Reading over statements the last few days on social media and you might think that feminism is a dirty word. Had you ask me last week if I was a feminist I would have flat out told you hell no. I too thought feminism was a dirty word.
I was a stay at home mom for 14 years. No, my then husband didn’t insist that I stay home and raise our babies. It was something that we discussed and decided together and I was the better option to become the primary caregiver to our four children. Becoming the one to stay home not only included child care but I took on the majority of the household chores as well; chores that included everything a mom that works outside the home minus the going to work part. (no worries, I got your back sistas. I have no clue how you guys do all that I did and worked outside the home as well. I tip my hat to you).
In my mind, feminists did not stay home and raise their kids. Feminists marched down main street, burning their bra in one hand with their feminist shield in the other. I thought feminists hated men and considering the fact I had four children and was married; I thought it was pretty obvious I did not in any way, shape, or form hate men. It was and still is, quite the opposite. I loved men and all that they offer. I have since learned that there is a term for those women that hate men and it is not feminist. It is a misandry and they are the misogynists counterpart. Misogynists dislikes women. Misandrists that dislike men.
Due to ignorance on my part, I thought the term misandrist and feminist were one and the same, and while researching for this article, I found I am not alone in this belief. I try to rely on my handy dandy addiction to Google at times like this, but we would be here all day trying to sift through the pages and pages of articles written on this. So for the purpose of this article, I am going to use the dictionary term and my own common sense on what feminism is:
Feminism [fem-uh-niz-uh m]
1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
2. (sometimes initial capital letter) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.
3. Older Use. Feminine character.
The origin of feminism is English, French and Latin.
Based just on the dictionary definition, I am indeed a feminist. So why did I struggle with this for all these years then?
I am somewhat of a traditionalist as well. I liked being home with my kids and being that nurturing parent. I like taking care of the people in my life and doting on them. I like dressing up all girly and being told I am pretty.
All things I thought feminists hated.
I remember the one encounter that I thought had cemented the fact I was not a feminist. It was a discussion I had after stumbling on a tweet one day on Twitter. The tweet told me—as a woman—that as long as I continued to use a tampon when menstruating, I was raping myself. This is from a group that supports free bleeding and calls themselves feminist. Yes, this is a thing and there’s a web page and hashtag if you want. Let me be clear it is backed by radical feminists. When I questioned the validity of the tweets that were being sent out, I got into quite the discussion and this was where I struggled with the term feminist. I strongly disagreed I would be walking down the street, wearing a skirt and free bleeding. This was something I was not ever going to do on purpose. Not. Happening.
Another belief that I hold has me questioning if I would make a good feminist. I don’t believe there should be separate exams for people applying for certain jobs. Yes, I understand that seems rather ridiculous to say and what has any of that have to do with being a feminist? I believe that there should be one standard test for types of job that needs testing. If you want to apply, and there is a physical component to the job tasks, you should have to pass the test at the standard that is required.
This example has been overused, but if I am in a burning building and need assistance to leave the scene, I do not want someone, man or women, that had a different standard to pass in becoming a firefighter. This holds true for a doctor that is operating on me or a teacher that is teaching or any job that has a certain level of expectation. I am holding faith in the fact that you passed all the exams that you were expected to in order to do the best job possible.
That goes for all jobs that have a gender bias to them.
Over the years I have gone back and forth over whether I am a feminist or not. I know I am not a radical. I know I’m not a misandrist. I know I am a nurturer. I know I am feminine. And yet I still struggle with being referred to or referring to myself as a feminist.
It is tough to find an all-inclusive definition for feminism but I think the best description that I like is it is essentially about ensuring men and women are all working together to ensure equality.
And at the end of the day, do I really have to label myself?
Author: Debbi Serafinchon
Debbi writes about what she thinks are life’s big questions and how she has found or is seeking to the find answers. The journey is not an easy one but one she needs with all the ups,downs and sharp turns in order to learn. She is a passionate lover of life that hopes by sharing her story you might come to understand you are not alone in your own journey.