Friday, March 28, 2014

How I Became a Feminist

There was a time in my life when I thought that “feminists” were nothing but hedonistic, troubled man-haters who were so absorbed in their womanhood they couldn’t imagine handing over even the tiniest bit of control to the opposite sex.

There was also a time in my life when I thought buying Girl Scout cookies and showing support for Girl Scouts was “inappropriate” for someone of my faith.

It’s not.

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that I was wrong. Really wrong.

Granted, there are extremists in every group, and I’m not saying I support the opinions and behaviors of all feminists.


I have gradually come to find myself listening to, understanding, and often agreeing with many of the people I once called “feminist” with a bit of disdain on my lips.

And… gasp… I now often count myself among them.

Let me pause for a moment and talk about tradition.

I love tradition. Tradition is Christmas presents and Easter egg hunts and family reunions and watching people smile awkwardly and stare at their cake while everyone sings “Happy Birthday” to them.


But what else is tradition?

From a woman’s perspective – it has meant a lot of submission, surrender, and producing heirs.

Thank goodness this country has changed so much in the past century. Women have gone from being purely homemakers with little voice to holding government office and becoming CEOs of top corporations. That is incredible, America. Good job.

But if we dig a little deeper, it’s sad to see the inequalities that still exist.

I used to justify those inequalities. I would say things like: “Men are physically capable of more. We trust them to do what we can’t,” and “We’re still equals, we just have different roles in life,” and “Men are more rational. If we had a Presidential Cabinet full of women, our country would be an emotional wreck.” Yeah, I said that.

I was raised in a very conservative, traditional home in a very conservative, traditional community, as a part of a very conservative, traditional religion. Maybe you can see where those things I used to say might have come from.

But I guess the big question here is this: Is tradition right?

It is true that in general, men are physically stronger. It is true that in general men and women often lean toward specific roles based on biological makeup. It is true that in general, they often think rationally and have fewer “emotional” moments (as long as we’re talking about sadness and not anger, that is).

But why does that mean that women should take the backseat?

Women are biologically capable of bearing children, but does that mean they have to? Women are generally more sensitive to the feelings of others, but does that mean they are incapable of making rational decisions? Women have become very good at doing laundry and making sandwiches and bringing cold beverages to men who sit in front of televisions watching sports, but does that mean they should spend their lives doing nothing else?

Proudly raising the next generation of girls who stand up for themselves.

Yes, I was certainly wrong about feminists.

And this cookie season, I proudly bought Samoas and Tagalongs from the Girl Scouts in order to celebrate the liberation from my confusion.

1 comment:

  1. can i just say amen to every post?!