And I never thought I’d say those words.
I’m a lot of things. I’m a daughter and sister and lover and friend, I’m a singer and fighter and supporter and giver. I’m a drinker of chai teas and caramel coffees and an ice cream connoisseur. I’m a piano player and a Christian and a branding enthusiast and I’m a collector of more nail polishes and shoes than I care to spill.
And now, I can say I’m a feminist.
Coming from me, someone who has no problem planning a future and career around when I can be a stay at home mom – this is a big deal.
It started like this:
For the longest time, I associated feminism as man hating (as I’m sure much of the population still does, mistakenly). While I’m sure there are some haters out there – since, as T. Swizzle says so deftly, they’re just gonna hate hate hate hate hate anyways – not all feminists are man haters in any sense.
So first things first: Feminism is the support of equality for men and women. Simple as that. It is not the want for women to reign supreme over the male species or for there to be this not-so-secret girl power movement where in the end, the boys are all sent to Jupiter as our second grade selves intended. I like to think of it in rather simplistic terms, because there’s so much complication and convolution in today’s day and age. We can’t assume that all feminists are man-hating or crazy, the same way we can’t assume that all men are masochists or all pizza joints are created equal (read: my boyfriend’s mom’s is the best, no questions asked).
I’ll break it down:
I think I’m a feminist, because I believe that I should be able to earn just as much cash as my male counterparts. “Counterparts” is the key word here. If a dude in the office has more skills than me, is more educated than me, is just better for the job at hand for some reason or another, than he deserves to get paid more and it’s no issue of feminism. I’m talkin’ if we’re on even playing field – as even as possible, since we obviously aren’t carbon copies of anyone – we deserve equal pay. If a woman is just as qualified and does the job just as well, compensation should reflect this equality.
I think I’m a feminist, because I think that any woman should be allowed to get dolled up for a night out on the town without fearing she’ll be approached or made to feel uncomfortable because of her choice in makeup or her outfit. This thought dawned on me recently. In the light of the NYC Catcalling social experiment, everyone’s been sharing their thoughts on whether or not it’s ok to just yell out at women whatever the heck you want to yell out to them whenever you feel like it. I’ve been catcalled before. I’m sure most of us chicas have. And we know the difference between a kind, genuine compliment from an innocent-intentioned individual and one from a skeezeball who’s eyeing us up like tonight’s steak. This past week, upon putting particular attention to my hair and makeup for a night out with my boo, a man tried to stop me on the street (on my campus, I might add) with, “You’re so beautiful, you MUST talk to me.” I blazed through with my b***h face on, but man oh man this picture isn’t right. There’s nothing I MUST do, besides say thank you to God and text my mom – maybe eat, breathe, sleep. And why should any of us have to put on a face to go somewhere, with full expectation that someone – Lord only knows who – might try to invade your space or blatantly ignore personal boundaries.
I think I’m a feminist, because I should be able to walk into a boardroom and earn respect from the size of my intellect – not my cup size. I don’t know how much this will ever change for businesspeople, unfortunately. We all have physical traits that deem us “attractive” or “unattractive” in the societal eye, and for as messed up as any of it is or isn’t, it’s there for the judging, and there will always be idiots who preface our physicality over what we can actually do as people for them. That’s just a sad fact, but it’s nice to dream of a world where first impressions are malleable and you’re not judged on your genetic makeup (or your Sephora-made face).
I think I’m a feminist, because there’s nothing absolutely wrong with being a stay at home mom or housewife, so long as it’s your choice to be so. I’ve felt a funny pit in my stomach here at Wharton on multiple occasions, because my dream isn’t to go and work an 8 to midnight job on Wall Street in investment banking or venture capital or financial consulting. At the end of the day, when I close my eyes and envision my “dream life” it has remarkably less to do with my career and most to do with who’s in my house and the memories I’ll make with my family and friends. The key thing is to decide for yourself which path you want to go down, not what you think you should go down because of a prepositioned societal status quo.
Basically, I want it all. I hope for a family and as much time with them as possible, and I also still plan to use my education and intelligence in a rewarding, fulfilling career. Whether I pause my career altogether at some point or work on it from home, it’s up to me, and it’s okay. It’s about options, and the options are good. As Feminists (and just as females in general), women should support each other, be it from the boardroom, operating room, or home front – women should have the freedom to make those choices. Women are the ones that have the babies and that’s not going to change. If we want to encourage a productive and stable and healthy society, we need to honor both our abilities and our options.
Anyone who knows me or follows this blog knows I try to see the positive (even if there’s some sass or sarcasm along the way, #sorrynotsorry). So, let’s end on that note. I’m a feminist – I’m female and fun and fabulously flawed and the future is bright with possibility, because I intend to keep working hard and going after what I want. And that’s we all can and should do. It’s not going to be easy. There will be plenty of obstacles. But polish your heels and climb over them. And if and when you can help another sistah out along the way, do it.
Are you a feminist? How do you feel about the whole “movement”?