There are as few words as loaded as the word “feminist.” And few as misunderstood. Many people who are feminists in actuality rebuff the label due to misperceptions about this word. So I thought I’d share why I am a feminist, in hopes that others more easily and comfortably identify themselves as one.
I am a feminist because I think that my daughter is just as good as my sons, and that they all deserve to be treated equally by society and the law.
I am a feminist because I think that my mother is just as good as my father, and deserves to be paid as well if she does the same work.
I am a feminist because I think my grandmothers are just as good as my grandfathers were, but never got the chances they had.
I am a feminist because my wife is just as good as I am. In fact, she is much better than I am at a whole lot of things.
I am a feminist because my sister is a pediatrician. And a mother of five.
I am a feminist because women are smart, capable people, and it is a huge waste of human capital to not allow them to contribute fully to any and every field of human endeavor.
I am a feminist because when women become athletes, authors, or astronauts, then sports, stories, and space become better, fairer, and just plain more interesting.
I am a feminist because there is nothing in feminism that is anti-man or anti-male. True feminism also wants to liberate men from having to be the competitive, emotionless, violent G.I. Joes society seems to want us to be. Feminism wants men to feel free to cry at a funeral, dance at a wedding, seek medical attention, or smell a flower, and not worry about seeming weak.
I am a feminist because I agree that women should vote, run for office, and become congresspeople and senators and cabinet members and justices and presidents. I agree that women should be considered equally with men when applying for jobs.
I am a feminist because I agree that parenthood is important and that no one’s job should be in jeopardy because they become a parent, or want to be a good one. I agree that nursing is good for babies and that no mother should be punished for it.
I am a feminist because I disagree that childcare, eldercare, healthcare, reproductive self-determination, harassment, abuse, assault, domestic violence, rape, or any form of cancer is a “woman’s issue”— as if men have no responsibility for their cause or impact from their effect.
I am a feminist because so many people I admire— people I know and people I only know about— are women. They already are many of the positive things people say men should be: strong, brave, assertive, determined, learned, accomplished. And they are many of the things men really should also be: caring, nurturing, collaborative, insightful, warm, open.
I am a feminist because I believe women are just as good as men, and deserve to be treated that way. That’s all feminism means, all it has ever meant. And if you believe this to be true, you are a feminist, too.