America is far from providing equal opportunities for women. We still earn less than men when doing the same job, play a secondhand role in sports, still use initials in publishing to hide a female name, and much more. However, our feminist predecessors have secured us the right to vote, the ability to even work a job outside of the home, the rights to divorce (thank God for that one), and even the rights to hold office. Although, I’ll believe we have the right to presidency when I see it.
Feminism has come a long way. My early impression of the word yielded images of screaming waifs with shaved heads and baggy jeans, cussing out other women for wearing a bra. While most of these women did much for the movement, the anger did a bit of damage. A good friend of mine was slapped once for opening a door for a woman. If not for the fact that I know that Russell’s intentions were simply to be polite, I would disbelieve this to be the entire story. But it is. He was slapped for being polite. Now he holds doors open for men, but not women.
As a woman who has, like the rest of us, been subjected to oppression, sexism, and those infuriating cat-calls that ended my daily jogs outside, I can appreciate the anger some of the early feminists brought with them. Yet, as a modern day feminist I find the old ways more limiting of my freedom than the rules set by men. How many women have I heard criticize others for wearing pink or purple? How many times have I been ridiculed because I liked to play with baby dolls when I was a kid? Never mind that I climbed trees and sometimes used my Barbies to save my brother’s GI Joes. It seems that my desire to shave my legs has nothing to do with the fact that I like how it feels, but instead it must be due to the fact that I’m oppressed by the almighty man. That’s a joke, by the way. Hairy legs are itchy.
The most unforgivable part, though, is that I actually like to cook and that when it pleases my husband I find that thrilling. My husband, Tim, is a feminist too. In his words, “The world would be a better place if women were the leaders.” We have a happy marriage because we try to please each other without taking away from ourselves. I do the cooking at home, and on Thanksgiving I cooked Edward. Last year, I cooked John, and before that it was Frankie and Bob. Perhaps I do have some suppressed anger, since I’m always cooking boy turkeys.
This is where I bring us to modern day feminism. The new definition of the term provides complete equality. If I want to wear a lacy dress, grow my hair long, and crochet blankets, I can without feeling like it’s my obligation. If I want to wear Carharts, give myself a buzz cut, play tackle football, and oh…maybe became a firefighter, I can do that too. Because of my limitless role as woman, I decide to do what I want to do and without limitations. My husband agrees. That’s why I’ll be inspecting the septic tank and he will be doing the laundry this week.
What are your thoughts on feminism?