Friday, October 7, 2011

IMBO: Being a Feminist

Though she doesn't like the word feminist because the term is so loaded within her community, she's a staunch egalitarian in a world in which there's an ongoing debate over whether husbands are the masters of their wives.
--Ruth Graham, writing on Rachel Held Evans in Slate

Why can't we like the word "feminist?" Is it because Rush Limbaugh recast feminists as "feminazis?"

In the religious world, Christianity is a huge umbrella religion. It includes Catholics, Protestants, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Evangelicals, and many, many more sub categories. Well, Feminism is a lot like that as well. There are conservative feminists, second-wave feminists, third-wave feminists, grrl power feminists, liberal feminists, Catholic feminists, Jewish feminists, socialist feminists--there are all kinds of feminists. Why must we all shy away from this word?

I'm not shying away from this word. I am a feminist. Feminism, and the notion of pushing for women's equality, and for that matter all kinds of gender equality, informs my daily life. When I vote, I vote for the candidate that will best promote women's rights, whether that's a man or a woman. When I have looked for jobs, I try and consider the one that is most fair to its women workers. When I shop, I look for items that come from companies that have women in leadership positions, or employ women fairly at least. When I have conversations, I tell people about women's issues, I point out that rape jokes aren't funny, and I let people know that I won't let others talk in ways that bring women down.

I'm proud to be a feminist. I know this designation gives people all sorts of pre-conceived notions about me, but that's not important. What's important is that I continue to be a feminist, and to use my daily life to make the world a better place for everyone, a more egalitarian place. Whether that means shrinking the political gender gap in Congress or just succeeding at having one less person tell dumb blonde jokes, I am making a difference. IMBO