Deep in the urban jungle, among the buildings and sidewalks, there lives an endangered species. A female being that comes in many colors, shapes and styles. Unfortunately, PETA is too busy with the fur industry to try and save this poor dying breed. She is close to becoming extinct without you, dear reader, ever seeing one in real life. She is the feminist.
One reason why you probably didn’t spot one is that in order to know a woman is a feminist, you have to talk to her. Not all feminist look like school librarians, unless of course they are a librarian. There is no dress code. A dress code in fact defies what being a feminist is all about. So there’s your first mistake.
Another is that feminism is slowing losing its meaning. Too many woman are claiming to be feminists to seem strong or intellectual. They then go back on the things they claim to believe. It gives people the wrong impression. Gives men an excuse to mock us, to degrade feminism. So maybe you did meet a feminist, but looked at her more like a hypocrite then a person.
Naturally, young woman do not want people to think of them as feminists. Beach blonde barbie is in, Lara Croft is out. After all, what girl wants the cute guy to think she is a lesbian or a man hater? She doesn’t realize that by making herself seem dumb, she has opened the door for people to abuse her, hurt her. No one told her, no one taught her.
On that note, I have decided to clear up some misconceptions about feminists. As I already said, we don’t all dress the same. I guess you figured I am one of “those”, so let me continue. I enjoy putting on make-up and dressing well. I have more shoes than any human truly needs and love them all. I even get really pretty just for my husband. We have a kid you know, the stork didn’t bring him.
As far as chivalry goes, this one most people don’t seem to understand. I am very happy when my husband opens the door for me, or takes my coat. It’s very sweet and romantic. Being a woman, of course I love romance, of course. How did people get to the conclusion that by being nice to a woman, you are taking away her basic human rights? Because that’s what feminism is about, basic human rights.
Don’t know which ones? Being paid equally for example. Better yet, getting the promotion you deserve. I remember my boss once telling me that I wasn’t promoted to manager of the cafe because “people may think there’s something going on between us”. Really? I worked hard, more than most, but I am a woman and pretty so obviously I don’t deserve a raise. Fighting that is feminism, not fighting roses and chocolate.
Heard of Aretha Franklin? Great singer, wrote a song called “respect” listen to it, but with lyrics. Because that is what it’s all about. It’s coming home from work and being respected for it. I don’t mean give your significant other a trophy, I mean don’t tell her how your work is hard and she works because she’s bored. It’s about not listening to people explain to you how raising kids is the woman’s job (and it’s amazingly hard work). If you want my respect, give me yours. Can’t do that because I am ONLY a woman? Then step away, you are not the company I keep.
Want to help keep the strong woman, the feminist alive? Teach your daughters to respect themselves AND their bodies. Tell them life is hard and unfair and they can say “no”. Listen to your wife, or girlfriend, or coworker and don’t laugh away her opinion. Argue with her like you would with any man if you disagree, but don’t patronize her. Go home, make your mum dinner, and tell her “thank you” for teaching you to use the fork and knife. The biggest irony on the planet is that women give life, and half the time the little, beautiful creature born will dismiss her. Don’t do that. We are not pets or playthings, we are women, hear us roar.