I am privileged and lucky, and yet even I have been afraid to walk alone at night; even I have been told that I am a bad feminist for wearing makeup and loving pink; and even I have been accused of earning something not because of my skills but because of my physical appearance.
There are countless expectations for what it means to be a woman and to be a feminist, but human experience transcends all limitations.
Growing up, my parents and grandparents taught me that every human being deserves respect, regardless of their gender or any other aspect of their identity. Pepperdine and the world have come a long way, but there is still so much that needs to be done.
That’s why when I applied for my dream position of editor-in-chief of Currents, there was no doubt what my theme would be. Exploring gender equality and feminism was the only option.
I chose to focus on everyday interactions and lived experiences because it is these that ultimately result in institutional injustice; the most effective way to break down barriers is by changing the way we perceive and treat others.
I may have chosen the theme of the magazine, but it is the hard work, talent and unique perspectives of my team that made my vision a reality.
To the writers, thank you for giving a voice to so many different members of our community. To the editors, thank you for working tirelessly to ensure each story is balanced and beautiful. To the designers, photographers and artists, thank you for illustrating the content with creativity and intention. To my adviser, thank you for believing in me and giving me so much of your time. To everyone in Pepperdine Graphic Media, thank you for being the best second home I could have ever asked for. And to my family, thank you for supporting me in everything that I do.
Creating a magazine about such a sensitive subject is challenging, and doing so in the midst of a pandemic is even more challenging. The coronavirus forced us to work remotely and replace planned photoshoots with art. The content on these pages will not be as diverse, inclusive or comprehensive as we had hoped. But, through this journey, I have learned that it is better to have tried imperfectly than to never have tried at all. We cannot progress toward equality if we are not willing to take a risk and engage in uncomfortable dialogue.
Words are powerful, and every story matters — especially the ones that are far too often left untold. From students’ experiences with sexual harassment to their views on intersectionality, each of these stories humanizes these seemingly divisive issues, hopefully empowering readers to contribute to a conversation that is more relevant now than ever before.
To those who say gender inequality does not exist, I want to share real, raw experiences with you. To those who advocate for gender equality but avoid the label of feminist, I want to deconstruct that stigma.
Change is possible only when we stop viewing feminism as a women’s issue. This is a human issue, and the fight for gender equality will fail unless its advocates also fight for every other form of equality.
Change is possible only when everyone is invited to the conversation. So I invite you — whoever you are, wherever you are, just as you are — to join me in the stride toward equality. Let this be the first step of many.