In my women in society class, I hear every day about how oppressed women are - by men, by society, by our bosses. I hear how no matter what, we always have someone telling us we're wrong.
Wrong for being virgins, wrong for being sexually active, wrong for being raped, wrong for being dumb, wrong for being intellectual.
It's all so overwhelming.I'm sitting in class wondering why feminism, something that's supposed to empower me, is actually drowning me.
But the entire time I'm reading this feminist literature, a little voice in the back of my head is saying, "You don't have to be oppressed if you don't want to be."
And suddenly it all makes sense. If I don't listen to society telling me I need to be perfect to be worth something, then it doesn't matter what they say to me, because we all have the most basic human right: the freedom of choice.
As long as we are free to choose our life paths, no one can oppress us. At least, not if we let them.
This is what feminism was trying to tell me - to stand up and be a fighter. Not just against oppressors, but against our own negative thoughts.
So ladies, let's all empower ourselves. Let's make the conscious choice to love ourselves, and let no one get in our way.
Deanna Giardino is a freshman at the University of South Carolina, but comes from Rochester, New York. She currently interns with Tell Them for a Women in Society service learning course. When she isn't studying she can be found crocheting, painting, dancing or debating life with an innocent bystander.