My feminism may have start when I first read The Feminine Mystique and discovered that the fifties and sixties were horrible times for women’s equality.
But I think it started much earlier. I have always been proud of being female, inside and out, and ever since I could pick up a book I have been reading about the courageous women who paved the way for women’s full equality (still a road not fully traveled, sadly). Joan of Arc, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth I, Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and many other women from many times and places were my heroes growing up. If they can make it in a man’s world, so can I.
Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer were the first feminist authors I read, followed shortly after by Mary Shelley. These women gave me a perspective on the world that I will never forget, no matter how much I end up disagreeing with them, sometimes. They were simply a means to an end: my discovery of the fact that feminism is essential to me and my way of life. I simply cannot live without it. It is one of the filters through which I view my life and the world.
I have never quite figured out where my feminism fits on the whole spectrum, although I know it is neither radical nor conservative. However, I do know what I believe:
- Feminism is intrinsically tied to the welfare of women all over the world.
- Every man and woman should have access to reproductive health care and justice, including (but not limited to): physical forms of birth control (such as the male and female condoms and the diapraghm) and hormonal birth control (the pill, Depo-Provera, and the NuvaRing), as well as the free exercise of their sexuality without fear of recrimination, disease, and pregnancy.
- I am pro-choice. I believe that every woman should be able to make any and all decisions concerning her health, including reproduction. If she believes, for any reason, that it might not be best to carry a fetus to term, it is her prerogative, within reason, to terminate the pregnancy safely and without threat of recrimination against her or her physician.
- I like porn that does not feature the degradation of women and/or men. There is pornography out there that is friendly to people of all sexes and orientations.
- Women should have equal pay in real life, instead of the seventy-three cents they make on average to a man’s dollar over a lifetime (all other things being equal).
- Math and science are just as essential and important to a girl’s education as a boy’s. The United States needs more scientists, why can’t they be female?
- I am also pro-life, as regards to those outside the womb. This does not at all conflict with being pro-choice, it simply means that I believe that too many people are dying that don’t need to be. For example, I am against the death penalty. I do not see it as a necessary part of our legal system.
- Women should have the same job opportunities as men, as well as encouragement from mentors to take non-traditional jobs.
- Every child born in this world deserves at least one caring parent, preferably two or more, no matter of the parent’s beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender presentation. As Hillary Clinton once said “It takes a village to raise a child.”
- People do have prejudice. No one is completely guilt-free in this category. My job is to work on my prejudices, to make myself a better person and to help other people see the benefits of feminism to the whole world.
My feminism, like my queerness, is forever changing and evolving. There are more beliefs I have that I think have more to do with queerness than feminism and I will cover them when I write something similar on queerness.
It is late at night and time for me to go to bed, so I must bid you good night and adieu for now.