Yes, I know, that may confuse some people. A great many people think feminists are crazy radical women who don’t shave their armpits or legs, and carry on about how men are awful human beings who don’t deserve to be alive, and should just be servants to womankind forever. Or something like that…..
First of all, as the mother to two teenaged boys who will someday be men, and a stepmother to a wonderful young adult who is already a man, that is the farthest thing from my mind. If I hated men, wouldn’t I see my sons (i.e. future men) in that light?
However, to be perfectly honest, if I was brave enough to deal with the negative social feedback and nasty stares from people at the gym, I would NEVER shave my legs in the winter. I just think that extra hair would keep me warmer….. however, I shave because I am not that brave……yet. Maybe after I turn 50 in October I won’t give a shit about the social stigma. There is always hope……
But back to the task at hand…..discussing feminism.
I am a double major Bachelor’s student at Old Dominion University. I was a Psychology Major and then just for fun, I took an elective called Intro to Women’s Studies. My professor for the class was a woman named Robin Ormiston. Robin is an amazing Professor, and opened my eyes to so many things that I knew, but never really gave deep thought and attention to before. Well, I started to give LOTS of things deep thought and attention once I started learning more and more!
So I decided to take on Women’s Studies as a second major because I think I can do something with a degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies to make an impact on the planet in which I live. Something to benefit the lives of women and hopefully make a difference. To be honest I really want to work with women of color in some capacity, because I believe white privilege exists (a post for another day), and I have a deep desire to do something to end that and to bring all women to equal status in our society, and abroad.
So what I have learned about myself is that I am a feminist. I have always been a feminist, I just wasn’t sure how to articulate that in a meaningful way. Now I can put knowledge and my education to use to stand up for what I have always believed, but didn’t know how to bring it into my way of life, or speak about it in a meaningful way. Now I have the knowledge from classes as well as my own research to do that.
Interestingly there are many, many people who don’t share my vision, or agree with my ideas. Last year on Facebook, someone accused me of being like the guy at the bar in Good Will Hunting. At first I was like, that is great, he thinks I am like Matt Damon, someone who thinks for myself, and can show that I am intelligent. Then I realized he meant I was the ponytail guy who just reads stuff and “regurgitates” it without really knowing what I am talking about. That actually hurt my feelings. Because I DO know what I am talking about. I am not so simple minded that I can’t read, and research, and formulate my own opinions about things like white privilege, and the wage gap, and the horrible way the media works against women and girls, and the genocide of Native Americans and forced sterilization of poor (mostly black) women. I am almost 50 (as I am prone to say pretty frequently). I have spent 20 years in the military. I have been a single mom, and I actually owned a house in an African American neighborhood in Chesapeake Virginia for 18 months. My two boys were the only white kids in each of their classes, and to be honest I thought it was a good experience for them to be the “minority” for a change. In fact, I only moved from there because Karol moved back to Virginia from Pennsylvania and we needed more space than my small three bedroom house, for our newly blended family of 6.
Then in class yesterday another student articulated what I feel about feminism in a two word response. She said she believes feminism is “Common Sense”. It was as if the sky opened and light shone down from the heavens. COMMON SENSE! YES!!!
So I want to list some of the “Common Sense” ideals feminists (including myself) strive for:
Equal pay for equal work….of course
Clean water no matter where you live or your economic status…….yup
No more gendered violence…..yupper
Treating humans with respect and dignity no matter their race, gender, orientations, ethnicity, economic status, etc etc etc….absolutely
The right to live as we choose……yes
Women have the right to be in charge of their own bodies: size, shape, contraception (or not), decision to have children (or not), and most importantly have agency over what happens to their bodies……..without a doubt
Unearned privilege is a system that oppresses and subjugates and marginalizes and should be removed from society………correct
That is just a few, but truly this blog is long enough, and I can write whatever I want here, so this topic can definitely be revisited whenever I want…..MWUAHAHAHA I have the POWER!!!!!!!
Thank you Robin!!!!