I wanted to write this post because I’m not just a feminist. Don’t get me wrong, I am wholly an egalitarian which is a feminist plus a person who believes that men’s rights should be equal to women’s. Many assume they are, but we enjoy certain domestic rights and advantages that men are either denied or ignored as having. I just wanted to take a minute and share this thought on feminism today.
I am Feminism. I started working as soon as I came of age and I haven’t really stopped, though there have been unpaid periods. I have a fairly successful career that I have been working at for fourteen years already, a wonderful three-old son and a husband who stays at home to take care of him while working from home on his own aspirations. I was raised by parents who specifically made sure my brother and I played with both sets of toys together, were made to agree on a movie before watching it and who told us both we could do whatever we wanted in life. The key thing for them was to really put your heart into your goals and never say that you didn’t get it because you didn’t try hard enough. No dad was more excited than mine when they repealed the Combat Exclusion Law. He ran over to me and told me that I should become a fighter pilot just because I can now! (No, I am not a fighter pilot, but I think he still wishes I were sometimes). My mother never had one of those amazing feminist careers but she was always a feminist too. Her biggest challenges at work and life had nothing to do with being a woman. In many ways, she was and still is a fighter for this very cause. She has worked for more male chauvinists than I have met in my own career and she turned them around every time. She has an indomitable spirit that cannot be overlooked or overwhelmed. There has never been a barrier that she didn’t crush but she was never pushy about it. She just knew that discrimination was the stupidest thing she had ever encountered and there was something about the way she treated it that made the people around her realize just how ridiculous it had been. Growing up, she always told me the things in education that had held her back and made sure that I attained them so that nothing would hold me back from aspirations like not having a formal education had done to her (the lack of education was also not a result of her gender, maybe I’ll get into it one day).
I am Feminism because I go to work everyday in a male-dominated workplace and a field that many women are told we don’t have the aptitude for as a gender. I do good work and I am often recognized for it (though I am susceptible to the Tiara syndrome, it’s pretty bad). I speak up, standing up for myself and others and I ask the questions I think need answers when a project is coming my way. I start or keep up the conversation about what we are doing with our other women because preconceived notions on gender roles in the workplace can still be harmful to people’s careers and to allowing them to be their truest selves. This works against both genders and I’ve found myself combating people who show undue favoritism to women as often as those who discriminate against them.
I am Feminism because I started this blog. I believe in talking about the things that we have to achieve as a people in order to maintain the hope that people will be allowed to be their true selves and go after whatever goal it is that they want for themselves, I believe in doing this carefully and without stomping on those around you. I have a voice that our predecessors demanded be heard and I am not afraid to use it nor will I tarnish their efforts by being negative or discouraging to other people.
I am Feminism because I am in a marriage that would have been suffocating and dull in traditional gender roles for both of us. Neither of us find anything attractive in blind submissiveness nor do we feel compelled to do the sorts of things that tradition would dictate. No matter who is making what money, it is important in our home that total equality exists in decisions and housework so that we are both happy with the life we are building for ourselves. I don’t even understand how anyone can relinquish decision-making and then complain about the decisions that were made. I have a real partner, and though we occasionally try to push our boundaries with each other, it’s always a welcome frustration to find that the other doesn’t budge.
I am not only a feminist, but I am the very product of feminism. I am a woman with choices and I am not afraid to use them.