I wasn’t raised to believe in feminism, my mother was bitter about her experiences as a woman and felt it had done nothing for her. I used to hear that feminists had only made women’s roles harder, that we now had to work and raise a family and do both as if we were superwoman. And while I don’t doubt that there is plenty of pressure to be everything to everyone, I don’t buy in to feminists being the cause of these problems.
But while I think the feminist agenda is admirable and worth supporting, while I strive to see a world where all women are treated well and not, as is far too often the case less than cattle, I do not call myself feminist.
Part of the natural shift in perspective that motherhood provided me was an insight into the way I want the world to be for my children, both male and female.
It’s not this world, where my son when still small was bullied in to cutting his hair short and shamed for painting his nails because it was girly. Where ‘don’t be a girl’ or ‘that’s gay’ are commonly thrown about without any thought that the insult is both bizarre and appalling. A world where my girls are pressured to look and act a certain way for fear of violence against them and my son’s gender are uniformly painted as potential perpetrators of that violence. This world that even while seeking an equal standing people divide in to categories male and female without looking at humanity as a whole broken apart in need of repair.
I don’t have the answers to what will fix us and make us good to each other. What will stop people from discriminating based on sex, or who we want to have sex with, who knows, it will sadly not happen any time soon. But what I want more than anything is equality, where a woman can choose to have or not have children, a career, dress as she likes and go where she wants, love who she wants. Where a man can do the same without question.
These are the reasons that I don’t call myself a feminist even as we share similar goals and ideals I find the term irrevocably divisive.
Instead I call myself an equalist and do my small part in trying to pave our way to equality.