What Does It Mean To Be A Feminist???

Am I a Feminist?  I mean, I’m not burning my bra.  (My boobs are big and out of control.  They need to go to boob jail everyday).  My Mom got suspended from school for wearing jeans in the early 70s… is she a feminist?

I was blessed to grow up with a group of amazing female role models.  When I look back at my life I realize that I was always surrounded by them.  Whether they were the Bowler Ladies, my Mom’s sisters or my Dad’s sisters… they were everywhere and they were giving me a wonderful example of what a woman should be.

These are women who are equal partners in their relationships.  They are women who are strong, opinionated (oh God, are they ever opinionated), smart, loud, funny, fun, adventurous.  I mean I can’t say enough good things about them.  Extraordinary is really the only word that I have.

I grew up watching their relationships and the men who were with them.  It takes a special kind of man to be with a woman who is so strong and I saw many examples of these special kinds of guys.  Their relationships were equal.  I often saw my Uncles (I’m including the non-related Bowler aunts and uncles here) staring at the women with admiration, love and just a little bit of  eye-rolling.

My Dad was like this with my Mom.  Growing up he told me again and again that I should strive to be a woman like her.  I completely agree.  He thinks that she is wonderful.  (She totally is!).

I’m sure that many of you extraordinary ladies have an example or two (or 10) of when your men were complete idiots and didn’t make you feel this way.  But really, when I look back this is what I remember.  Strong women, kind men, laughter, fun, happiness.  It wasn’t all like that I know.  But it was enough to set a good example.

I think that I, my cousins and the Bowler girls, have all grown up to be kind, smart, strong women.  The boys have all grown up to be kind, smart, strong men.  We had some pretty good examples.

But are we feminists?  (And what the hell does that even mean?).

I’m a woman.  I am a teacher, one of the most stereotypical careers for a female.  I like to cook and bake.  I want to have children.  I would probably even love to be a stay at home Mom for awhile (not that I ever expect this to be a reality in this economy).  There are days when I really hate not having a man around to hang a mirror, change a light bulb or take out the garbage.  I can do most of these things – I just don’t always want to.  I like clothing with lace and pastel colours.  All of these things make me cringe a little bit again being a feminist – I feel like they might judge me as too traditional.

There is a movement, Women Against Feminism, that I found at as I started writing this blog post.  I was trying to define Feminism and I found this…

(If you have a bit more time listen to this … http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2482138956)

Listening to the first soundcloud post made me realize that I don’t agree.  I think that we can be feminist without man-hating, bra-burning or any of the rest of it.  It is about having the space to be who we are.  (And here I must ask the question – do we allow this of men???).

In the end I realized that I am a feminist who was raised by a bunch of (male and female) feminists.  I’m not a feminist in a stereotypical bra-burning, man-hating kind of way.  Let’s throw this stereotype away please.  I’m a feminist because I simply believe that I, and all other women, are equal.  It never occurred to me that I wasn’t.  I’m a feminist because I don’t think we are *quite there* yet in our society.

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(I could insert a discussion here about women in other parts of the world but this post is already too long).

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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