Feminist. Does that word make you cringe a bit? Does it make you think of hippie women in the 60s burning their bras, refusing to shave, hating on men and scream in the streets like angry protesters? The word used to leave a strange taste in my mouth as well, even as someone who attended a fairly progressive liberal women’s college. I just never considered myself that much of a feminist and I’ll admit I had a the above image kind of in my head and kind of figured, I’m too much of a girly girl to be a feminist, right? Yeah, I was wrong. This past election has proven to me that I am most definitely a feminist. And it’s not a dirty word or a bad thing. It’s important.
My latest read is We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s basically a transcript of a Ted Talk she gave. It’s short, it’s to the point, and it re-affirmed my realization that yes, I am a feminist. I care about women’s rights. I care about equal rights for everyone. And everyone can be feminists – men and women alike.
One of the things that Adichie points out that I love is, you can be a happy feminist. You can be a feminist who loves makeup, clothes and shoes. You can be a feminist who is happily married to a man. You can be all those things and still care about equal rights for everyone.
It’s an odd place to be a feminist raising a son, but I also feel a great responsibility to teach him to treat everyone with respect regardless of gender, race, or religion. I share Adichie’s view that we should dream of and fight for a “fairer world, a world of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.” And I can do that by raising my son with good values.
She ends by saying that her own definition of a feminist is “a man or a woman who says ‘Yes there is a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better'” If that is what it means to be a feminist, than I’m on board. We can do better.
If you have a chance to grab this short read (I borrowed it from someone else) I really do recommend it. It can be read in one sitting at only 48 pages long and I think it will really make you think in these crazy times.