No, not the 4 letter one. I’m talking about the one that’s twice as long and seemingly more taboo. Feminist.
A friend recently shared a post featuring a quote from Caitlin Moran, author of How To Be A Woman, referencing some dire statistics in relation to being a feminist. Mainly, that only 29% of American women consider themselves a feminist. Now, I’m not sure where that statistic come from, but if it’s true, we are in trouble.
We used to joke about the F word when I was a first year at an all women’s college. Many of us green around the edges 18 year olds thought it was a thing of the past, or a word reserved to describe the ideology of angry man hating lesbians (just for the record, I’ve met lots of lesbians and none were angry or man hating). During our 4 years there, we learned that the F word is relevant and for everyone.
Here’s the thing. If you are a woman with a pulse, you are probably a feminist. If you believe in equality for all, you are a feminist. If you think you should have the right to be educated, work, own property, vote and otherwise operate as a free human being in society, you are a feminist. If you don’t want to be discriminated against, harassed or otherwise taken advantage of because you are a woman, you are a feminist. If you think traditional gender roles can be limiting, you are a feminist. If you believe all women should have these basic rights, you are a feminist.
And, you don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist. Many men consider themselves feminists because they believe in these things too. Also, feminism is not about being manly. It’s not about turning women into men, it’s about celebrating the differences between the sexes and valuing what each can contribute. It’s about respecting and loving yourself, as an empowered woman living the life that you choose.
It might seem that since we have all these basic rights in the United States, there isn’t a need for feminism. But here’s the thing. Politicians are always talking about reproductive rights and more recently, gay marriage rights. There is still a glass ceiling in some fields, women are still objectified in the media, and in real life. There is still harassment and abuse, sexual or otherwise, going on all the time. Miss Representation, a documentary and organization, takes a close look at discrimination against women, even women at the highest levels. Indeed, feminism is still relevant today.
When I was little, I thought I would change the world. These days, I’m mostly changing diapers. I’m a stay at home mom, which was the last thing I ever thought I’d be when I was growing up. But, here I am. I’m raising two girls and even though I’m living out the traditional family structure, you better believe, I consider myself a feminist. And I’m doing my best to raise strong, independent, smart, empowered young women. I’m even going to start posts in a “raising girls” category to share ideas, information and organizations that I find to help me out.
So, to all you women out there. Mothers, grandmothers or daughters, sisters or friends, gay, straight, or bisexual, partnered or single – you owe it to yourself to learn more about feminism, see how it fits in with your lifestyle, and proudly claim it as your own. And then, spread the word, literally. If 29% is an accurate statistic, the F word is in serious need of a revival. Let’s do it together.