On calling myself a feminist

July 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

When I was a kid, I found myself disenchanted with feminism. It was the early 80s and there was a very visible and powerful subset of feminists who made it seem that to be a feminist, you had to wear pants and be career oriented. Who made you feel guilty if what you really wanted in life was to be a mom, that you were betraying yourself if you liked wearing dresses or looking femininely pretty.
By adolescence I was railing against it, that feminism should be about a woman’s right to *choose* her path, not trading one set of pressures for another. And this was also the time the public face of feminism was starting to go that direction, too.
Today, most of the feminism I see is humanism, and that makes me happy.  
For me, feminism is your right to be a high powered exec, or a ballet dancer, or a stay at home mom, or a banker, or a barista, etc. etc.
I feel it should also be a *man’s* right to be a stay at home dad, or wear a dress, etc.; for me women having the right to do “men’s” things should also extend to men having the right to to do “women’s” things. One of the most masculine men I know recently quit his job to work from home and be a stay at home dad. He makes me proud to be a feminist when he asks me to help him find resources for raising his daughter to be a smart, independent girl like my daughter. For me, being supportive of him is a feminist act.
I’m a feminist who enjoys showing off my secondary sexual characteristics for a night out, preferably on the arm of my boyfriend in one of his dresses and the heels I helped him pick out, or perhaps my girlfriend in a pair of jeans and her biker jacket.
Feminism should be freeing, not limiting.

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