“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute…”
–Rebecca West, The Clarion, 11/14/13
I’m always surprised when I hear a woman say “I’m not a feminist, but…” I’m not sure what monster some people think feminism is that they would annotate that they are not one. Somehow people confuse feminism with a political agenda or as an anti-femininity movement.
Feminism is not anti-feminine. I’ve heard women say they aren’t feminists because they like to cook and clean and/or they want their husbands to do the yard work. Or they like it when men open doors. Feminism is the choice to cook and clean because you want to and not because you are owned and can be beaten if you don’t do as your husband says.
Feminism is not pro -abortion/gay marriage/universal heathcare. Women say they aren’t feminists because they are pro-life, or Christian, or of a certain political party. Feminism is the right to vote for politicians that espouse your individual views on issues.
Feminism isn’t about being masculine or ugly. Feminists can shave, wear makeup, and shop at the Gap. Feminism is the belief that our inherent value is deeper than our outward beauty.
Feminism doesn’t mean you have to hyphenate your name. Feminism means your name can have power (like a salary, education, and land ownership) even if it has a Ms. or Mrs. in front of it.
Feminism isn’t about hating men. Feminism is about valuing yourself enough to choose relationships with someone who values you.
So here is how you know if you are a feminist:
Are you a human being?
Do you believe that women are human beings with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
If you answered yes then congratulations, You. Are. A. Feminist.
If you answered no and are a woman then,
Give up your land and any property
Ask your husband to beat you
Give you employer back $.40 for every dollar you make – better yet, fire yourself and get your ass back in the kitchen
Forget how to read and write since you should have been home sewing instead of going to school anyways