For me, I was a feminist straight from the womb. As a child, I understood feminism to mean that you hate men. That’s wrong. I might’ve had one actual “baby-doll”. I thought, “who the hell wants to influence a small child by telling them they should be raising a baby?” What kind of 4 yr old thinks like that? Well, the next time you think about using that dumbass slang term “woke”, that’s what “woke” is in applicable form. Anyhow, I did love Barbie. She could do anything. One day she’s a Dr and the next, a gymnast, then an astronaut, and…”to infinity and beyond”. She’s done it all, whether people liked her body image or not. (I mean, get over it people, she’s a doll. If we’re going to go that route, Bratz Dollz just look like big-headed Barbie hookers…where are those changes being made in other dolls?) Not the point.
See, Barbie was a hustler. My Barbie had a 3-story dream-house, a Jeep, a convertible, about a million interchangeable accessories and clothes for her and her friends (my Barbie circle was pretty diverse), but my Ken dolls came with nothing. One was a surfer who just wanted to borrow the car all day and surf with his friends OR the other dress-up Ken who could only go to fancy parties. So she had a beach bum and a James Bond at her disposal, but neither could fix the elevator on that 3-story dream house or fix her broken down Jeep.
The Golden Girls and Designing Women were always on Lifetime during the day at home in my childhood. I know that because I was a sick kid (physically) and now, as a sick adult laying in bed watching marathon reruns of The Golden Girls, I see now the impact that shows like this had on me as a child. There was never a sense that the women on these shows were “better” than men (although they won, of course, the occasional battle of the sexes), rather, they weren’t taking any shit from anyone, man or woman. They were smart, they were funny, and, with the variety of characters playing off of each other, fun. They were also COMPLETELY ahead of their time with the issues they tackled and exposed from just beneath the surface of “equality” of the sexes, ageism, racism, and so many other themes.
First, we need to define feminism at it’s core: choice, equality, and opportunity. (If you have a different idea about what feminism is, please comment because I’d love to discuss.)
Now, moving on, if you remember anything about former President of the United States Barack Obama, you might remember that he often discussed feminist issues in our country in relation to the type of country in which he wanted his daughters to grow up. He also pointed out that woman’s rights encompassed more than just equal pay for equal work. See, the “wage gap” can only be measured by comparing the same wage for equal work, such as accounting or hanging sheets of drywall. Both men and women have the ability to do both jobs, if you’ve ever been at a construction site, you’re going to see that the number of women has increased since something our grandparents would never have imagined. I will point out at this point that physical differences between men and women still exist. Men have an easier time developing upper body strength and, for some reason, digest red meat and alcohol better, which is completely random.
However, since most people who support women’s rights in the sense of “my body, my choice” have become obsessed with impeaching Donald Trump, “my body, my choice” has fallen to it’s knees in this country as all of the abortion rights that we knew before, are being stripped away state by state.Click on the link for some graphs and state by state listings of which changes have occurred now, if any.
In case you don’t know this (sorry, not being a smartass), the legal right to abortion is from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Roe v Wade in 1973. The general rule of thumb used to be abortion was legal within the first trimester (12 weeks), however, some states would do them later at 15 weeks. Now, some states allow it to only be within 6 weeks. Many people don’t even know that they’re pregnant by then, so this is just an asinine as overruling it anyway. The graph above ranks states from “hostile” towards abortion to “supportive” (orange to purple).
What I find most interesting is that, since Coronavirus has been going on, gun sales have been up and no one stops to think about abortion, however, peopleWILL freak the f*** out if you talk about changing gun regulations. Now, I live in a home with a gun. I don’t believe in a weaponless world (because, let’s just be real here), but I do believe in gun reform, however, no one has had a good idea about it so here we are…but they ALL have the answers to abortion. See the difference? Who do you think rules in the House and Senate? Mostly old white guys. So a bunch of old white guys can tell me what’s OK for me to do with my uterus, but they can’t figure out how to reform gun sales? (Check out the other Amendments that never seem to be in jeopardy.) Somehow, abortion comes up in every. single. election. Does that seem lopsided to anyone else?
Here’s where I give a big shout out to my fiance. He understands feminism in the way that I define it. He’s older than me, so he was dating during what I’ll call the “third wave” of feminism (I’m including suffrage, the revolution in the 60’s/70’s, and the “third wave” in the late 80’s/early 90’s), which leads us to 4 and a half years later, since we started dating, when I initially told him that I was a feminist. Those four words are, for some guys, a red flag.
Here’s why, as my fiance explained: He was taught to be respectful and a gentleman on dates, so he would go to open the door for a lady. He’s told me that many ladies he went out with at that time would be offended by this, thinking that he thought of them as a “weaker person” or “weaker sex” when he would do these little gestures. So, until I explained what I believe to be the basis of original feminism, he was a little nervous about my boundaries within his previous experienced parameters. Later, he mentioned that he believed that he was a feminist, based on how I explained it to him in my simple, original idea of what feminism was meant to be.
Later, I overheard him explaining this to his 14 yr old son. I was proud that he remembered what I’d said to him and that he was trying to impress this to his young son, who still thinks that “girls are stupid”. He believed that his aggressive and hostile mother and sister were the definition of “feminists” because they do express that they have these “feminist” values. No, they’re just bitter, angry women who happen to be feminists. His son then realized, “I guess I’m a feminist too, Dad”.
