I know (to some) these terms might seem contradictory, but I have to admit for me they kind of go hand in hand. Feminism, the poor dear, has gotten a bad wrap over time. She came into the world on fire and strong; admittedly political change does not come easy. Fighting to be heard (especially as a woman) will almost always get you called a bitch. An aside here, I used to have a bumper sticker that said “You say I’m a Bitch like it’s a bad thing” and I loved that. I still do, but now I’m old and boring and have no bumper stickers on my car (it would wreck the finish).
So I’m sitting here ready to celebrate another Hallmark Holiday (I am a mushy shmuck and celebrate them all) and it occurred to me that I have a lot to be thankful for and about. I’m grateful to be alive to see this Mother’s Day. I’m grateful to have this miracle child that drives me banana sandwiches on the regular. Most of all, I’m grateful to all of those women that came before me. Those women who gave me a choice in how I wanted to mother and when I wanted to mother. Women who lost their homes and reputations and jobs. Women who starved themselves in protest so my cushy butt could be sitting in this reclining armchair writing about, well……women.
Women of all shapes and sizes and ages and backgrounds. Women who were born women and women who became women. Women that died fighting. Women that went through hell to make this world a better place to be a woman. We can create life and we can create breath, and yet we are often marginalized, trampled on or devalued.
I know that my angles have sharpened over time, but I also know we have a lot of fighting left to keep the progress we have made, and to make things increasingly equal. You know, things like reproductive rights not being taken away, and salaries being truly equal for equal work. For women to be the heads of more departments, and the heads of more companies. You know, the silly things that we take for granted like the right to vote.
In college, I was a kick-ass-take-names feminist. Do not confuse this with some bullshit connotation of feminism. It does not mean man hating and your choice of a lover has nothing to do with your choice to be a feminist. I still loved men, but I knew what it was like to be preyed upon and what it was like to encounter sexism and to feel like I was living in a man’s world. The college me would cringe to know I live in suburbia and I am a stay-at-home mom. Adult me is incredibly grateful and proud to be this stay at home feminist who has a choice in the matter of what society expects her to do.
For all those women (and men) who have fought side-by-side to make this world a better place, I thank you. For those men that call themselves feminists even though they know it has become a dirty word, I applaud you. I have the right to go to school, I have the right to teach in a school. I had the right to choose when to have a child. I can wear make-up and revealing clothes, or I can cover up completely and never change my appearance at all. It is my choice and that freedom is everything to me.
Thank you for this world that has been slightly easier for me, and will hopefully becomeincreasingly easier for my daughter. To all of the women who came before me, I vow to honor your work and be a “bitch” if need be. Mother’s can be bitches too 🙂