The online dictionary defines feminism as “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of woman as equal to those of men.” I feel monumentally lucky to live in a time and country where, in a legal sense, this is true. Things we and our daughters take for granted today, were once unheard of.
But now that all of this is in place, what are we doing with it? On an interpersonal level, are you supporting the truths that those before us suffered to establish? Just because we have all of the choices available, are we keeping ourselves from making them freely?
We all do it - call ourselves evolved, and then harbor a confused resentment toward those who go against our personal tenets. If we are to truly support a group, we must allow for ALL choices, with only ONE judgment – that they are socially responsible, non-abusive and allow for the completely natural variations in human beings.
In the animal kingdom, we see plenty of it. Some species mate for life, while others mate with multitudes every day. Often, the females are the early nurturers. But sometimes, it is the male who sits on the egg, or keeps the babies warm while Mom hunts.
So, if we are to support feminism, the same logic applies. These completely natural, inborn differences are not to be tolerated, nor celebrated. Just observe and accept them from your own place of comfort for how you live. A true supporter of women’s rights would not take issue with a little girl who is dying to dress up as a princess for Halloween, or who dreams of growing up to be a mother. More importantly, look at how she prepares for it. It’s like the old saying – “Whatever you are, be a good one”
Have the Courage of Your Convictions
On the other end of the spectrum, much of the feminist rhetoric revolves around the traditional business world. My husband had a booth for his business at a trade show recently. We spent four days rubbing elbows with brush manufacturers from around the globe. Scintillating for him, and my younger daughter and I got some serious people watching done. I observed at least three women speaking, almost apologetically, about leaving their children at home. Guess how many men were talking about that? I kept thinking, “you can only be where you are. You’ve chosen to be here, so why not just BE here?” The way I see it, the power for women in these realms is one of refusal to spend time on emotional waste. If you can separate yourself where appropriate (dare I say, the way many men do) from the weight of conjecture of others’ thoughts, feelings and motivations, you will transcend those that see you as a “girl” rather than colleague.
Let me add….
In doing so, you must not deny your femininity. Breasts and hips are not a handicap. They are a strong, integral part of your identity. If you have doubts, try asking any woman who’s had a mastectomy.
What Are We Modeling?
The above mentioned daughter was the impetus for this blogspot. She is extremely interested in the disparity of social convention and the unique talents that may be wasted by following them. At the tender age of 17, she has inspired me to explore my own judgments of women and their choices. If your drives lean toward the stereotypically female, then the rejection of them would also be misogynistic, no? And yes, I believe women can be very misogynistic.
I am not encouraging you to be a cheerleader (or linebacker) for women’s issues. Just take silent note of those who choose differently. It is my contention that most of the distaste we have for the “other side” comes from our own lament of the path we did not take. Voltaire said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
And every time I see one of those “Live, Love, Laugh” signs I want to amend it to something like this:
“Live Unapologetically, Love Fearlessly, Laugh Louder than anyone else in the room.” … Admittedly not as aesthetically pleasing.
As always, I welcome your comments posted to the site, or privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.