Friday, June 22, 2012

Response to an Alleged Feminist

Earlier today, a dear friend of mine alerted my attention to an article written by a professed feminist, lawyer and, in my humble opinion, seriously misguided woman. You can find the article here http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/06/1-wives-are-helping-kill-feminism-and-make-the-war-on-women-possible/258431/
A word of caution, you may find it offensive. My initial reaction? Way beyond offended. I was angry. Did this woman seriously just insinuate that all I do all day is sit around getting pedicures and doing aerobics? Would she like to spend just ONE DAY in my worn-to-the-sole shoes, which by the way, were a Payless special? I was huffing and puffing and ready to blow her house down before I finished the first paragraph.
Then it occurred to me, that reaction is precisely the opposite of feminism. You see, feminism isn't about being on equal grounds with men. It's not about being able to vote. It's not about having a high-paying job, opening your own car door or remaining single because you find it "empowering". Those things are not feminine at all. Because what is femininity? What defines womanhood?
For starters, I look to my mother. A woman who worked full-time, raised her child, cared for a home and never complained. She was brave and she was selfless. My mother was a feminist.
I look at Rosa Parks. She was willing to stand up for those who were afraid. She proudly stood up for what she believed. She was a feminist.
I look at Florence Nightingale, selflessly devoting herself to the service of others. Mother Theresa, likewise. These women were feminists.
So what defines womanhood?
Bravery. Selflessness. Service. Love. Conviction.
So I ask this question to the author of this article (yes, I realize, she will likely never read this), are you a feminist?
I look at the world's definition of feminism and it makes my heart ache. Because women don't need to be on the same level as men, because as women, we don't care. We are proud of who we are and status is irrelevant. We bravely accept our position, wherever it may be and with whatever obstacles it might entail. We recognize the difference between what the world values and what we ourselves value.
Women don't need high status jobs or high paying jobs, because we recognize that our greatest influence can be felt in intimate settings, not just high-profile ones. We realize that we can change lives and whether it is one life or a thousand, it makes no difference.
Women don't avoid meaningful relationships because to do so is selfish. Women are not selfish. We realize that life is meant for service and love. We understand that life is not about how much we can do for ourselves, but how much we can do for those around us, those within our reach, those we love.
So that is what I think feminism is. It is recognizing what it really means to be a woman, and proudly,bravely and selflessly embracing it.
I don't for one second claim to be a feminist...not yet. But I'm working on it. If anything, I suppose I should thank Ms. Wurtzel for helping me to remember the true beauty of womanhood.

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