December 10, 2014

Feminism: Count me in.



Treading delicately is difficult when the floor is littered with land mines.

My heart is heavy and full. An article is making its rounds on Facebook, resulting in women refusing to label themselves as feminists. I continually fight the urge to comment because it all makes me feel feisty, which means it likely won't be productive. Thinking and writing results in something more coherent and cohesive, leaving all (or, at the very least, some) of the land mines in tact.

Feminism is big and bulky. I took a Women's Studies course in university and it had everything television told me to expect: An aged hippie professor, a gaggle of militant lesbians and the token creepy guy faking empathy while leering at the woman beside him. I learned lots, including how women advocating for equal rights started long before there was a label for it.

I walked away from the class thankful for the courage and sacrifice demonstrated by the women whose stories I heard. Do I agree with everything done in the name of feminism? No. But I can't deny that my present ability to own a home and a car, to vote for political leaders, and to find protection within the law against abuse and harassment isn't the result of women working tirelessly for equality.

And I never had to do anything for it. I am unbelievably fortunate.

Sheer stubbornness keeps me from ripping off the title and rolling over, crying into my pillow about how the word has been used in ways I don't like and how it's all just not fair. Nah. No thanks. I'm quite content to stand here – even if I'm all alone – and say how thankful I am for what has been done and acknowledge how much more needs to happen.

(Yes. There are still discrepancies. And inequalities. In so many ways.)

For the sake of our daughters and sons, or nieces and nephews, let's not worry about the trivial stuff. Hashtag movements are nice, but they don't last. Let's keep praying and advocating and working to remind ourselves of where we've come and how much further we've left to go. Because both men and women carry figurative weight, unrealistic expectations and impossible demands.

You know, what she said.

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