Female Empowerment in a Conservative Environment

Feminism nowadays seems to have a bad name, especially where I’m from. Growing up in the conservative south as a liberal woman has been difficult. In a community dominated by controlling men with closed minds, it’s been hard to continue fighting to be heard. How can you convince someone they should care about the struggles of someone else? Sometimes it seems impossible.

Houston, Texas is considered a melting pot of cultures in the south, and yet there still seems to be a “correct” way to think and live. I’ve always been a feminist because I couldn’t fathom the type of person that would openly stand against equality, but as I’ve grown up I’ve gotten a lot of backlash for my beliefs. I’ve been called dramatic, sensitive, even dumb, just for wanting the same rights and privileges as men.

I’ve always been told my struggles as a woman are fake but all you have to do is look at the facts to know that’s not true. For instance, my high school spent millions on the football program in our school, but female sports hardly got anything. Our female drill team won trophies at every competition and yet were still underfunded while most of the money went to the men’s football team who lost almost every game.

The student council at my high school was composed almost completely of men with one woman as secretary, and that was just because only women had run. The men in our grade beat out women for every single position. It’s absurd to me how even other women trust men more in leadership roles. The idea that men are more suitable for powerful positions runs deep in my community, and it has always made getting my ideas across burdensome.

It takes courage to think differently in a community that overlooks inequality, from having decisions made for me in group projects to being told to my face that feminists are just drama queens looking for special treatment. I have never wanted special treatment, only equal treatment, and it’s rare to find people that are willing to understand the difference. But that’s why feminist organizations are important, to show women that they don’t have to accept the world they live in.


By Mia Carriles