My 5 Pocket-Sized Feminist Resolutions for 2016

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Life and work and motherhood demand nearly all of my time. But there are still feminist actionable items that I can tackle this year. Here’s how I can keep the work moving forward in small but important ways.

(WOMENSENEWS)–Last year was a tough year, feminists. But then again, when has it not been a tough year for battling sexism and misogyny? And then Serena Williams was honored as the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year, and I felt inspired once more.

The allure of feminism, for me, has always been its inspiration for creating change. But, when life, and work, and motherhood demand nearly all of my time, it can be difficult to feel like I’m a part of any real change.

The reality is there are feminist actionable items that I can tackle in 2016. As part of my New Year, I’m adding in five manageable feminist resolutions, to keep feminism at the top of my mind and to keep the work moving forward, in small but important ways. I encourage you to do the same.

1. Thrift instead of buy. Thanks to 2015’s documentary “The True Cost,” it is easier than ever to understand how the fashion industry, and consumerism in general, are anti-feminist. But tackling an industrial complex, especially this one, has never been easy. Starting with my wardrobe and my wallet is a gentle and easy first step that can actually make a difference. In 2016, I resolve to thrift for new-to-me clothes before buying store-new. (This happens to be way easy when there’s a hip Buffalo Exchange nearby. I’m hopeful there’s an upper-end thrift store near you, too.)

2. Do the work of mindful investing. We all know the power of financially investing in women and how it quickly changes lives and communities. But this empowerment of women shouldn’t be isolated to microfinance. There are lots of mutual funds comprised of companies that empower women, and in 2016 I resolve to be more mindful of how my retirement funds are located. I will do the research. I will make the changes to my accounts. Because it matters.

3. Stop coloring my hair. Covering my gray makes me feel attractive and empowered. But gray hair is among a long list of things that are monitored when it comes to women’s bodies. While I support each woman doing whatever makes her feel good and at her best, I have felt as if I have to hide my gray hairs for fear that I won’t be seen as youthful…and therefore valuable. It is ageist, and ageism is a feminist issue. Therefore, in 2016, I resolve not to color my hair as one way I can stop participating in the sexist ageism that rules women’s bodies.

4. Be a better advocate with my kids’ toys. I like to think that I stay in the know about feminism for my life, and even how it applies to raising my kids. But when the Christmas doll house arrived with an elevator instead of stairs, I sat in awe. I admittedly hadn’t realized when purchasing it, but was delighted by its inclusion of accessibility because toys lend themselves to important (and easy) conversations with kids about bodies and experiences and difference. In 2016, I resolve to make sure that the toys and books that enter my house (through purchase or as gifts) are more inclusive, particularly of disability as well as race.

5. Demand more pockets. It may be a little thing to some, but each time I put on a pair of pants or shorts, or even a skirt, and find myself without pockets (which is nearly every time), I think about how no self-respecting man would tolerate pocketless pants. Where would he put his phone or keys or wallet? Exactly my friends. This is sexism at its not so subtlest. In 2016, I resolve to join the movement for pockets. I will not buy new pants or shorts or skirts without actual, real, useful pockets in them.

I may not be Williams or Fatima Mernissi or any other notable woman of 2015. You may not be either. But our feminist resolutions can still inspire those around us and create change.

Krista Millay is an assistant dean of students for advocacy, prevention education and gender justice at the University of Arizona, where she oversees the Women’s Resource Center and sexual assault prevention programming. She is a Tucson public voices fellow with The OpEd Project. She earned her Th.D. in philosophy, theology and ethics from Boston University.

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