I distinctly remember in the fifth grade being a pilot class for some new social studies textbook that was being produced. I browsed the table of contents and saw that near the end of the book was a section called Women’s Rights. Being my mother’s daughter and a budding feminist myself, I excitedly asked my teacher if we would be studying that chapter at all. “Oh, well, maybe if we have time,” she said.
Needless to say, we did not study women’s rights at all that year.
In a world of Snooki and sex tapes, women of the world still have a lot to break through. For every Gloria Steinem advocating for women to move beyond stereotypes and get equal pay (because that whole 78 cents for every dollar a man earns is still true in 2012) there are twenty Real Housewives waiting in line to become the next superstar of hair pulling, name calling, and vagina flashing.
To each her own, but at some point we have to remember why women burned bras (great in theory, painful in lacking lumbar support) and fought for the vote.
Last year, I wrote a little something for Feminist Coming Out Day, and it remains true today:
I believe that I can be and do whatever because that’s how my mother raised me. I believe that I deserve to be treated like anyone else because that’s what my father taught me. If you hear me call myself a feminist and think that I can braid the hair where my arms connect to torso, then imagine what you will. If you read my words and imagine a brooding voice from the aisles of Home Depot, then think yourself happy. I am a feminist because I can be. I am a feminist because we all should be.
If you don’t like that or what women can do, then I encourage you to get educated or fuck off. Women, like racial and religious minorities, all sexual orientations, and able-bodied or other-bodied persons, deserve to live with pride and equality. My generation hasn’t had to fight the way our mother’s and grandmother’s did, and I think it’s our biggest problem.
Maybe if we keep fighting why we fought in the first place.