The youngest of four kids and only girl, I learned how to stand up for myself pretty quickly in life and most importantly – to jump in. I could keep up with my brothers, throw like a boy and argue my point home. My gender never came into the equation and while my parents never encouraged any kind of feminist belief or behaviour, they never really had to. I knew I was as good as the boys. And I wasn’t afraid to go after what I wanted.
I honestly did not start thinking about feminism until my late twenties.
The rules of feminism are impossible to follow. I honestly thought the core of the movement was to establish equal rights for women and men. Not to achieve a higher stature for women over men, though that seems to be the way things are headed these days. Add in attacking any woman’s behaviour as allowing the patriarchy to beat us down and it just seems like the cause is more of a competition than a justified movement.
There are a few examples that spring to mind.
Take changing your last name at marriage. To some women, taking your husband’s surname is a sin against feminism. Never mind that your original birth name is most likely your father’s name. And to be ambivalent about the issue yet still cite feminist beliefs? Outrage again.
What about Equal Employment Opportunity? I am afraid I am not educated enough on the topic. However I do know that while the concept has good intentions, I know I would feel uneasy – insulted even – that it was my gender that had won me the job or promotion, and not my skills.
I am incredibly grateful to our feminist founders for so many things that I do today. I vote. I have worked in a variety of jobs at equal and higher levels than men. I have taken maternity leave and returned to work part-time. Right now I am publishing my thoughts about women’s place in society, on the most public forum in the world.
I’m still trying to figure it out. But it would be nice if us modern feminists could stop attacking each other.