In Support of the F Word: Feminism
When I was younger, I never wanted to be labeled as a “girl.” I didn’t like pink; I didn’t like ponies or dolls. I liked to build things, play with bugs, and explore. Because of that, I had guy friends, not girl friends. I didn’t identify with hating boys. I liked them. A lot. In fact, I thought I should be able to do everything they did. That seemed fair. Right?
Feminism has had a rough time of it, the last few years. Female celebrities reject the word or quibble over who is and isn’t a feminist. I get it. The word feels like it’s covered in moth balls. A word for a different time. Yet, whether you have been following Emma Watson and her speech at the UN, the many gender solidarity photos posted by men in the #HeforShe campaign, or the sexual politics of “Yes Means Yes,” you can see that there are many faces of Feminism. Feminism has been lambasted and re-tooled to fit a new generation, yet the underlying goal is the same: Equality. Equal pay. Equal rights. Equal opportunity.
Feminism can represent little issues like being called” bossy” or deflecting unwelcome catcalls. Feminism can tackle global issues like female genital mutilation or lack of schooling for girls. Feminism becomes a family issue when it comes to maternity versus paternity leave, or lack of equal pay for equal work. Feminism can represent men who want to spend more time with their children or a transgender person who identifies as a different gender than the one he or she was born with.
Despite my distaste of labels, I like being a Feminist. But we need to let Feminism be the inclusive word that wants to be. Feminism shouldn’t be a club for man-haters, whose cardholders are women who talk about fish riding bicycles. It shouldn’t be a treehouse that kicks you out if you want to show some cleavage and wear lipstick. You can be a man and be feminist. You can be a stay-at-home-mom and be a feminist. Whether your breed of feminism is Gloria Steinem or Lena Dunham, we all need to hold hands while crossing the street. We’re all in this together.
Tomorrow is the International Day of the Girl. A date minted by the UN as a day to raise awareness about gender equality all over the world. Despite the mention of a gender in the title, October 11 is a day about equality.
We women can be catty. We’ve had to fight each other for scraps at the table, that sometimes we see each other as obstacles rather than allies. Yet, the most important thing women can do is to support one another. In being a part of Move LifeStyle, I have met so many smart, supportive, sexy women, who break the mold and challenge authority. I think it’s time to take back this word. Are you with me?