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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Feminism and me

I've been a feminist for a long time. Pretty much since I first learnt the word. I don't remember exactly how I was introduced to feminism, probably in one of the frequent social and political discussion we often had as a family, but right from the beginning it spoke to me.

In fact, I was interested in most isms. Feminism, pacifism, socialism. All except racism. (In that case I was an anti-ism supported). I was drawn to the idea that we as people are all equal. We all have value and rights as humans and not because of our gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or physical abilities. To me these beliefs seemed so logical, so just. As a kid I couldn't understand how anyone could think I was less of anything because I was a girl and not a boy.

So I was a proud feminist and not afraid to say it. Not surprisingly this lead to much mockery and baiting as a pre-teen and teenager. Boys would try to egg me on with sexist comments. Girls would sometimes support me, but often tried to hide behind semantics. Most girls seemed to be reluctant to admit to being a feminist in case they were labeled as man-hating, hairy-legged, bra burners. Instead my friends would say I'm not saying women and men aren't equal but I'm not a feminist. Or they would profess to be post-feminist and argue that equality had been achieved and feminism was no longer needed.

I never understood that. Why would you hide your belief in equality? To me feminism is all about equality; the equal rights and legal protection for women and men. How could anyone not support that?

I am still a feminist. I am grateful that women in Canada can now vote, own property, hold public office, serve in the military and work in a wide variety of professions but that doesn't mean I will stop being a feminist. Like any belief it helps shape how I view the world and my interactions with others. And despite how far we have come there is always further to go, both here and around the world.

One of my goals as a parent is to raise feminists. Two of them. I hope that the girl and the boy will believe in equality for women and men. I hope that they will go out and treat women and men with the respect and dignity that should be afforded to all. I hope that they will be proud to call themselves feminists.

Today is Women's Equality Day in the United States. This day commemorates the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote.

5 comments:

  1. Becoming a mother brought out the feminist in me! Who would have thought? I wrote a bit about it here: http://familynature.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/i-am-an-earthworm-and-im-okay-with-that/

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  2. I hope I can instill those values in my boys too. I try every day.

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  3. Awesome post! I like your emphasis on raising TWO feminists :) Yay for feminist boys!

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  4. Great post! I am a proud feminist and don't care if people stereotype me or some men feel threatened by it. Quality men are feminists and egalitarians too!

    There is still much more work to be done in terms of pay and job equity, more support for battered women as well as changing social media perceptions on how women 'should look', etc. Feminism is also obviously badly needed in less developed countries as well where women are overly persecuted and tortured.

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