I looked up the definition yesterday. Seriously. I looked it up. Because with all the hoopla recently I did not know where I was supposed to stand...or march if the case may be.
Feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.
With that definition I guess I can say I believe in feminism... I guess? Maybe? With age and experience some things in my life have become very black and white. But a lot more have become gray. Well, actually maybe in this case I see more black and white and less gray actually.
You see, I feel like I have truly benefited from the crusade of feminism. I have had the freedom to be educated through the public and private institutions of my choosing. I have had the freedom to form opinions based off my education and experiences. I have the freedom to vote. I have been able to gain fairly lucrative employment to support myself and then myself and my husband and now even my husband and my child. I have been able to keep that employment while pregnant and after have a child. I have been able to do pretty much whatever I'd like to do.
That being said. I believe I have been discriminated against because I am a female.
But here is the thing that I have been battling inside my head... and now on this post.... I don't know if that discrimination was necessarily a bad thing.
First I must say, there is no question I have been treated differently than a man because I am a woman. And I like that. I like chivalry. I honestly think it makes the world a better place. Of course I can open my own door and bring my own jacket and wait my turn in line. I think these small acts of respect shown to women helps put the world in its proper place. Because at the end of the day, the bottom line is: men and women are not the same. And if for no other reason than because women bare children, I believe they should receive an extra bit of respect.
But back to the discrimination. Within my career, a career that is predominately women, I have been discriminated against because I am a woman. Although I was a better candidate, I was not hired for a position because I was not male. I have not been able to climb up the leadership ladder where all my male counterparts have. The list goes on. There is no question I have been treated differently because I am a female.
And although it has been extremely frustrating, here is the statement that I feel the need to say, I don't know if me being discriminated against was necessarily a bad thing.
Now I fully recognize a "true" feminist would say I have been brainwashed by my culture. I am a beaten puppy that has accepted my role as the subservient sex. And I guess there isn't much I can say in defense against that other than I recognize that this is a possibility.
But on the other hand, maybe the fact is: men and women are created differently and play separate and important roles in society because of their differences.
In other words, maybe I have been discriminated against for good reason. Not just because I am a woman, but maybe because I am a woman that acts like a woman. And sometimes a man that acts like a man can do a job better than a woman that acts like a woman.
I don't know. I wrestle with these ideas all the time. What is nature? What is nurture? Is it true that women and men inherently are different? I know it's kind of a chicken and an egg question. But I'll tell you what has been very interesting to watch. My 1 year old boy. He has had stuffed dolls in his toy box for months. He rarely plays with them. On the other hand, we noticed him making cool motor noises as he played with toy cars at grandmas' houses. So for his birthday we got him a toy monster truck. Now that he has a truck it is the only toy he plays with. This was not a learned behavior. If anything he should be playing more with dolls because he plays with 2 girls everyday who loves their dolls.... but no he loves his truck. Brad has not been taught to like a truck more than a doll. We didn't encourage him to play with the truck more than the dolls. But now he only plays with his truck. Which is evidence to me that there is an inherent difference between males and females. I had heard this over and over again from other moms. This difference between boys and girls. But it has been so interesting to watch it first hand with my son.
So where do I stand as far as feminism goes? I believe everyone should have equal rights in this world. Everyone should have the right to do whatever they can and want as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others. But the bottom line is: men and women are different. And I believe the differences between them makes the world a more balanced place. Trying to ignore or erase those differences, trying to treat everyone exactly the same, hurts people in the end. So any artificial rule or law to try and make things 50/50 or "equal" is ridiculous. The idea that all positions in a company or in a political body should have equal parts male and females will only hurt society.
So what do I believe in? What would I march for? A world where everyone, no matter what they look like, can become and be whatever they'd like to be. A world that looks at skills and talents and chooses the best.
Do I believe the women who marched around last weekend were marching for that? I have no idea. And honestly, I don't know if they knew either.