I may have built this soapbox in early February but I didn’t really get on to it until March, so this recap is for both months.
For me, all of this had been inspired by Sheryl Sandberg and her TEDtalk “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders,” which I had seen in October of last year. This talk and some conversations with others had brought me to the point where I thought I should speak up. I read her book and wrote a review of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead which included some of my favorite points. I am a big supporter of Lean In. It gives women some vital information for taking more of the issues into our own hands instead of blaming, hating or shaming. Then I encouraged people to be the change with me.
I realized early on that research was needed to fully understand the problems and solutions available to women:
- There were articles:
- Why Women Still Can’t Have It All by Ann-Marie Slaughter
- Why Cambridge Needs Feminism
- New data on the rise of women, a TEDtalk given by Hanna Rosin
- More men get alimony from their ex-wives by Geoff Williams
- Violence against women; it’s a men’s issue a TEDtalk by Jackson Katz
- Ladies, Take Off Your Tiara! by Hannah Seligson
- Boys Need Feminism too by Dana De la Cruz
- Feminism is Big Business by Bhakti Shringarpure
- For China, a New Kind of Feminism by Didi Kirsten Tatlow
- Feminism a Good Fit for One ‘Good Muslim Boy’ by Katrin Bennhold
- Pew Research Center; there are interesting studies every time I visit. I recommend the whole site
- Did Feminism Cause Divorce? by Jill Brooke
- Redefining Success by Elizabeth Ride
- Why I Created Sofia the First by Craig Gerber
- Roles of Moms and Dads Converge As They Balance Work and Family by Kim Parker and Wendy Wang
- Are Men Really ‘Where Women Were 30 Years Ago’? by Hope Reese
- There were books:
- Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women by Sara Bessey which outlines just why feminism and Christianity are not mutually exclusive.
- The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bronnie Ware which gave me a good a perspective on what happens when you let things stand in the way of the life you want. This unfortunately happens to many men and women and non-binary gendered people out there.
- I started The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and am learning a lot about the supposed golden age. It has made me think about the way we perceive these things and how each step effects every step after it. It’s been an interesting book so far, but I am only about half way through. It inspired me to take a look at the way media (specifically magazines because they speak directly to the reader vice television where images simply imply those things) is speaking to women about the “shoulds” and “should nots” of life.
- There were statistics from the Pew Research Center and studies that proved scientifically that prejudices still existed for women in the United States and that there were plenty of things holding us back, including ourselves.
- I also took a long look at men and their issues too. I looked at some men’s rights activists and I read through their points, but I didn’t even have to look that far to see men getting the short end of “patriarchy” too.
- I found people to inspire me who were out there and creating programs and other things to help women and girls along in not just a “fight” but in their own thought processes and in confidence.
I did this and I came to terms with some personal things.
- I found that these problems lurk under our noses where they are barely noticeable
- I found that media and even our favorite characters in fiction can tell us a lot about ourselves and where we get some of our own ideas
- I realized that we need to be aware of the way we treat men when they speak up because they may not be as practiced at speaking of their own injustices, but they face them too. We should be in this together.
- I realized that our view of independent women is changing. Each generation has its own view on the issues and the more young adults I meet, the more I see that they seem to see the light in a way that even my own generation could barely understand. They don’t just accept that women are legally equally, they expect them to be socially equal as well.
- I found that feminism needs to reach the far corners of the world and that we are progressing with understanding but not enough of it.
So I wanted to talk about some things:
- I hate to “empower” people. They already have power, they just need to learn to use it. No one really has power when it is given to them, they only have the power they take for themselves.
- Women are confusing because we are different and not of a hive mind despite being treated as if we should all think alike.
- No one has the cultural definition of “it all” and we should each define that term for ourselves instead of striving for impossibility.
- There are anti-feminists and I don’t understand them.
- I am a product of feminism.
And there is so much more to talk about and so much more to share. It has been an interesting month or so. I have learned a lot about the many perceptions, statistics, issues and opposition contained in the single word that is “feminism” and I have only just begun.