So one of these round ups involved submitting a post from my blog that either labelled me as a feminist, spouted feminist views or involved some act of feminism to be chosen at will and submitted for all to see. As I scoured through my previous posts I struggled to find anything that contained a remarkably feminist viewpoint, that spoke about inequality or some injustice I had suffered due to my gender. So I emailed the host to ask her what she would define as feminism and what she was looking for. The reply I got confused me further. It seemed to imply that anything vaguely empowering or female would do. The host, a lovely women from across the pond received a myriad of posts from women across the pond but her British followers were reluctant to put up a post. So why? Is it because we consider the word a loaded term? Is it because we consider the history of the word a bit more thoroughly before aligning ourselves with the cause? Or is it just because we're a bit more uptight about these things?
If you look up the definition of the word “feminist” you’ll in most cases come across the fairly neutral meaning of someone who believes in equality between the sexes. And that’s just what it is – no more, no less.I kept on dwelling on the issue because like most sane people, I worry about the role models out there for my kids. I despair at tabloid journalism and the cult of the so-called celebrity, I panic when surrounded aisles after aisles by pink toys and wonder about what we are serving up to our children as a future.
The point is that feminism should be more about women being able to make the choices they want than what those choices actually are. I am eternally thankful I wasn’t a mother thirty odd years ago where maternity leave was routinely began at 29 weeks and the dictates of society would have meant a woman’s career was consigned to oblivion once the umbilical cord was cut. I consider myself fortunate that things have moved on enough to give many women choices that simply didn’t exist a generation ago. My choices are what I feel empowers me, whether they are staying at home, having chicken for tea or staring a new business. Feminism to me, is a woman taking charge of her life, never letting gender affect her but also not using her gender to get what she wants. A quick glance through some Feminist Mother Forums shocked me to be honest. There were posts on how to raise your child in a gender neutral manner, on how to raise boys in a feminist manner. Posts on how to raise your child not to be a rapist...People were posting about issues that would never ordinarily cross my mind but issues that seem to reconfirm to me and define to the masses what feminists are and what they concern themselves with. Men, genital mutilation, abortion, sizeism, race and really just about any sort of prejudice, bigotry and inequality that just about anyone (Yes, men included) can experience. As I rolled my eyes, I read one post from a feminist that declared because most doctors are men (!) and so the WHO is andocentric, medical advice to stop smoking during pregnancy out of respect for the health of your unborn baby is yet another example of men telling us wee women what to do! It would appear then that I am not a feminist with a capital F. It's posts like these that give feminist a bad name. Feminism is a scary, complicated and dangerous territory. A word that is open to abuse and lacks definition.