Saturday, March 24, 2012

Recognizing the Feminist Within

The word "Feminist" usually conjures images of icons like Sojourner Truth and Gloria Steinem, and rightly so. Without these women and the countless others who fought so hard, and those who continue to fight, where would we be today? We'd be in 1950. We'd have no voice. We would be without freedom. That's what it boils down to; the freedom to be a productive human being in the capacity of your choice; the freedom to choose to be a reproductive human being. That's it. Male or female, that's what we all want. Does that make us all Feminists?

I never considered myself to be a Feminist. I actually had to think about it when someone called me one recently. I suppose I didn't think about it because I'm a Humanist, but the recent "War on Women" has me rethinking a few things. I think back to the first moment I became a Feminist. Of course, I didn't know it then. I just knew that something wasn't right. It was the first time I said out loud, "That's not fair!"

I was in Catholic school and all of us prepubescent girls were taken to the cold, musky basement far away from the boys to be shown a film about menstruation and reproduction. God forbid boys learned about it, too. Seriously. God forbade it. The film was a cartoon which was stopped every so often by Sister Knuckle Rapper to tell us, "The reason it hurts is because you're all sinners because you were born female." She smiled when she said it.

That moment changed me forever. I started to look at things in a different way. It wasn't like the time I tried to pee over the fence in the backyard like my brother when I was four. It was a lot less hilarious and didn't involve yellow shoe laces. It was serious business. It was the business of equality. I started to see unfairness everywhere. I saw it at home, in magazines, on television, the radio. I've been fighting against it ever since without even realizing it. It's become second nature. I don't carry signs, I don't belong to organizations, I just try to live free.

I have no children. That has always been my choice. I'm not complaining about paying taxes to fund public schools for other people's children, or for people with lots of kids to get medicaid, WIC, etc. I'm not complaining that paying a tax for contraception is a hell of a lot cheaper. I'm complaining that there are people who are complaining about the wrong thing. Uninformed people at that. People who want to stick a wand up my vagina should I choose an abortion after being raped. People who know nothing about the human body or medicine making rules about what I do with my body.

I now see time going backwards. People trying to take away that way of life that I have taken for granted. Do we have to take to the streets again to regain the simple freedom of choosing when and if we reproduce? States passing bills that keep women from access to that basic freedom. Contraception is Freedom.

Yes. I'm willing to take to the streets to maintain that freedom. Yes. I'm a Feminist.

No comments:

Post a Comment