The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines feminism as “The theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” By this description, I should identify myself as a feminist, but modern-day feminism has taken a different path that I cannot relate to.
Should women have the right to vote? Absolutely. Should women be able to attend college? Of course. Should women be able to choose a career and be compensated based their level of expertise? Yes. All of this and more is available to women across this nation. We are free to be successful, career-driven females or nurturing stay-at-home moms or both. These are basic rights in our society, but not in many other societies around the world. American women take for granted all the privileges that we have inherited from people like Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who began the fight for our voices to be heard.
The “Women’s Right’s Movement” was and is very necessary, but what do you do when you have fought and won? History has done most of the work for us. I am not so naïve to believe misogyny has been completely eradicated or that some men will never refer to you as a “crazy woman driver”, but women have much more of an upper hand than we give ourselves credit for. There are many places and outlets that are specific to women and their needs. More and more men are becoming stay at home fathers, as women decide to pursue full-time careers. A woman screams harassment, abuse or rape and often, the man is guilty until proven innocent, at least in the court of public opinion. A mother is still far more likely to obtain custody of children following a divorce. And let’s not forget our God-given right, that no man will ever be able to do, and that is the ability to grow, nurture and give birth to a life. The bond between mother and child that begins 9 months before it even enters the world gives us a gift no man will ever be able to experience. This quote describes how I feel perfectly…
If anyone remembers the television show, “Designing Women”, you may remember the character of Julia Sugarbaker. She is what my idea of feminism is…an intelligent, strong, quick-witted woman with a sharp tongue. She handled herself like a lady, but also never allowed anyone to control her. Julia Sugarbaker would never have reduced herself to marching around dressed as female genitalia, wearing a pink vagina hat, discussing (in detail) the struggles of having a monthly menstrual cycle in front of a crowd of thousands, if not millions of people. She had way too much class to make such a tacky display of herself. Not to say, she would not speak her mind if she felt compelled to do so. However, she always did it in such a way that she was not demanding respect, but in the end, you couldn’t help but respect how she presented her argument. The kind of feminism that doesn’t mind if a man picks up a check at dinner or opens the door for her. This wasn’t a “microaggression”, just a simple display of gentlemen-like behavior. It didn’t make her less of a woman, nor should it. Feminism does not have to mean that you complain about men or degrade them to make a point about how important women are.
As a mother of two daughters, teaching them to be strong, independent, smart, capable and compassionate women is my goal. I don’t believe in creating a victim where there need not be one. Be responsible for yourself, find someone who appreciates you and remember, it’s okay to be feminine. It’s okay to wear a dress and heels or spend an hour or two on your hair and make-up. It’s okay to be emotional sometimes and cry at a sad movie or laugh at a funny chick-flick. It’s okay if you choose to be a stay-at-home mom and raise your children, if that is what you want to do. It’s okay for you to take care of your future husband, if that makes you happy. And it is definitely okay for you to appreciate a compliment from a man without trying to find an excuse to be offended by it…because sometimes, it is what it is, just a nice gesture.
The Women’s Rights Movement has taken an ugly turn in our society creating more of a divide amongst women and less of a unity of strong females. It is “Mean Girls” at its finest. We are no longer cheering each other on, but taking each other out. It has become you must agree with all the things modern day feminists believe or you are out of the club. You cannot be conservative, you cannot be pro-life, and you must believe that climate change is more important than national security. Based on current liberal-minded women, my conservative Christian values make me less of a woman and my opinion on feminism is no longer valid or accepted by today’s standards…even if I still believe in the empowerment of every woman…not just the ones that agree with my perspective. So, now I happily refer to myself as the Anti-Feminist Feminist.