Show me a perfect feminist, and I’ll show you a liar.
It took me a long time to even consider myself a feminist. All that the media had shown me, all that I had seen through my young-adult life was a kind of radical feminism. To me, that meant man-hating, braless, angry women, who put down anyone who didn’t agree with their views.
I did not want to be radical. Maybe the word in and of itself just made me a little uncomfortable? As I got older, I realized that political ideologies, religions, schools of thought, feminism… all of them are on a spectrum.
But, I have a confession; sometimes, I feel ashamed of my location on the spectrum of feminism. I contribute to a website full of talented, beautiful, inspiring women. Women who march to give me a voice, while I sit at home and like the photos they post about it. Women who donate their time and money to organizations that I reap the benefits from.
I listen to music that objectifies women, sexualizes our bodies, calls us bitches because… those songs often have good beats to them. Hell, maybe I even objectify myself occasionally.
I have been known to pine for men who don’t deserve me. I politely offer to pay for dinner but, I expect them to decline. I want to be in the passenger seat, the inside of the sidewalk, the right side of the bed.
I don’t know why I do this. It would be easy to say that society has brainwashed me. That the media has fed gender roles into my ears since I entered this world. True? Probably. But, I wouldn’t consider that to be a satisfactory answer.
Maybe it’s laziness. Maybe, like most of society, I want to see change that I don’t have to work for. Maybe, I am part of the privileged few who aren’t affected. Maybe I have health insurance and pale skin, and maybe Planned Parenthood and discrimination and police brutality are things I read about on Facebook. And maybe I share the articles and express my frustration with the divide in this country, with the devastating political situation, while sitting on my couch.
For that, I am ashamed.
I wish I was as brave as the women I try to surround myself with. The women I read about, the women I quote on my Instagram captions. Maybe I’m a fake. Maybe I’m just scared. Maybe I’ve had a patriarchal thumb on my chest for so long, telling me I’m not good enough, fast enough, strong enough, worthy of all the things my sisters are fighting for.
It isn’t an excuse. I’m not a perfect feminist; or a perfect person, for that matter. I have dealt with assault and with interruption and expectations based on my genitalia. So have millions of other women. It doesn’t matter how many, though. Just one should be enough to get me off the couch and run screaming through the streets of DC or New York or Chicago.
I guess what I’m trying to say is… thank you. Thank you and, I’m sorry. Thank you to the women who march for me, vote for me, write for me, teach for me, educate themselves for me. I’m sorry I have let you do it alone.
Part of being a woman, a feminist, an adult, a human being is recognizing your faults; highlighting the areas in which you need improvement. This is mine.
I can’t promise I will march or protest or write a book about feminism. But I can promise I will speak much louder than a whisper when I stand up for you, for me, for us. It doesn’t have to be scary if you’ll just hold my hand along the way.