The idea of being a feminist has come up a lot lately and I have been thinking about it quite a bit. The world is obviously filled with opinions, especially in today’s climate, but to keep politics out of the equation a bit, I wanted to take it down the basics.
I have always considered myself a bit of a feminist. My dad even nicknamed me Susan B. (Anthony) in 4th grade when I won Class Governor over a boy. I didn’t even want to run but I got challenged by some little punk dude in my class so I went for it. (My best friend in the class was a boy who I beat out for the role (he is also invited to my wedding) and he won Lieutenant Governor…definitely not the same kid who challenged me).
My general sentiment on standing up for women being independent and considered just as bright and equal to men has not waivered one bit. In fact, in many cases I think I have more gumption than a lot of men I do know—or “masculine” qualities, if you will. Certain topics, conversations, and issues I don’t mind dealing with head on. I don’t relish in them, but I also don’t cower. However, some principals of what seems to constitute as being a feminist, I find that I am not always as passionate about. I still appreciate tradition and male chivalry.
But what sucks is I often feel like I have to be one way or the other…. which I think is the problem with today’s narrative on the subject. We don’t often see shades of gray regarding politics, sexuality, feminism, or any other sensitive, passionate topic. It seems we are forced to label ourselves, even as we fight against labeling! The whole thing is really exhausting.
More to the point, I personally find that my own brand of feminism isn’t putting women on a pedestal. It’s keeping everyone on equal playing field. I judge everyone, no matter who they are or what they are, according to their character as a person. For instance, pretty bluntly, if you aren’t fit for a role, if you’re an asshole, if you lost fair and square at something… I just judge all that based on merit, without the exterior of a person. (Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?)
If I think a man is better suited for something more than a woman, then I think that’s me being a feminist in assessing my opinion based on their capabilities. If I just favored a woman because she’s a woman, I would feel as though I’m fighting the wrong fight. It’s not change, it’s still focusing on someone or something based on the wrong reasons. And if anything, I don’t want to perpetuate any sort of division I have been seeing. Continuing the cycle, if you will. The only part that would anger me in the equation is if the woman didn’t even have the OPPORTUNITY or was given the proper considering. Then, that’s absurd!
It’s like the episode of This Is Us (Spoiler Alert!) where Kate realizes she didn’t get the role of a band singer because she wasn’t good enough, not because she was overweight. REFRESHING! I think this same idea and mindset should apply to all things. It’s when we all look at the situation through lenses of equality, that we don’t need to discuss the labels we fall under, we just need to concentrate on the work at hand and quality of the person.
I am pretty outspoken, particularly when I really LOVE something or really HATE something. I usually stay quiet about the things I’m “meh” or “could go either way” about. However, I definitely usually keep to myself on such topics because I find people become sensitive and right now, it feels hard to have a mature, open minded discussion without stepping on toes accidentally, which is really too bad. Listening to others who might have different are varying ideas than us could broaden all perspectives.
My point of this is, I’m curious! What are the shades that some of you represent your feminist side? (If you even feel like you have one at all?) There’s all kinds of visuals that pop up on this! I think symbolically we resort to the 60s picketing and bra burning and of course, suffragettes standing their ground. Or of course, there is the free bleeding that we hear of today. But what about the regular, every day things? Such as trying to be a cheerleader for other girls? Or encouraging a little girl to feel good about herself and try a new sport or activity?
Putting down men doesn’t make our star brighter. I know some pretty great men and there’s a few that I love more than anything. So to me, feminism means, putting women on equal playing field, and then encouraging them to play that field!
What does feminism mean to you?