Monday, August 20, 2012

The F Word

            So this week finds me back in the lovely mountains of North Carolina and you will not believe how excited I am about that! It is fitting that as I am now back in the land of free thinking and give me your opinion but be prepared for a rebuttal that I finally get to post a blog about feminism. More specifically, what I think about it and how important it is today.
            There is a page that I follow on Facebook called Unpacking the “F” Word, and they’re not talking about the one that rhymes with muck. Feminism, a loaded word that some people avoid like the plague. There’s a lot of stigma attached to it. Man hating lesbian is usually one of them. Or prudes. Ice Queen. My personal favorite is fem-nazi, a term I first heard from the best high school history teacher ever. Feminism did evolve from socialist ideas, and it seems a lot of people use that as a proving point that feminism must be evil. Whether or not Uncle Karl (what my sociology professor referred to him as a couple of times) was the devil incarnate is not the point. The point is that we live in a society that was and still is in some ways highly patriarchal. You can make the argument that no one complained when society was matriarchal, but in modern times, it comes down to this in my opinion. Women cannot be denied opportunities on the basis of what men think we can and can’t do. If the roles were reversed, the same would still apply.
            I don’t think the sexes are equal, not in the way some do. Generally speaking, and there are exceptions to this rule, men are stronger than women. Generally speaking, we think differently and look at the same problem in different ways. That is our blessing and our curse from our maker. Our differences are what make us work together so well and clash so sharply. However, that does not mean that women should not be afforded the same rights, the same opportunities as men. I should have the chance to make just as much as my husband, to vote and express my opinion, and to move about in the world with the same sense of safety and assurance as a man. In my mind, that is what feminism is all about. In short.
            Feminism mattered then and it matters now. Last week I sent in my voter registration so I can vote in the upcoming election. The sacrifices that were made for me to have that right will not be in vain. I have the choice to stay at home and be a mommy and take care of the house, or I can go after a career and something more. Men have that choice too and that is an amazing thing, even though in most cases today both partners have to work to get by. I have the right to be sexually active and still have a baby only if and when I want one. I have the right to be as girly as I want or just wear jeans and a t-shirt if I feel like it. I have a right to my children as their mother, the right to own property not connected to my husband, to make my own choices independent of my husband. Basically, I have the right to be, and not be put down by a man, or anyone else for that matter.
            I think even Bear has been guilty of this, but as I mentioned earlier, feminist is a loaded word that a lot of people associate with not so nice things, and they shouldn’t. When I say I am a feminist it means that I own myself, I am no one else’s property. I have a right to be in this world and make my choices and be my own person, without any input or direction from a man. That doesn’t mean I don’t value the men in my life or their advice, it just means that I can take it into consideration, but I don’t have to follow it word for word. When Bear becomes my husband, he will not own me. He will not tell me what to do unless I give consent. It’s going to be on my consent, that is what is important.
            If I had written this back when I was in women’s studies, this would have turned into a two or three parter blog. As it is, there might be a sequel, but I’m going to stop for the week. Classes start tomorrow and there’s always lots to do! Welcome back to college and your higher education which, by the way, fem-nazis made possible. I no longer have to be smart just “until I get married.” My education is for me, not for finding a husband. Thank you feminists of yester-year. You’re awesome and you made more possible for me and my sisters than I ever realized.

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