It’s not what you think
I’m a feminist, and likely you are, too. Not me, you say. I’m not a man-hating, bra-burning feminist. But alas, you’re probably much closer to being a feminist than you think.
Feminism has turned into a dirty word, has often been associated with certain political viewpoints, and has even stirred quite a debate in Hollywood about what does and doesn’t qualify as feminism. Contrary to some editorial commentary, feminists are not packs of mean spirited, man-haters who are opposed to anything resembling traditional values.
It’s actually quite the opposite. Modern feminists celebrate the differences in women, embracing the many paths a woman may choose to live, parent, or employ.
The simple definition
To truly understand, one has to remember that women’s rights are a fairly new concept in the United States, and still something women are struggling to achieve worldwide. American women were not looked at as valuable, contributing members of the community until 1920, when they were granted the right to vote with the passing of the 19th Amendment.
Around the world, women are still seeking suffrage, with Saudi Arabia granting voting rights to women for the first time this December.
Clearly, the world needs more advocates for women – so why is being a feminist have such a negative connotation in some circles? It comes down to a dissemination of an incorrect meaning of what feminism is. The true definition of being a feminist is that you think women should have equal rights and opportunities as men. That’s it.
The right to decide what is best for yourself
Many of issues with feminism are far from being resolved politically but what is under discussed is the matter of choice in feminism, particularly outside of the home and in the workplace. Surely, the message of feminism is to work hard, get out of the house, break that glass ceiling. And yes, that’s true… if, and only if, that’s what is what is a woman’s desire.
If a woman doesn’t want to become a CEO and would rather be at home with her children, Godspeed! If a woman would like to work long hours and it’s better for her husband to be at home? Great! If the best scenario for a family is to choose a childcare setting? Bravo.
Modern feminism does not advocate for one size meets all choices in personal or professional life. Feminism lies in the option for a woman to choose what scenario is best for her and her family. And yes, it’s ok for a woman to consult her husband on his opinion, too, and make the decision as a family. Feminism is about choice, and the power to choose.
One does not negate the other
The point of feminism is not to polarize but instead to equalize. To bring women into a role that is equal to her male counterparts in the workplace and in the home. Women are intelligent, opinionated, strong, capable individuals, just like men. Empowering one does not negate the strength of the other.
So, embrace feminism. Embrace the equality of women, and the right to choose what lifestyle is right for each family. A woman who passes up an opportunity to better her career instead to spend more time at home with her children, because that’s what she wants, should receive as much respect at the woman who chooses to work towards that promotion.
And trust me when I say, most modern feminists would agree with that sentiment.