot of time on the internet. How about using some of that time to understand what the issues are when it comes to truly allowing men and women to be equal counterparts in all areas of society?
Mashable’s rounded up six activists who can teach you about feminism. Their social media channels are full of lessons you can absorb every day to learn about the do’s and don’ts of gender equity, how far women have come, and the progress that still needs to be made.
You may know her as Tahani on The Good Place, but in real life, 34-year-old Jamil is a fervent activist. In 2018, inspired by a meme of the Kardashian sisters that shamed them for their weight, she started the Instagram account I Weigh. I Weigh flips the narrative to create an inclusive space on social media and inspire activism. Instead of asking people what they weigh in pounds or kilos, Jamil challenges people (especially women) to define their weight by their contributions to society and what they value in their lives.
Jamil and I Weigh also work to change policies on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to shield minors from being targeted by diet and detox products. Jamil is unapologetically outspoken on social media and her podcast I Weigh, which she started in March 2020.
Jamil often talks about how society builds up women just to tear them back down and of the unfair expectations companies put on women when it comes to their appearance — all so companies can make money off the insecurities they plant.
I would like to make it extremely clear that I don’t give a flying fuck about what people *think* my intentions are. We do not as a society, have a great track record of trusting women’s intentions and have been set up to not trust women in general since the story of Eden. ❤️
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) September 21, 2020
Adichie’s TED Talk “We Should All Be Feminists” has been viewed more than 6 million times on YouTube; she adapted the talk for a book of the same name. Beyoncé took notice, featuring parts of Adichie’s TED Talk in her song “Flawless.” Three years later, though Adichie praised Beyoncé for uplifting women, she did draw a distinction about how they each think about feminism.
“Still, [Beyoncé’s] type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men: did he hurt me, do I forgive him, did he put a ring on my finger?” Adichie told the Dutch outlet de Volkskrant.
Born in Nigeria in 1977, Adichie moved to the United States to attend college at Eastern Connecticut State University and rose to become a celebrated author. Among her books is Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, which she wrote after a childhood friend asked her how to raise her daughter to be a feminist.
Adichie inspires us all to question the societal standards that hold us down — no matter our sex or gender. Her Facebook feed is full of inspiring talks and reminders about what gender equality truly means and why we should all be feminists.
After a successful 12-year run from 2006 to 2018 as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Richards wasn’t done with furthering gender equity. In 2019, she co-founded the organization Supermajority with Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and Ai-jen Poo, the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Supermajority brings together women of all backgrounds to organize around common issues like reproductive rights, and mobilizes them to vote.
At 63, Richards continually uplifts women — both on her social media channels and in real life.
Thank you, @KamalaHarris.
100 years ago, the 19th Amendment was ratified, making today Women’s Equality Day. On this day, we must honor the women who were left behind, and the ones who keep fighting for our progress. This November, #VoteForHer.https://t.co/Nl9jJyHRUb (
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) August 26, 2020
Cargle, 31, is a public academic, writer (whose upcoming Sept. 2021 book I Don’t Want Your Love and Light examines the feminist movement through race), and activist who interweaves her anti-racist work with feminism. She is adamant about teaching white women about their privilege and calling on them to be better. When Cargle was a guest on Jameela Jamil’s I Weigh podcast, she said the majority of her Instagram followers are white women. But it’s a continuing effort.
“A lot of times, white women completely dismiss the ways that white womanhood plays into the structural racism… that happens in America because they don’t realize that they can both be oppressed within the patriarchy and the oppressor within the conversation of race,” Cargle told Jamil on I Weigh.
In 2018, Cargle started the Loveland Foundation, which provides financial assistance to help Black women and girls afford therapy. Cargle’s other Instagram account, Rich Auntie Supreme, empowers and celebrates women who don’t want children.
Even though the Taliban had been swiftly encroaching on her home country of Pakistan and restricting girls’ access to education, Yousafzai passionately believed in the right to education for everyone. As a young girl, she even spoke on Pakistani TV in a bold gesture against the Taliban, asking, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?
In 2015, Yousafzai was thrust into international headlines when an armed member of the Taliban stepped onto her school bus and shot at her three times in retaliation for her activism. One of those bullets went through her head. She miraculously recovered and became a global name.
Yousafzai’s autobiography, I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban was published in 2013 and detailed her experiences growing up under the Taliban regime and how, as a girl, that negatively affected her access to an education. That same year, at 17, Yousafzai started the Malala Fund to help fight for a girl’s right to education in countries where girls often do not get to attend high school.
Now 23, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Imani is a Black, Muslim American queer activist who, at the age of eight, started a letter writing campaign with her friends to ask the toy company Mattel to create more diverse characters after she noticed there were eight white dolls and just one Black doll.
In 2014, Imani founded the nonprofit Equality for HER to provide a space to uplift and empower women and nonbinary people. While the nonprofit shuttered in 2019, its online resources are available until 2022.
Now 26, Imani focuses on intersectional feminism and is an active member of the Black Lives Matter movement. She wrote the 2018 book Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History, which profiles 70 women and nonbinary people who were and are still instrumental in social movements such as the Stonewall riots and Black Lives Matter movement.
Black women are not Tinkerbell. Clapping for us or saying our names will not resurrect us.
HELP US MAKE INSTITUTIONS THAT DON’T KILL US SO YOU WON’T HAVE TO MOURN US.
— Blair Amadeus Imani (@BlairImani) September 25, 2020
Privileged people: If you are concerned about losing your right to an abortion just spare a thought for the people who have been forcibly sterilized in ICE custody.
The war on reproductive freedom is already at hand.
— Blair Amadeus Imani (@BlairImani) September 19, 2020