I am a Feminist: No Apology Included

feminist

It’s 2017, and unfortunately, some people still think I need a provider. An anonymous buyer paid for this billboard to express his freedom of speech and belief that “Real Men Provide, Real Women Appreciate It.”

billboard

This story popped up in my news feed, and at first I didn’t pay much attention then I realized that this is actually in N.C., where I live. That doesn’t surprise me. In many areas of the state, this would be conventional thinking; however, I live in the largest city in the state, and Charlotte is more diverse. As diverse as any larger city may be, there are opinions across the board. Everyone has a right to their opinion. These are mine. I own them and am comfortable expressing them.

I understand that whoever chose to pay the money to put this on a billboard has the right to do so. But I would argue that donating that money to a women’s shelter or other nonprofit would have been a better use of the money.

As a feminist, it does bother me that in some people’s opinion, my husband should do all the providing. But I’ve been paying my own way for all of my life. We are a two income household, and he does his part, which I appreciate. I’m not ashamed to say I make more money than him. I have never expected any man to pay my way. I learned this from my mom, who was a single mom who got little child support and no other help. My lesson from a young age was take care of yourself.

On the subject of feminism, it was recently brought to my attention that some think the classic definition of feminism is to be “anti-man and pro-abortion.” I had no idea. I thought being a feminist was about wanting to be on equal ground. As a feminist, I don’t hate men, even though I have many reasons to. I could write long paragraphs about all the horrible things that men have done to me over the years. I won’t. Those experiences don’t dictate my worth; I do.

My personal definition of feminism is that I believe gender should have nothing to do with opportunity. I should be given opportunity based on my skills and my talent. I want to see a day when they don’t say “female” in front of leaders or entrepreneurs who happen to be women. We don’t do that for men, except for the phrase “male nurse” because for some reason we need to make it okay for a man to be a nurse.

It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? From a young age, we are given these gender identities. Depending on how progressive your household was, you, as a girl, may have only been given dolls as toys and not balls. My mom was athletic and loved sports so I knew it was okay to be interested in things based on what I liked not what my gender was. Sports have never been my thing so I gravitated toward dance and more feminine activities. But I felt as though I didn’t have limits, unless they were self-imposed.

In my career, there have definitely been times when I knew I was getting paid less as a woman or wasn’t being given the opportunities to grow. I think every woman who has a career has probably experienced something akin to this. I feel a responsibility to be a strong voice for women. I shouldn’t have to apologize for being a feminist. It’s become an ugly word, one that conjures up stereotypes and bitterness. Has it become less powerful now that it’s a label? I love words. I think they can be very powerful. They can also be taken out of context or misconstrued. I’m just wondering how we got to this place. Strong women are the backbone of society. We work more hours and still are the primary caretakers. Is this fair? No, but it’s reality.

I’m not writing this to start an argument, but I wouldn’t mind a discussion. Do you think feminist is a negative word? What about the billboard? Is it misogynistic? Or a message to men to provide? To me, I’m not offended by it. I know where I stand. I am a feminist; no apology included.

 

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