Is the Feminist Movement Every Woman’s Movement?

I grew up in a typical lower middle-class family with two younger brothers in the 70’s and 80’s. My dad built houses for a living and I loved nothing more than being on site helping out. To this day, I love home improvement projects. My husband and I joke that I’m the man and he’s the woman, but you know what? It works. 

Having two younger brothers and a father that I related to more than a mother, made me competitive. I always set out to prove I could anything a boy could do. Doing things boys could do wasn’t about wanting to be a boy. I wanted to be a girl doing boy things. 

My dad always made sure that I could be independent by teaching me how to do things like change the oil in my car and fill my tires. My girl spin on these activities was to be prissy while doing them. I can still remember the argument my dad and I had about what I was wearing to change the oil in my car. Fancy clothes. Rings. My hair down. I liked nothing more than proving my dad wrong. I refused his pleas of common sense and didn’t get a speck of dirt on me. Victory!

These little acts of rebellion were the feminist movement to me. Being a female in a male world. Girl power. Not wanting to be a male or taking away everything that made me feminine. Special treatment for the sake of being special made me feel weak and inferior. I wanted to prove myself based on merit not on mercy. 

Somewhere along the way the feminist movement lost me. A woman who always wanted to marry and have a family of my own. Someone who would settle for nothing less than monogamy. Someone who is a fierce advocate of the underdog. Believing the most vulnerable underdog is the unborn female. Between China and India there are 80 million extra mendue to the one child policy and sex-selective abortions. Where are the feminists?

When it comes to monogamy and marriage, the feminist movement wants women to feel empowered by having sex with anyone whenever they want and not burden themselves with the institution of marriage that the patriarchy instituted to keep us oppressed. Any woman who consents to marriage is under the coercion of men because of her inherent gender inequality. 

This makes me feel weak minded and inferior. Where are the feminists?

If the patriarchy is the problem that must be overcome for women to finally reach equity, where does this road lead? 

When will we run out of first women to accomplish something? 

Will the problem only be solved when not a single man holds a position of power? 

Are only men capable of oppression or are women capable of it too?

If I’m to believe the patriarchy is the problem holding me back, why are men allowed to appropriate women by becoming them and taking over their sports? I thought men were the enemy. How can I trust their motives if I am to believe the doctrine of the women’s movement? Aren’t women under the spell of coercion by the patriarchy for consenting to men competing against them in their own sports or in their job field? Haven’t the men successfully coerced women into believing that abortion is empowering? Where are the feminists? 

The real problem is that no woman is allowed to question the narrative. Anytime a woman says that the feminist movement doesn’t represent them, they are labeled or treated as traitors or victims of false consciousness. I thought the feminist movement was a sisterhood where all were welcome and advocated for. I don’t feel like an autonomous individual in this movement. Do you? Where are the feminists?

It turns out I’m not alone in the feeling that the feminist movement is only capturing certain women. A recent pewresearch poll found that at least 7 in 10 women (72%) with at least a bachelor’s degree say the term feminist describes them very or somewhat well compared with 56% of women with less education. 

The same poll also found that three-quarters (75%) of Democratic and Democratic-leaning women say feminist describes them well compared to 42% Republican or Republican-leaning women.

This looks like the feminist movement is not representative of all women and support falls on party and education lines. How did the movement that won women the right to vote, have a voice, and aspire to the office of the president lose so many women along the way? 

Should I go back and tell that little girl that believed in girl power that there is no place for her in the movement. That girl power is only for those who think a certain way? Where are my feminists?

I believe that EVERY woman can do anything they set their mind to.  I love men and believe they are the perfect complement to women. No one should ever need be diminished in order to feel powerful. 

We need to celebrate the individual lived experiences of women and what it means to be feminine. We can do that today without starting an organized movement. We can make a big difference with small ripples of hope and joy we as women share on social media of the wonderful gift of being females who celebrate marriage, family, motherhood, the unborn, and each other. We don’t have to agree on everything to be in this united sisterhood. We just need to love, support, and believe in each other.

Photo by Flavia Jacquier from Pexels

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