Friday, January 6, 2017

Are you a feminist?

When I was maybe 10ish, I found a necklace in my mother's jewelry box with the letters ERA. I asked her what it meant, and she explained that it stood for the Equal Rights Amendment, which was a proposed amendment to guarantee women equal rights. In some kind of fit of childish madness/ignorance, I told her that I was not a feminist.

Can you imagine? I just simply did not know what it meant to be a feminist, and my mother and sister immediately set me straight, asking "do you believe women are equal to me?" Yes, of course I did. "Then you're a feminist." It's a simple as that.

It baffles me when people don't consider themselves feminists - women especially, but men too; though it doesn't baffle me about men, it infuriates and disgust me.

I enjoy reading feminist literature and blogs, but generally my support for feminism is just a deep-seeded belief: part of my life and thoughts and decisions, and not something that I go around shouting from the rooftops unprompted. But in today's political climate, with the incoming President, I've changed my stance. I do want to shout it from the rooftops, because I believe that women's rights and security are in danger from the government: from the very people we expect to protect us, and that these decisions are being made by men in their own interests. Or, frankly quite worse, in their own religious beliefs that I do not share and do not believe in.

I assume that I have lost no readers in saying this (mom, I assume you are still there)?

So, ugh, here we are in 2017 with what feels like a nightmare scenario from a Margaret Atwood dystopia. Last night as I was doing the dishes I thought to myself 'how did I get thrown into this terrible alternate universe?' 

After the election, I told myself to do something. Don't sit idly by and watch progress be stripped away. 

The first thing that I wanted was to show my belief in feminism clearly, and I bought the shirt above (modeled by Izzy - a feminist for sure) from Plum & Co on Etsy.

Secondly, I wanted to participate, and swiftly recruited my sister-in-law to join me at Women's March in Washington on January 21 to show the incoming administration the power in numbers when it comes to protecting women's rights. I am, admittedly, a little nervous about it. The hateful rhetoric that is becoming increasingly normalized worries me, the outright anger and misogyny, from sources you would never expect, terrifies me. But I'm putting those anxieties aside and trust that this will be a peaceful march.

Thirdly, I'm enriching myself and feeding my beliefs with some books that I hope will help me shape, and perhaps better articulate how I'm feeling. My currently reading list:

1.  We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman By Lindy West 
and my current read:
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
Have you read any of these, or are they on your list? I'd be interested to know your thoughts! Internet book club!
I'm embarrassed now when I think back to my comment from 27ish years ago - how could I ever have thought that? But, we all need to learn somewhere and sometime, so let's just hope that we can educate more voters, politicians and lawmakers before we go lose more of the progress women have made in the last 100 years...


  1. I've read 1 and the Roxanne Gay - loved them both. I'm reading Shrill right now!!

  2. Yup, I'm still here ... or there. Whatever. love, Mom


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