Feminism as Fear?
Feminism, is defined as: "the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes."
Hi. My name is Gabrielle Hickmon and I am a feminist. You may have gathered that given that I'm writing an article about feminism, but I just wanted to say it upfront so we could all be on the same page. Most of the time, when I tell people I'm a feminist, they ask me why. I proceed to tell them that I believe in what true feminism at its best stands for. I'm not a proponent of the extreme radical feminism you hear about on TV or a supporter of women who claim to be feminists and don't know what it means.
But, the other day I got to thinking, am I a feminist because I'm afraid? Am I afraid of being seen as "submissive" "weak" or "domestic"? Sometimes, I actively worry about men expecting me to do or be certain things because I am a woman. Did I adopt this belief in feminism because of that? I was once told that when I find the right man, I'll stop holding on to feminist ideals so hard. My face was looking like...
Once I recovered from the shock of that statement and took a step back, I realized that I'm not a feminist because I'm afraid and I probably will always identify as one. I will be a feminist when I'm married. I will be a feminist when I'm a mother. I will be a feminist over the course of my career. I will be a feminist. I probably will teach my daughter all about feminism. When she is old enough I'll expose her to bell hooks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Sheryl Sandberg, Betty Friedan, Audre Lorde, and so many other feminist women who have and continue to inspire me.
I am a feminist because I do not believe that my vagina is a disability. My womanhood does not warrant the following: being paid less than a man for equal work, being relegated to the house or kitchen, being subjected to double standards about my sexuality, and being expected to produce nothing of value. Now, I'm not saying that every man I have come across in my life has expected these things from me or treated me in ways consistent with what was stated above. I'm talking about larger societal standards here.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I often rant about things related to feminism. I can wax on for hours about why I shouldn't be expected to cook or clean just because I have lady parts or why women deserve to be paid the same as men for the same work. I stand by my feminist beliefs. I don't hate men and I'm not out to take from them just because I identify as a feminist. In fact, I believe we need men to be feminists.
Feminism is for everybody and that's nothing to be afraid of. And, when I find a man, that get's that and even agrees with me, (I ask Jesus to send me a tall, black, educated, bearded, self-identified feminist BAE everyday) then we'll both be feminists and live happily ever after.