Musin’ with Susan 7/26/22 – I Am a Feminist

“Our entire life – consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.” Jean Anouilh 

I read a book recently in which the author said England isn’t like the United States where we all believe self-actualization is the purpose of life, or something like that. However she said it was enough to make me laugh, at any rate.

As anybody who knows me knows, I am a feminist and have been since I was a little girl, long before the 2nd wave of feminism that gave me a word for how I saw (and still see) the world, a way to define part of my core belief system, and a opportunity to meet and learn from others who described themselves as feminists, too.

What my feminism means is that I believe all human beings are equal and should be treated equally, that we should all have equal rights under the law, of course, and that society’s stereotypes of sex roles need to be challenged, fought against, and abolished. 

I’ve spent my life on this crusade, working for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (and abortion rights) as well as using and teaching non-sexist language and promoting the idea that little girls and little boys can choose whatever toys and clothes and activities they want, that they are all special and perfect little beings who need love and nurturing and acceptance if we want them to grow up to be all they can be and contribute in their myriad individual ways to society.

It’s hard for me to accept that our society STILL wants to define girls and boys by sexist/misogynistic stereotypes this many years later, and it seems to be getting worse. It’s as if all the gains women made in the 70s are being crushed in a reactionary swing I certainly didn’t foresee. I mean, I knew women’s rights weren’t in the Constitution yet and I knew there was a concerted effort to take them away, but I guess I thought we really had made strides that couldn’t be so easily undone.

I’m old, but I’m not dead, so I’m going to continue working toward my foundational belief that society’s sex stereotypes are misogynist and wrong and destructive, and they prevent all of us from reaching our truest potential.

When I lived in Fredericksburg, I was in a community of feminists. We had an active NOW group (National Organization for Women) and representation in local government. I miss that. I didn’t realize I missed it until this moment, when I see my main source of feminist connection is MS. Magazine instead of meetings and activities with like-minded women.

If every single person were a feminist, or even if most of us were, this world would be a much better place for EVERYONE. Think about a world where societies were no longer suppressing women and forcing both women and men to follow certain, expected roles. Can you imagine just being you without societal pressure to fit into a mold that somebody else made and no one really fits into?

Can you imagine a world without sexist/misogynistic stereotypes that limit every single person on the planet in some way? What infinite possibilities for all of us!

That’s the feminist vision, that we all get to live just being ourselves, loved, appreciated, accepted. 

That is my vision, too, and that is why I call myself a feminist.