What is Feminism? (NAAB)

I saw an article floating around on social media last week entitled “I’m the Girl Who’d Rather Raise a Family Than a Feminist Protest Sign.” My immediate thought when I read this title was, “Why can’t you do both?” Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Many people, women included, seem to think that feminism is a way for women to blame men for the inequalities and injustices women face every day. This is simply not the case, and it is not the point of feminism. Feminism is focused on empowering women to reach equality not only in the workplace, but through all walks of life.

One major issue I had with the article mentioned above is that the writer believes that feminists are discouraging her from pursuing her dream of becoming a homemaker. She says that she feels ashamed to admit to her girlfriends that her career goal is to raise a family. I hope that her friends who believe in gender equality would not judge her for expressing her wants and goals for her life. Feminists should be encouraging women to follow whatever path they want to follow in life–whether that’s a corporate, high-powered career or a career in the home raising a family.

This writer also states many times that she is not a feminist and feminism is not for her. However, the final sentence in her article is the perfect definition of feminism. She writes, “It doesn’t matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.” She’s exactly right! We all do need some girl power! Modern feminism is all about supporting each other in what we do. The women’s marches and protests that have flooded the media lately are simply about challenging the expectation that women should be homemakers, or the expectation that women can’t be executives or leaders–they are not about putting down the women (or men) who choose to be homemakers.

I read a few rebuttal articles in response to the one above, which didn’t quite hit the mark for me either. These articles hit the nail on the head when it came to women supporting one another and feminism being about equality of the sexes instead of putting one another down. However, almost all of the writers of these rebuttal articles mentioned wanting a powerful career before they get married and start a family. As a strong, independent, and educated woman with high ambitions and career goals who happened to get married to the love of her life at the age of 22, I say to those women that I can still achieve my #girlboss dreams while having a loving and supportive husband. About a month ago, I reviewed Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In on Burketts’ Book Blog. Lean In goes into great depths about how having a supportive partner should be an asset to our career goals. It is very possible to have a high-powered and fulfilling career while raising children and having a spouse or life-partner.

Lean In also does an amazing job explaining that while some women have dreams of climbing the corporate ladder, other women have dreams of raising a family. Women need to be supporting each other in order for us to achieve equality and break the glass ceiling. Articles like all of the ones I read today can make some women feel inferior to others. This is a step backwards. Be supportive and excited for your girlfriends when they tell you what they want to be when they graduate or when they tell you what their dreams are. If they don’t line up with yours, that’s okay. Women need to build each other up; not tear each other down.




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