I read a lot, and I write a lot, and recently I have really wanted to write about feminism because it’s a subject people get so quickly carried away with. All I’ve seen of feminism in stories is that it becomes one of two extremes: boy thinks the girl can’t do anything without a his help or affection because she is just a female and is scared of dirt, or don’t you dare touch me because I am an independent woman who can do everything ever on my own and I like to roll around in the mud and men just never understand me. I think feminism should be more of a middle ground. I don’t call myself a feminist, because so many self-acclaimed feminists attribute many other things I don’t agree with to feminism. But there are so many ways I feel we should fight for women to be properly represented, because in so many ways we simply aren’t. Women are incorrectly portrayed in every single part of our culture, which I see as the biggest issue. It is not the fact that there is a smaller percentage of women than of men who work in high-paying jobs, or that men shouldn’t make their wives stay home and raise their children. Those issues mean a lot to a lot of women, but I just don’t see eye-to-eye with the fervor they have for such small, stupid things. Women have grown so much in the past century, and I can’t think of one modern example in which women don’t have as many rights as men. Can women vote? Yes. Buy a house? Yes. Get a job? Buy a car? Wear pants? And if there are still people trying to say that women should be able to join the NFL, they need to find something else to do with their lives. Women don’t really want to play in the NFL. That is just nonsense. We should not be wasting our time trying to allow women to do literally every single thing men do, and we shouldn’t be calling that feminist action. Women and men are different, and that is something I think should be noted and, dare I say, celebrated. God didn’t make one gender — He made two. He didn’t make man and almost-man. He made man and woman, and there is no reason women should be fighting to make themselves exactly the same as men. Rights should be equal, yes — but actions should not be. Women simply can’t build as much muscle as men, that’s not how our bodies work. But that doesn’t make women weak — and it doesn’t make men stronger. It just makes women different. Has the fact that men can bulk up easier ever stopped women from body-building too? No. Our culture is filled with inspirational messages encouraging people to accept their differences. We are taught to love our bodies, to love our skin tone, to love our eye and hair color, because we are all different. Which is amazing. So why can’t women praise each other for being different from men, as much as they are praised for being different from each other? Real women are truly independent, and can survive just fine without a male partner. Real women can craft an accurate self-awareness without the influence of men at all. If nothing else, the one thing I’ve learned growing up is that a man will not complete you. Men and women are made to fit together, to be compatible, to make each other better. But women are not incomplete without men. And men are not incomplete without women. Men and women are each their own entity, and there are so many qualities one has that the other doesn’t. Yet this doesn’t make one inferior. This just makes them DIFFERENT. Women simply should not be fighting to gain precedence over men. What matters is how men and women treat each other, and even how women treat women. Girls generally tend to prey on weaker girls, which is a reaction engrained into us by the desire to be the best. That is the behavior that is causing the problem. No one, no matter their gender, should prey on the weaker party. We are not lions or bears. We are humans. We need to learn how to stand up for those who are weaker than us, to fight for the less-fortunate before we fight for ourselves. Women should never be made to feel like they must prove themselves. They shouldn’t be fighting to keep someone from seeing them as lesser. Our society needs to understand women better, so that we can teach our young girls how to look at themselves and our young boys how to respect women. If we do this, maybe adult women won’t have to teach adult men that there is more to her than her sexuality or how well she can cook. Contrary to what is often displayed in modern writing, there is a middle ground between the invincible, independent girl and the wimpy, emotional girl who can’t do anything on her own. What is so beautiful about women is that we are so multi-faceted. We are often better at expressing emotion, which we should be proud of because that means we have a better scope for understanding deeper feelings. Emotion is something beautiful and complicated and scary, and the fact that many of us face many different emotions everyday makes us strong and intelligent, not fickle and moody. As we grow from girls to women, we must learn how to balance our propensities to be strong and confident with our respect for the men who love us and want to carry our purses and change our flat tires, whether that be fathers, brothers, husbands, or friends. It takes humility to let someone help you, because often when we don’t ask for help it’s because we don’t want it. Asking for help and accepting help do not make a woman weak — they make her kind and confident in who she is. The kind of feminism I fight for is educating people on the struggle and reward of womanhood, which men and women alike in this culture often don’t fully understand. Feminism is not fighting for abortion rights, because somehow what most people used to call a fetus is now called “tissue,” and even though it takes a man and a woman to conceive a child, the unborn child belongs to the woman and thus she can choose to end the child’s life. That is not feminism. A baby is not part of a woman’s body — it is inhabiting it. So stop saying allowing abortion is empowering women. It is teaching women that they can live whatever lifestyle they want and should never have to suffer any consequences. A march for abortion should not be called a march for women. And because the people supporting abortion claim to be fighting solely for feminism, those who truly want to fight for feminism are scared to speak up. The reason I would never call myself a feminist is because culturally, feminism is equated with the belief that a woman should be able to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, with whomever she wants, without regard for how it might be affecting others. Yet a real woman has just as much respect for herself as she does for those around her — because she understands that we are all equal because we are all human. Before you crusade for “equality” or march for “women,” take a moment to think about what makes you glad to be a woman, and what makes you proud of the great women in your life — even if that is yourself. Talk to your sons and daughters about why women are strong, beautiful, and unique, not about how Donald Trump is sexist. Praise women, because God made them lovely and complex and with intentionality. Praise women, do not limit them to how the culture thinks they should be portrayed. Praise women, do not limit them to what the government does or does not allow them to do. Praise women, do not limit them to only how they choose to express their sexuality. Praise women for everything that makes females so amazing. That is feminism.