Tuesday, June 21, 2011

feminism, rambler-style

I confess...I'm not thrilled about the spark that led me to this topic, but I think it's worthwhile anyway.  Among the continued bout of name-calling I wrote about here, a comment was made questioning whether I am a worthy feminist because MM came to my defense during the initial battle round.  I hadn't said much publicly myself because I didn't feel the forum was appropriate.  I contacted one woman privately to apologize for inadvertent hurt but didn't care to engage in the mud-slinging given the tone.  MM saw I was upset and jumped into the fray, although he later deleted a comment written in anger.  This defense was construed as him "protecting his woman" in a way that made him evil and me a poor excuse for a feminist.

So, that's what got my mind toying with the concept of feminism.  I do consider myself a feminist.  In my mind, that isn't about suggesting women are an under-class or that, conversely, they are superior to men and worthy of special status.  For me, it is just about advocating for equality and for options.  I think being a stay-at-home mom is just as much a feminist move as being a CEO, as long as it is a true choice.  I believe the battle fought by prior generations of women was about opening options and I do get upset when women in-fight about the validity of various choices.  I think we're often are own worst enemies these days whether in office politics, the assorted mommy wars, or the importance of appearances

I also don't think being a feminist means I can't appreciate old-fashioned "gentlemanly" behaviors.  I think it is sweet that MM opens doors for me.  He does it to be nice.  He doesn't think I'm incapable of opening them myself and he'll "let" me get the door if I'm there first or his hands or full.  I remember standing in a doorway once with a guy who wouldn't walk through while I held it (I'd gotten there first)....THAT rankled my feminist side, just plain courtesy does not.  He CAN handle the heavier grocery bags more easily than I can, that's just a fact.  He knows I could manage them myself but he's happy to lend a hand.  And he's happy to get a hand in return.

Likewise, I don't think having him come to my defense is anti-feminist.  In truth, I'd expect him to defend me.  And I would absolutely defend him.  I do think we'd go about it in different ways based on our personalities (which also reflected in my lack of immediate public reply in the prior events), but a relationship is about having each others backs.  I'd defend a female friend too.  It isn't a gender issue.  It's simple respect and support.

I am a feminist.  I don't feel the need to distance myself from that term, like some people do, because I don't think it needs to be an angry term.  If you want to burn your bra, go ahead.  I'd rather not (umm...I get cold easily...so, yeah).  I very rarely blame slights on my gender, though I also don't deny that bias sometimes still linger.  I am woman, hear me roar.  Or hear me ramble, cause that's more my style and feminism gives me that choice.

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