I am trying to raise a feminist. A pair of feminists, because anyone who has a female loved one - mother, daughter, wife - is a feminist. Or should be one.
I don't think it's so much to ask that my daughter respect and like herself and be treated with respect and courtesy by others, have a fair shake in the world. I mean, last time I checked, half the world's population was women, and it would probably behoove all of us to treat one another kindly. I want my son to treat women with respect and courtesy, to honor their hearts and minds before all else and behave toward them as he would any other colleague in the workplace.
The more I explore feminism - and it has become so much more important since I became a mom - the more strange sub-groups of anti-feminists I find. The ones who really blow my mind are the women who claim feminism has lessened women in particular and coarsened our culture in general. They keep looking back at some nostalgic never-never that never was during a time period they themselves never lived through and experienced for themselves.
It's easy to sit there and say the 1950s - or time period du jour - were awesome, and everyone was living in some "Leave It to Beaver" paradise when you weren't there. The 1950s weren't so great for a lot of people - the poor, people of color and the LGBTQ community for starters. There's no time period in the history of ever in which life was good for everyone.
We're leagues away from it now. There are children who are hungry in America, one of the richest countries in the world. How does that happen? As long as there are those who are hungry and who are not fed, who are homeless and who are not housed and who are sick and who are not cared for, we can't claim that we're living an idyllic life. Don't want to preach at y'all, but it seems unrealistic to me. You?
I like voting and having a voice in government. I enjoy my job; it fulfills me. Hanging out with all of you is probably the best job in the world. If you want to stay home, that's awesome. I hope you do. You have the choice, and that's a wonderful thing. If you don't want kids, that's your business. You have that choice, too. You even have the choice to reject feminism. That's how awesome it is - there is so much room for choice.
It's weird, the qualities some people attach to feminism - if you're a self-declared feminist, some people think you're a man-hating, ultra-sensitive, irritable wet blanket.
I don't hate men. In fact, I think the Long Suffering Husband and Little Professor are pretty awesome. Grampy Grumpy and my brother, Davy Crockett, also are cool.
I can be irritable, but that's pretty much just my personality. No matter how I identified myself, I would probably be irritable on occasion. I'm just irascible.
I guess what I am trying to say is I don't understand people who think it's OK to treat one group of people a particular way and another group another way. Seems to me that it's never worked well when it's been practiced.
We've got a long way to go, and, just like there was never a "perfect era" in our past, I doubt we will ever reach a utopia in which "content of character" - to borrow a phrase from that especially awesome individual Dr. Martin Luther King - is the sole measurement of someone's worth, but that doesn't mean it should be from lack of trying.
(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)