Am I a Feminist or not?

Created during WW2 as a morale-booster, it has been adopted by woman as a positive message of our abilities.

Created during WW2 as a morale-booster, it has been adopted by woman as a positive reminder that we can accomplish anything.

Am I a Feminist or not? It’s not that I’m very keen on labels, but it’s something I’ve wondered about myself. I don’t believe anyone is absolutely one “thing” or another. We’re all filled with contradictions and have many layers.

I can tell you this. I am very glad I was born in the ’70s. Many brave women came before me and helped pave the way for my freedoms. I am not considered property, traded from father to husband. I can vote. I can take birth control pills. I have control over my body. I can travel alone. I can go to college. I can get a job. I don’t have to be a secretary or a housewife who stays at home mopping floors, burping babies and making every meal for a husband who just expects it. I can divorce my husband if he mistreats me. In other words, I am considered a human being.

(An aside: For those women who choose to be secretaries or stay-at-home moms, I salute you. Both are tough jobs and very important. I’m just saying we have choices now. Hell, I’m a teacher and that’s a very female-dominated field that was once an only option for females. I teach because it’s my calling. I chose it.)

I like men. I love men. I’m not offended when someone compliments me on my appearance (unless it’s, “Nice rack!” or something similar). Although I am clearly capable of opening my own door or putting on my own coat, I love chivalry and frankly, I think it’s just good manners. I will admit, I’ve not been treated that way for quite some time, so I have to get used to chivalry all over again, and am taken aback when a man does open a door for me (and I like it). I don’t know, I guess some parents just didn’t teach their sons to do those sorts of things for women, or some men may be afraid to open doors in case you are a Feminist. But, yeah, I like being treated like a princess. Put on a pedestal. But not locked away in some tower. I want to be adored, but I also want to be seen as an equal. I want to be admired and respected by my man. I can keep up quite nicely with any conversation, thank you, and enjoy verbal sparring and witty remarks and lots of laughter. I don’t expect someone to agree with everything I say or think, but he should respect my views. I don’t enjoy being ignored or dismissed. That’s not cool. I’m a romantic and I want to be with a romantic man. Part of romance to me is a man being chivalrous and protective.

When I say I want someone to be protective, well, it’s hard to explain, but you either get it or you don’t. I don’t make it a hobby to walk into the wilderness filled with bears and expect my date to be wielding a machete and a shotgun to protect me. Perhaps it’s more a state of mind. I want to know someone has my back. That he will defend me. I want to hold his hand or for him to offer his arm. I realize there are some men that might act like that because they believe the woman is lesser or isn’t capable, but there are plenty of men that want to protect the woman they love and still respect and adore her.

Listen, there is no argument that men and women are different. That’s a good thing in my opinion. I can’t be a firefighter. Not because I’m female, but because I’m diminutive and not really fond of getting burned. But, I’ll tell you, my friend Linda could kick down any door in one try and haul 3 grown men out of any building. I’ve seen some men walking around who are not much bigger than me, so I would suspect they aren’t firefighters either. So, it’s not about the sex of the person, but about the ability. Women should receive equal pay for equal work, no question.

Though possibly not always true, women have to work harder to get to a top position in a company. Many high-powered women are viewed as bitches. I think you have to be tough to be in any high-powered position; you are making many critical decisions, it’s stressful, fast-paced and you have to “manage” those below you, which can mean reprimanding or firing. Are these women really bitches? Well, unfortunately that’s a term some people use for a woman who is difficult or overbearing or tough. Men are supposed to be that way; not everyone is used to a woman being like that.

We’ve come a long way, baby, but of course sexism still exists. I stayed up most of the night last November biting my nails hoping a candidate who didn’t support politicians who say things like “legitimate rape” would win the election. Scary stuff.

I am strong, I am able, I am smart. But I like (non-sexist) romantic, chivalrous men. I do advocate for equal rights for woman. Does that make me a Feminist or not?  Whatever label sticks, I guess. But I am a girl* who knows what she wants.

* I like being called “girl.” It makes me feel younger and it’s cute. And, besides, if a man calls you a girl or sweetheart or darlin’ to be condescending, who cares. That’s his problem. This sweetheart knows she’s no shrinking violet.