Kat wrote yesterday about reflecting as the topic of the week of the Women’s March 10 Actions 100 Days campaign. And the timing couldn’t have been better for me because I’ve been reflecting quite a bit lately on what it means to me to be a feminist.
That quote from Dr. Angelou is timely and accurate for me as I have been a feminist for a long time now. I grew up as the daughter of a strong woman who was a single mom for several years. I attended a woman’s college. I work in a female dominated profession. I am continuously and constantly on the side of women.
But what does that really mean?
To me that means to make choices that are right for me, to respect the choices that other women make that are right for them, and to not judge any woman for that choice, whether I agree with it or not. Dale told me that on the day of the Women’s March he read a comment on Facebook that was made by a woman friend of his who said, basically, “I am not attending the march. I am home today making breakfast for my man because that is my place.” And to that I say, well, good for her. It’s not what I believe in but if that’s what she truly believes and truly chooses then I won’t judge her for it. Dale said that she then went on to say, “and that’s where all women need to be today. Home, taking care of their husbands and families.” That right there is where it goes too far for me. If she’s happy at home then more power to her. But for her to say that all women need to be happy at home is just judgmental and divisive.
This extends to so many choices that women make. Working. Not working. Having children. Not having children. Breastfeeding. Not breastfeeding. Running a household. Managing a career. Getting an education. Dividing household responsibilities. And on and on and on. I truly believe that we need to accept the choices of all women (again, so long as those choices are freely made) whether their choices reflect our own values and beliefs or not. I chose to get an education, to work outside the home and have a career, to get married and have a child, to breastfeed and return to work, to provide for my family and so much more. I expect to be respected for my choices just as I will respect a woman who chooses differently. But so many times I see women disrespect other women’s choices. I see women judge each other and tear each other up and discredit any choice that is different from their own.
I know that feminism goes much further than this and I long for equal pay and equal rights for all women. But I believe we need to stand together as one before the rest of it can truly happen. I believe we need to support other women as the first step of resisting the politicians and policies that work against us. Are you with me? I welcome and encourage your comments and discussion today.