A student asked me today if I was a feminist. I was a little struck by the assured way she said that, and I realized that I didn’t want to be labeled a feminist. I see myself a more of a humanist. I do not believe women are better than men, or men are better than women. I would prefer to be seen as a someone who sees people for who they are instead of what they ‘should’ be. I explained that to her, and hopefully she understood what I stood for.
I do recognize that men and women are different biologically, physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc., and that is what makes our world work. People should be a compliment to one another. Otherwise how boring would it be around here?
One day in class, a student of mine made the comment that he ‘hated being black.’ I was shocked and it took me a few questions and some guidance to help him figure out that there is so much more in the world than the little town he was currently in. Being a major minority is a transient thing because believe me, he could really make it somewhere. But it made me realize that sometimes I hate being a woman.
I wonder if sometimes being a caring and loving mother creates a weakness. Of course you don’t poke momma bear. Sometimes, however, the world make a mother choose between her own happiness and that of her child’s.
It is wearisome to continue to stand up for what is right consistently, day in and day out. Sexist jokes, discrimination, the double standard, laws that put all responsibility on women and mothers, and the society that supports it through complacent acceptance wears me down.
The worst struggle I have, though, is with my religion. I am not afraid to say that I do not agree with everything my religion declares, yet my faith is still solid.
Where do I stand on all of this? I must accept the innate gender differences, yet keep an open mind about how individuals may not follow these ‘guidelines’ of humanity. I must accept that I am a woman, with a tendency to let my femininity show without embarrassment. I must accept that I am capable of doing things well for me, not doing things well ‘for a girl’. And I must accept that others should be held to that standard as well.