By: Bridget Bush
Bridget, who just turned 22, is a university student in Fairfax, Virginia. This article in written in response to the popular “I Am A Mother Of Two Children And I Cannot (And Will Not) Support Feminism” article that has circled around social media sites.
I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, student, bookworm, and cheap wine-aficionado, but what does any of that have to do with the point I’m about to make? What matters is that I am a human being and I am a feminist. I grew up comfortably and lived a generally privileged life, but then I left home, and I saw true inequality, and I realized that I cannot stand idly by while others either perpetuate or allow (by inaction) systematic patriarchal oppression against women.
There are many people in the world who will happily and naively speak out against a movement about which they actually have very little accurate knowledge. I can’t help but just shake my head at those who still consider Feminism to be a “degrading, offensive, and accusatory” ideology. Have you just plugged your ears every time Beyoncé’s ***Flawless comes on? There is no conceivable way you have managed to avoid hearing the true message behind the Feminist movement. So start listening.
I do not have children of my own yet—though I may one day—so for now I’ve taken to educating my 14-month-old nephew. You see, I’m kind of psyched to be raising him as a feminist. I am proud to encourage him to be hard-working and dedicated, if that’s what he chooses to be. I am teaching him to treat women in his life like princesses, if that’s how those women wish to be treated. I’m enlightening him to appreciate all human beings for their inherent value, while still acknowledging that there is a fight to be fought.
I want my nephew to be respectful of all people, to interrupt his friends when he hears them making sexist and degrading jokes, to not feel emasculated when a woman in his life offers to carry a heavy box or hold a door for him, and to not think “boys will be boys” is ever an excuse for him or his friends to behave in a way to is harmful to others.
I hope that by the time he is a teenager, gender equality will be realized. I hope that he will grow up thinking feminism is completely normal, and wonder why there is even a word for the way things are obviously supposed to be. I hope that he will understand that I have taught him these things so he can see the freedom in being able to choose your own lifestyle (i.e. Men should not be forced into being breadwinners just as women should not be forced into being homemakers). I hope that he will know that he has endless opportunities to fight for the women in his life to not be held back by “invisible” societal barriers (they don’t call it the glass ceiling for nothing).
I hope that he will realize that a belief in the goals of Feminism does not contradict a wish to treat consensual female partners in a romantic, kind, and loving way. Those who believe in such a contradiction are tragically misguided by a few extremists within the Feminist movement.
Sadly, one negative representative can ruin the entire image of a social group. I could compare this to the way most other cultures view Americans as fat, lazy, rude, and stupid. It would only take meeting (or even hearing a story of) one single American that fits that mold in order for someone from another culture to start painting our whole society with the broad brushstrokes of stereotype and prejudice. But we are not all like that. In this same way, the tale of one “radical, bra-burning Feminazi” has probably been enough to alter your entire perception of the feminist movement. All I can do is ask you to remember: we are not all like that.
I support fairness for everyone, and as long as being a feminist means supporting masculinity and femininity and all things in between, I will continue to fight in this “quest for equality.” Respect is a basic human right, and my nephew will grow up regarding that as a fact and he will always be prepared to defend it as being such.