I’ve been thinking a lot more about what it means to me to be a feminist now that I am in my 40s. And I never considered myself what I considered to be a feminist: a not-very-girly-girl, a jock, a bully in the boardroom. When I listened to Caitlin Moran in an NPR interview about her book “How to be a Woman” she described younger women who identified with feminism like I once did. She posed the question: if you are not a feminist, then does that mean you would you like to not be able to have the choice to work? To vote?
I hear the lament of women who marched for women’s rights or remember what it was like to not have the choices and respect we have now. They are worried that the younger generations just don’t remember and will lose what they fought so hard for.
In high school in the late 80s, my friend taught me to attract men by acting stupid (I had a perm and braces and needed some lessons I suppose). I didn’t take this lesson far.
I find myself seething a bit when men at parties seem dismissive when I want to get into the business conversations with them. I care a lot more about feminism now, especially now that I have a daughter.
In a school meeting with our superintendent, I heard women preface good questions with “this may be a stupid question, but…” Would a guy ever do that? No. He’d ask it in a confident way even if was the stupidest question on Earth.
When I ask teenage girl babysitters how much they charge per hour, they are clearly uncomfortable, while the boys who started a leaf raking business are much bolder.
My 12 year old niece is my mother’s helper on Tuesdays. I am going to teach her how to negotiate a fair rate when she’s ready to babysit on her own. I put on Dora TV instead of Diego for my 2 year old son, because Dora is strong and Dora is way cooler than Diego. When I watched the Brady Bunch with my 7 year old son, I laugh that the Brady women act helpless when trying to build a playhouse: isn’t that crazy?! I show my 9 year old daughter that you can be fashionable, pretty and fun and have a career.
I believe in working and staying home with your kids and everything in between. I believe in not giving up what is feminine but being strong. I believe in all women. And I want us to move forward, not backward.