When I was younger I thought a lot of the things about feminism that the women of #WomenAgainstFeminism feel too. That it’s something we didn’t need any more, that I don’t hate men, that I enjoy the feeling of my legs when they’ve been shaved.
Of course, since then I’ve grown up a lot, learned a lot, met a lot of great women and I know now that, as best put by The Bloggess:
I’m not saying you can’t choose to not be a feminist but know what you’re choosing. Don’t make a decision about a group based on the most radical beliefs of a group. Don’t get defensive if you get deeper and are exposed to difficult ideas about intersectionality and race and gender and colonialism and patriarchy and male liberation. Just listen. Some of it will make sense. Some of it won’t. Some of it will later when you’re a different person. Some of it you’ll change your mind about throughout your life and the world will change too. Some of it is bullshit. Some of it is truth. All of it is worth listening to.
That woman makes so much sense when she’s making sense.
Here at 33 I consider myself a full on feminist. Even though I shave my legs, took my husband’s name and stay at home with my daughter. Hell, I even like baking. And I don’t subscribe to the idea of affirmative action. None of that makes me a bad feminist.
What makes me a good feminist? Well, I’m a woman for starters, and I believe that that doesn’t lessen my standing in society. My belief that women need to engage and inform, that women have a right to be heard, that women are not a cohesive group and shouldn’t be treated as such. That women are equal citizens, period, end of sentence. That right there makes me a feminist.
You cannot argue the fact that when women get support communities prosper. You cannot ignore the fact that the next generations are overwhelmingly being raised by women. That is a huge sphere of influence and a huge opportunity to make a difference.
One of my favourite readings for university (the first time around) was John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women. Mill argued that the nation was being dragged down by men who were married to stupid women. Women who were stupid because they were not allowed education. He argued that women should be granted the same rights as men to benefit the men.
I mean, what a great way to make an argument to other men, right?
Mill, an man from the 19th century showed me something. I believe that the more women engage, participate, the more interesting the conversation will be.
And that’s what makes me a feminist.