Feminism and me…not what you might think

fem·i·nismfeminism
ˈfeməˌnizəm/
noun
noun: feminism
  1. the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

So why would I start with a definition? Seems mundane, boring, simplistic doesn’t it?

Well, without the definition staring you in the face, I can’t really explain my position on this volatile topic.

I think the important word in this definition is the word EQUALITY. To be equal is the whole entire basis of feminism and I am on board with this 100%.  So does that make me a feminist by definition?  I guess it does.  However, this definition is not even remotely being applied to the current wave of feminists today.  Hang on; I need to get comfy before I jump into this topic….

 

Okay, so… where were we? Oh yes. Feminism then verses feminism now. Is there a difference?  Oh heck yes there is!  That first wave of feminists in the pre 20th century and early 20th century were some amazingly brave women. These were women who fought for the right to vote, and for fair and equal treatment and opportunities.  They challenged traditional gender roles in society and gave women the multitude of choices they enjoy today.  So, I suppose that you are thinking “yes, yes that was all good stuff, I agree too. This Kelly she must be quite the feminist. Girl power!”  Well, let’s talk about that.

I actually consider myself an anti-feminist. “WHAT!!??” Let me explain.  Feminism as a concept and by definition I am on board with.  However the current wave, the current movement, the feminists of today are not my feminists.  I cannot get on board with the propensity they seem to feel to shame men, to shame women who choose to follow a lifestyle that they do not deem fit for a modern women, and to demand special or privileged treatment.  I cannot get on board with that. In fact it makes me angry.

The early feminists fought so women could be EQUAL and have CHOICES. If a woman wants to be the CEO of a tech company, a stay at home mom, the president of the USA, a nun, have no kids or ten kids, be a long shore man, a firefighter, a princess, a poet, or an exotic dancer, the point is that it is her choice and as a feminist you should fully respect that choice. If she chose that lifestyle or job from her own free will and she is happy then, as a feminist your sole response to that choice should be – You GO girl! Girl Power!

Unfortunately many (not all!) feminists of today do not feel that way. It seems that the biggest burr in the modern feminist’s saddle blanket seems to be the stay at home mom.  There are numerous articles, blogs and books devoted to the subject.  They seem to think if you stay at home with your children as a homemaker and wife, you don’t get a say. You are setting women back decades if not centuries. That you have forfeited your ‘girl card’ and you are invalid. They tell women who choose to be a housewife and raise their children that they are taking the path of least resistance (anyone can “get knocked up, it is not an accomplishment” after all).

I don’t understand why the only choices that are valid are the ones that they deem valid. Is that not what the first wave feminist fought against? Modern feminists have become the biggest oppressors to women today.  They scream and moan about glass ceilings and unfair pay scales but what about the woman who chooses to be a stay at home mom while her children are young? Who screams and moans for her? Why is there a Child Care tax credit of up to $6,000 for two children that is available only to families who pay someone outside the family to care for their children while the parents work? Care by the child’s mother – even if the father were to pay her – doesn’t count. Every pre-school child needs 24 hour care, but a family can only claim the credit if the mother has earned income. So this family who made the best choice for them and who has decided to live on less money to focus on child rearing does not get any help with this tax credit? Equality, anyone?   That woman made a choice but must pay a price for that choice. The smarter and better educated the woman, the more income she could make, the more she sacrifices to stay home. Many women are told that to be a SAHM is degrading, oppressive, demeaning to a woman’s full potential.  Why? Why would you say that about any freely made  life choice a person makes?  Why is a career path the only path?  Why can’t we celebrate our fellow women and all of the choices that they freely make? What about the feminist who says “If you can’t pay your own rent you are not an adult.” Or how about “if you are educated and able bodied you should not betray women everywhere, you should hold your own in the world.”?  Okay, hold up there.  In this argument we have to remember this little tidbit. Most women who choose to stay home made that choice because she (and presumably her husband) thought this contribution was what their particular family needed. Her contribution to the family may not be financial but that does not make it any less important. Not all worth is in cold hard cash.

These are the same feminists who also feel that there should be special tests for certain jobs because they are unfair to women.  Nope. Sorry sister, if my Husband, Son, Dad, or Brother is a soldier or a fireman (or the like) and is hurt, you better be able to pick him up and get him out if you are his partner.  If you are not strong enough then you do not get this job. If a man was not strong enough he would not get the job either. THAT, my friend, is called EQUALITY.  If she can pass the same physical and mental and educational tests as any man vying for a job, she should have the same opportunities and the same pay as a man. Period.  End of story.

 

 

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