Ugh. They’re at it again. Successful, powerful women are squabbling about who’s a feminist and who isn’t. Lady Gaga doesn’t want to be called a feminist because she, “Loves men.” And actress Shailene Woodley recently told Time Magazine she doesn’t consider herself a feminist because, “I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.” The New York Times’ recent article, “Who’s A Feminist Now?” reads like a veritable “she said/she said” of feminist semantics.
Gosh, I must be missing something. Call me a feminist and I’ll say, “Thank you.” To me, feminism isn’t about taking anything away from anyone nor has it ever been. Feminism is actually about striking the balance that Woodley mentions. I don’t know a feminist who doesn’t love men nor do I know a feminist trying to take anything away from anyone. What I do know are women, and men, who believe a woman’s place is anywhere she wants it to be. That’s it. That’s feminism to me.
These days, the subject strikes a particular chord with me because I’m raising a little girl. She’s three-years-old and she’s about as confident as they come. It has nothing to do with how I’ve raised her because it took me many years, a few shrinks, and a lot of “lessons learned” to be as confident as she is at three. She came out that way. Which begs these questions: Was I that confident as a kid? And when and why did I lose it? Because I’m inclined to think that all little girl are born as outgoing and confident as mine is and then someone tells us not to be. And we listen.
When I think about the “lessons learned” that I mentioned, I realize they all could have been avoided if I had just a bit more confidence and believed my place was anywhere I wanted it to be. I would have needed a few less shrinks. I would have been on fewer diets and dated fewer bad boys if I didn’t believe that everyone else’s success had to come before mine. I could have avoided some of those hard times if my world view would have been more balanced.
So when I watch my pink-loving, Frozen–singing little girl walk into the room and stop someone from interrupting her by saying, “Let me talk!” I think, “You go girl.” And I hope when someone tells her that feminists don’t love men or that they want to take something away from men, she won’t listen. And I hope when someone responds by saying “You’re such a feminist” she’ll respond by saying, “Thank you.”