For those who know me my claiming to be a feminist is no big revelation. During my first pregnancy when everyone was taking bets on the gender one friend actually said that she KNEW I’d have a girl because being the feminist that I am there was no way my womb would support a male fetus. I did indeed have a girl, but as my son proves, my womb is fully capable of supporting male life.
So what does it mean to be a feminist?
Well, contrary to what that initial bit of information may lead you to believe, being a feminist does not mean that all men have Cooties or that I don’t wear a bra. Feminism is actually about equality of the sexes. It is the belief that women should have every legal right as men to vote, hold public office, own property and businesses, have access to education and employment opportunities, and to earn the same pay grade for the job they are qualified to preform. That is the core of feminism.
Somewhere along the line of the feminist movement with images of bra burning and mobs of angry women protesting one thing or another in relation to women’s rights, feminism became an ugly thing. It’s connotations became corrupted, earning it a place with every derogatory association towards women. Feminism became a threat to gender roles throwing into chaos the very institution of marriage, destabilizing society at large. Women even became resentful towards other women because if they weren’t out fighting, protesting, working then they were as worthless as the ruling male body would have all women believe.
For anyone who believes that I refer you back to the core of feminism. It isn’t about superiority or destabilizing society. If anything it is about strengthening humanity. By acknowledging that women are equally capable as men we lay the foundation for partnerships built on respect. Women with legal rights equal to men illuminates the notion that women are the sole responsibility and burden of men. Feminism does not devalue men, it simply emphasizes that women are capable of being equal partners in all aspects of life.
A single woman is capable of supporting herself, just as is a single man. Those who choose to join in marriage become a partnership of equals. How a married couple decides to conduct their family should be mutually decided based on their shared values, not dictated by inequality. Much of what makes men or women better at certain tasks is merely experience. Men can be just as nurturing and compassionate stay-at-home caregivers to their children as women can be successful bread winners for their families.
Feminism is about everyone being equally responsible for themselves, and having the ability to take that responsibility with no greater burden placed on one gender or the other. That is what feminism means to me.