During this janterm, I have had a lot of free time on my hands. I spent the first week binge-watching the Newsroom and the West Wing (Aaron Sorkin is a genius.) During week two, I picked up some extra shifts at the off campus DSHS job that I talked about in last week’s post. That means less tv and more reading, which is a wonderful trade off.
If you know me, you know that I love to read. When I was younger instead of grounding me, my mom would make me put all of my books in a box and she would take them away. Although, I always managed to smuggle a few back and read them under the covers with a flashlight.
This week I started reading former president Jimmy Carter’s book: A Call to Action. I am really enjoying it. He has a way of stating very complicated things simply, but so that they do not lose their effect. Some things he said inspired this post and gave me a way to explain how I identify as a feminist. This quote in particular:
“We have seen visionary standards adopted by the global community that espouse peace and human rights, and the globalization of information ensures that the violation of these principles of nonviolence by a powerful and admired democracy tends to resonate throughout the world community. We should have advanced much further in the realization of women’s rights, given these international commitments to peace and the rule of law.”
Translation: we’re not done.
Feminism has a bad rap, one that I recognize, but do not condone. It is definitely seen as a dirty word, my parents were definitely less than stoked when I decided I was a feminist. They most likely thought I was crazy (they might still think that). My explanation for it is something that I’ve thought about for a while and I think that Carter gets it right in explaining that we have come really far, but it doesn’t mean that we’re done. There is still more work to do.
When I have kids, boys or girls, I want the world for them, as all parents do—definitely as my parents want for me. I want their future to be limitless, I don’t want any part of them to be denied, maligned or held back for any reason. Unfortunately, wishing doesn’t make it so. More often than not both race and gender play a role in where you end up in life, or at least what opportunities you are afforded. That is why I am a feminist.
I’m not a feminist to malign men or to say that women should be above men, or anything like that.
I’m a feminist because 1 in 4 women will be assaulted in their lifetime and we still ask what she was wearing, like it should matter.
I’m a feminist because women are paid less for the same amount of work.
I’m a feminist because when you ask little boys and little girls what they want to be when they grow up, the same amount say “president,” but when they’re older the number of girls that say it tumbles dramatically. And because I want my little girls and little boys to believe they can do or be anything they want, because that’s what my parents taught me.
Yes we have come a long way. I can vote, I can work, I can stay at home, but I also have tons options because I am privileged to live in a country where I can. Millions of women around the world are far more limited, that’s why I’m a feminist.
I was (and am) blessed to have a super cool mom who worked and stayed home while I was growing up and to have a dad that taught me that I deserve respect by giving it to me and showing it to my mom and other women in my life. They both taught me that my dreams are powerful and I can do anything. I am a feminist because of them and because, both globally and domestically, we are not done.