“I don’t see myself as a feminist.”
These words came from my 19-year-old daughter, and I have to say that I was pretty shocked to hear them. Her statement was the antithesis of everything I thought I had taught her as a mother and independent woman myself. Let’s just say that I had a bruise on my chin from my jaw hitting the floor. At that moment, I couldn’t wrap my thoughts around the fact that a woman was against her own gender’s movement (feminism).
Later, as I thought about it longer, I realized that I had had similar feelings regarding feminism at her age for possibly similar reasons. Although I had grown up surrounded by strong, independent female role models, the word ‘feminist’ carried a relatively negative connotation that repelled me from identifying as one. But, I also realized that the more valid knowledge I learned about feminism, the more I began to lean toward it.
Women are the weaker sex?
I’ve never agreed with that statement, yet, much to my frustration, I’ve come up against personalities that fully believed it. Throughout my career, I’ve been belittled or spoken down to because of my gender, and I’ve accumulated a few #metoo experiences along the way as well so I can relate to being made to feel inferior merely because I am a woman. However, I never believed myself to be beneath anyone because I was raised by a woman who embodied strength and showed me that women were not weak.
History is filled with incredible female leaders, and although my mother may never be included in the textbooks, I consider her among them. For years early in my childhood, she raised me on her own, sometimes holding down additional jobs along with her full-time military duties to make ends meet. When I was older, she resumed schooling for her master’s degree, and even though I joked about how annoyed I was that she was bringing home all A’s, I couldn’t deny that I was impressed.
From the age of 17, my mother stepped out to create her own path in the world, and she succeeded without compromising her character. As I grew up, I observed her with the hope that I would emulate the qualities I respected in her, but I never expected how hard it would be for me as a woman to do so. My mother lead by example, showing me that a woman can accomplish anything she puts her mind to, and she unknowingly helped to define what feminism means to me.
What is feminism?
Although the internet wasn’t present in our house until I was a teenager, there was still enough information coming through television and radio to give me conflicting ideas of what feminism meant. In today’s more digital age where news is spread widely through social media, it has become all too easy to be overwhelmed by information and much harder to determine fact from fiction or opinion. The word ‘feminism’ carries with it no less of a negative undertone as when I was young.
According to the 2018 edition of the Random House Dictionary, feminism is defined as, “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” At its core, feminism is a movement toward equality for women; however, I also believe that it is an objective definition with room for interpretation. For example, my idea of feminism may not be exactly the same as another woman’s, but we are still both correct. In a prior blog post, I discuss my feminist role models; Madonna and Princess Diana, and how they both helped shape feminism for me in their own unique ways. Read it here.
Right, and all this matters because…?
In its most basic terms, to say that you are a feminist or advocate for the feminist movement is just a statement that you believe women have more value than they are given credit. That is important because women still have to fight to be heard every single day.
Look, I completely understand that there is a clear biological difference between men and women, and that is just scientific fact. However, I do not feel as though women should be pushed aside based on physical differences. In terms of intelligence, innovation, creativity, and experience, everyone has something to bring to the table.
As we progress further into the 21st century, more opportunities are becoming available to women, and many have taken the less structured path of an entrepreneur with the help of social media marketing. Are you one of them? Let’s start your entrepreneurial journey today and get to know each other. I believe there is so much potential for every woman, and I want to help you fulfill yours!
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