I’m a feminist and it saddens my heart to hear that this this is a negative and dirty word for most people. I’m not sure why or how it came to be that way and I’m not sure I’ll ever understand. My soon to be thirteen year old daughter has tried to explain it to me a bazillion times, but to no avail. Today, I thought I’d continue the theme of being vulnerable from my last post by admitting this AND explaining how/why I became this way.
Since I was little I have always believed in equality for all. This little nugget of my personality is so ingrained in me that I remember being upset by injustices to mankind at a very young age. I’m not sure how old I was when I gave all of my Halloween candy away to a kid in our neighborhood who was wheelchair bound and couldn’t go trick or treating. At the time, my little mind railed against the injustices of it all. I mean how could a kid not go trick or treating? How could the world be so cruel?
Little did I know at the time that the world was way worse. That people would actually kill another person based on their skin color, gender, and/or same sex attraction. I would eventually learn that even death wasn’t the worse thing you could do to a person. As I grew up, I continued to fight for the underdog/underrepresented in my limited way. In elementary and high school, I was always sticking up for the kids who were bullied and getting into trouble with the teachers/principal for not shying away from fights, whether verbal or physical. (In 6th grade, I punched a boy who bullied the entire class and got in trouble with the principal, even though I did it after school and not on school property.)
But it wasn’t until I was in a women’s class in college that I learned who I was and who I’ll always be. I remember, vividly, sitting in my seat thinking that today was going to be another boring lesson on the pagan goddess when my professor surprised me. She asked the class, “What does it mean to be a feminist?” I hate to admit that the question didn’t even merit a reaction from me. I don’t even think I looked at her. The same ol’ students who always raised their hands, raised their hands again and I’m sure I rolled my eyes. It wasn’t until the professor provided her answer that “Feminism means you believe in equality for all people“ that I reacted. I bolted upright and for the first time that semester I listened to every single word she said. Every. Single One. During that one hour class, my whole body screamed a resounding yes at her lecture and I might have misted up a bit because I’d finally found the perfect word that described me.
Twenty some odd years later and I still haven’t found a better word to describe me. So, yes, I confess I am a Feminist!