Why I Want My Daughter to be a Feminist

I’ve never not been a feminist.

Ever since I learned of feminism as a movement, I’ve been aligned with it. The notion that men and women should be treated equally always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

And I honestly don’t understand how someone who is living in 2012 could not be a feminist.

Maybe it’s the definition?

Let’s talk definition:

From Miriam-Webster

Definition of FEMINISM

the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

Let’s try Oxford:

Definition of feminism
[mass noun]
the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

Using any definition left of Rush Limbaugh, how could someone not be a feminist?

And yet, many resist the label. It’s too strident, it evokes images of men-hating (WHAT?) and of unshaved legs.

I reject that.

And I so hope that my daughter claims feminism for herself.

I talked to me kids about it recently. My 11 year old son conceded that the girls in his class, while certainly annoying at times, could do things that boys could do. He tried the “but I’m better at sports” line but I reminded him that a girl hit a home run against him not too long ago and that she was the only one to have scored during that game.

My daughter is a teenager now and the conversations we have about feminism are based on logic. Of course, women should get the same wage as men for the same work. Of course they should have the same rights. It’s hard to explain actually while some people are opposed to it without resorting to words like misogynist.

But I want more. Ideally, I want my daughter to live in a world where equality between the sexes would not be questioned, where access to healthcare (and I absolutely consider birth control to be health care) would not be denied, where reproductive choice was a right and not a privilege of those who could afford it.

I want my daughter to live in that world, but she doesn’t.

None of us do.

My daughter lives in the same world that I do, where rampant gender inequality exists, where Planned Parenthood funding is on the line, where women under-earn men where maternity leave is largely uncompensated and way too short, where violence against women is an every day occurrence.

As much as I wish the world were a better place, I know she’s going to have to fight to make it better. She and her friends are going to have to push against the norm that says “you have it good enough here” and ask, no, demand, for complete equality. Why should she settle for anything else?

I hope my daughter embraces feminism, I hope she feels it in her bones, as much as I did, how ridiculous it is for women to be denied what men have.

And if I’m completely honest, I hope my son does too.

Photo source: Wiki

For more of Marinka, visit her personal blog Motherhood in NYC and The Mouthy Housewives, where she doles out advice as though it were candy. Mmm … candy. Also, follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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