Am I a Feminist?

What happened to the word “feminist?”

Straightforward definitions of the word:

  • An advocate of social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. –Random House Dictionary 2013

  • Movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. –Wikipedia

Based on these definitions, how could any woman not consider herself a feminist? How could any enlightened man—especially one with female children—not call himself feminist?

How can so many women qualify statements with “I’m no feminist, but…”?

Who took a positive word and turned it negative?

People fear identifying with feminism because of its connotations to anger, harshness and stridency, militancy, bra burning, man hating, and furry armpits.

Some feminists fit the stereotype—but certainly not all do. Feminists are mothers, executives, wives, politicians, humanitarian-aid workers, and more. They want consideration based on their capacities, not on their sex. They want the same opportunities as men.

I am the daughter of a serial entrepreneur. I am the granddaughter of a world traveler. I am the great-granddaughter of a farmer.

All women. My mother made sacrifices male professionals didn’t have to make. My grandmother waited to marry until she could afford to stop teaching; the law mandated unwed female educators. Neighbors still marvel at my great-grandmother driving the feed truck to the grain elevator. How forward!

Yes, I’m a feminist. And a proud one, too.