Friday, March 18, 2011

This is what a feminist looks like!

The Fashionable Academics had a lovely idea to have their readers send in photos of "What a feminist looks like."
I missed out on their deadline, but I am so inspired by their project as well as other feminist bloggers.

Recently, I have met several young women who claim not to be feminists. Feminism is seen as radical, extreme, man-hating, and out of date. Now, I can understand rejecting that image of feminism, but I don't understand rejecting the precepts of feminism entirely.

Some of these women stated that they are not equal to men.

Not as smart.
Not as strong.
Not as intelligent.
Not as capable.

"If I work really really hard, I can do as well as a man, but they are generally smarter than women."

These are educated women with bright futures in their chosen professions. Women that generally respect themselves and hold strong opinions. They argue with men, they discuss things with men, and somehow they have come to believe that they are, by their own nature, lesser.

It is times like this that bring to mind what my mother told me about feminism when I was an angsty, grumpy, self-righteous teenager with a blossoming interest in feminism and religious and social equality.

"I am not the same as a man. But I should get equal treatment."

At the time, I rejected femininity as part of my Feminism.
Religiously, I wanted the same as men. I rejected the aspects of my religion that treasure femininity and women's commandments. Why should I do this "lesser" commandments when there are all of these active, public male commandments. Now, I am always skeptical of my motivations in choosing to take part in a traditionally male-dominated religious observance because the intention is one of one up man-ship rather than religious devotion.

Socially, I strove to be tough as a boy. I saw liking loud, angry, "masculine" music as the feminist choice rather than the "girly" choice of melodic, emotional, introspective music. Now I listen to a little bit of everything and in accordance with my mood or my emotional need.
Essentially, I saw "traditionally female" characteristics as oppressive or undesirable and rejected them.

I strive for balance. I try to appreciate toughness and tenderness, public and private, sassy and sweet. I think that my Feminism is embracing and incorporating all that I am.

This is what a feminist looks like:


Apollo said...

You are marvelous; you truly get feminism and how to reconcile your differing beliefs.

By the way, if I was a gay friend of yours, I would say that those pictures of you are FIERCE, especially the bottom one. Alas, I am not gay, so I won't say that.


Tamar said...

I like my feminist girl.