When I tell people, especially men, that I am a feminist, they make this face like they just slipped a sour gumball into their mouths. I ask them what they think that feminism is due to their reaction and they tell me a variety of misconceptions. “So, you don’t want me to open the door for you? Does that mean you hate men?”, one guy asked. Um. Yes, I expect you to be a) a gentleman and b) a feminist as well, but, no, I don’t “hate men. If I did, I wouldn’t be on this date, would I?” I asked him, simply: “Don’t you think when your daughter grows up that she ought to be paid equal to men and have the same opportunities as they do?” He answered “yes”, after some pause. I explained my simple stance on what feminism means: choice, opportunity, and equality. For me, it’s just that simple. And, before PNES, I had all of those things at my disposal. I’m still an equal partner in my relationship, however, my fiance and I have an understanding that he do all of the traditional gentlemanly things (opening doors, driving, of course, with seizures I can’t drive anyway, pumping the gas, car maintenance, taking out the trash, etc.). If I were more capable, I’d do most of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. That’s not possible right now, but I wouldn’t be doing it alone. He would certainly be expected to help, however, currently, I’m a bit of a stay-at-home fiance which, to me, means that I should have more time to devote to those things and it’s not something I think of as “slavery” (although, I felt that way with my first husband), it’s acts of kindness and respect for your partner. It would also increase the amount of quality time that we could spend together. (If you still haven’t read or taken the 5 Love Languages quiz, I recommend doing it to find out you and your partner’s preferences for expressing love and affection.)
The point is, for us, these are agreed upon choices that we have made together and they work for us. Everyone gets to write the terms of their lives and relationships. My advice about this (putting on my therapist hat), this is a healthy, respectful, and positive way for a relationship to function. He gets the short end of the stick too often because I’m sick and tired frequently, but, if I can do, I do. This is just part of what I mean by “choice”. If someone chooses to be a “stay-at-home-Mom” or a woman climbing that ladder to her own professional success, there’s no need to judge or be ignorant about how someone spends their time.
This brings us to “equality”. If we expect to be treated equally to men, then we need to be equals with each other as well. For instance, back in the day, before my marriage, I had an elderly neighbor. If she needed ANYTHING, she was instructed to ask me to do it because I shoveled her walk, her driveway, and brushed off her car in the mornings, just as I did my own. It’s out of respect and equality. Could she do these things? Sure, but it was easier and faster for me to do it for her.
Now, as far as “opportunity” goes, I’ve beaten some people out for a promotion in the past, both men and women, and they all whimpered and whined about it for months. I mean, petty, childish, and passive aggressive behavior. At least 15 people wanted that job, but I got it because my current boss at the time (a man) had so highly recommended me for the position. I worked circles around the other people I won out against so I didn’t care because I knew I truly EARNED that position by busting my ass for two years, however, it was also a valuable lesson.
It’s not always about equality between men and women, but rather, who you know. It’s a pattern that I’ve seen play out more and more as my career has taken different twists and turns. That also means women have to penetrate the proverbial “boys club” in different companies, as they will be sure to keep women just out of reach of them and their roles in the company. We have to work twice as hard as men to be given the same opportunities. The thing about this is that we can’t have a “ladies’ club”. It SHOULD always be the most qualified person for the job, but it’s not. It’s who you know. It’s not necessarily who is the most skilled or who has the highest recommendation or the most experience. I’ve paid my dues so many times and still been passed over. I am an expert at job interviews and reading people. I generally know in those first few minutes if I don’t stand a chance.
“Neo-Feminism” is, what I would consider to be the fourth “wave” of feminism. I believe it originated from two consecutive things. One, we now have the most womanizing President of the United States, Donald Trump. (Has any other President been recorded saying that he just goes up to women and kisses them and “grabs them by the p**** and they love it”?) Not to my knowledge. Bill Clinton might have been a womanizer, but at least he didn’t keep trading Hilary in for a younger woman over and over. This, plus the #MeToo movement, led to this new wave of feminism. I can say that I fall into the movement because of my past history, but I also have much more past trauma that brands me with the label of Complex-PTSD.
Just like past “waves” of feminism, women have not been quiet about it. Although the #BlackLivesMatter, or BLM, movement has overshadowed the newest feminist movement for the moment.) Marching, protesting, practically storming the gates, but, shouldn’t we be doing that now since so many of our “right to choose” abortion rights are being stolen by men. Men can’t carry children so, why do they even get a say? If it goes on in your home, fine. Discuss it with your wife or girlfriend, but the rest of us don’t need it projected onto us.
For me, this is a touchy subject, because I have a progressive, serious autoimmune disease. What that means is that, if I were pregnant and go off my powerful medications, not only will I be sick, but I’m putting mine and my child’s life at risk while upping the risk of having a malnourished child early (if my body could continue with a pregnancy without a miscarriage as my body would attack the cells of a child like a foreign object) who would be at-risk for their own possible delays in development for the child, at the very least. If I stayed on the medications, the possibility of carrying the child would be higher, but the risk of complications and health risks would be increased because we’re not talking about one or two medications here, it’s a bag of very strong and complex meds. Now, could I personally make the decision to have an abortion? I’m not sure I could, despite it being a “better” choice for mine and a potential child’s health. However, what other women choose to do is not my decision, nor should it be. I believe that every woman should have the right to make that choice.
Alongside the new wave of feminism is “The Red Pill” movement by men to counter the feminist movement. (If you haven’t seen the documentary, I recommend watching it). The Red Pill movement is basically saying, “OK, you want equality, then let us have equality for EVERYTHING, including parenthood, despite the amount of states that continue to favor the mother as the primary caregiver in a divorce. Let us see our kids more and stop paying so much in child support,” is the basic message of those who are sane enough to really explain what their position is on the subject of equality, some of them, however like some feminists, are just simply too far to one side to make any damn sense. And, at the end of the documentary (made by a young female student), spoiler alert, she denounces her association with feminism (which tells me that she truly didn’t understand the basic principles of it) Anyhow, it brings up the point that, if we do truly want equality, should it really be able to be ala carte?