I don’t know where it started. Perhaps it was when my mom gave me the masturbating talk instead of the sex talk when I was fourteen. She was delivering the message loud and clear – You can do whatever you want without a man – masked within the awkward parent-to-child talk that comes with your daughter going on birth control.
Or maybe it was because I saw the life of a stay-at-home mom and realized that wasn’t for me – and if that wasn’t for me, I was going to have to fight for my career.
I remember reading about a study called “The Second Shift” which illustrated that women were going to work, working the 9-5, and then coming home to their kids, their second shift.
I remember asking myself, “Why don’t the men share the second shift?”
It was a pivotal moment: understanding that women were breaking through in their careers but still being expected to be a 24/7 mom. Nothing loosed up, nothing equaled out. The work wasn’t being shared amongst a man and a woman – women had to do both.
I suppose these little things started a fire beneath me. It made me question – what type of woman do I want to be? Do I want to be a mom? Do I want to be a stay-at-home mom? Do I want an all encompassing career? What sort of relationship do I want with my partner? What does co-parenting look like? What will my family look like?
What infuriated me the most was that I had to ask these questions. I had to worry about how I was going to balance a family and a career; I couldn’t help but notice that this internal dialogue of ominous questioning that clouded my future as a woman was not a mental agony for men because a career and a family had always been a no brainer for them all along.
But let’s back up; I am not a feminist out of rage or hate for men (even though I do get a little bit angry at times). I think we can all say the stereotype of an angry feminist has come and gone and should be diminished from our memories. Today, feminism celebrates all women – the career woman, the stay-at-home mom, the woman without kids, the woman taking the off-beaten path, etc. It doesn’t matter what path you choose as a woman in my book, as long as you chose it with passion and purpose.
It also unfortunately needs to be said that I identify as an intersectional feminist, which aims to include women of color. Again, the fact that we need a separate label for this proves the point that we need this entire movement in the first place.
I have to admit – it is tedious writing this. Do I mention today’s political and tumultuous climate? Do I mention that our president has used inappropriate, offensive, and crude language when speaking about women? Do I mention the recent sex scandals that have been rolling out from Hollywood, one by one? Do I mention the “ME TOO” movement – which was so overwhelming because we all have a story? Do I mention that more men need to be feminists and that this isn’t just a woman’s movement? Do I mention that feminism just means equality for both genders?
Whatever I do and do not mention, one thing is true: every ounce of my body believes in women’s rights and the power of women. This is exhibited in my podcast, which I market as the smart, foxy, and curated roundtable for passionate women. I interview a different woman each week in order to uncover how she persevered through challenges and how she found her successes. I talk about their lowest points, I talk about their highest points, and what connected the dots.
Somewhere in all of this messy predicament, I reflect on what it means to me to be a feminist. And it I put it quite simple. I want to be treated the way a man is treated in his career. I want my fiancé and I to be treated equally when it comes to creating a family. I want nothing to hold me back because I am a woman or a mom. I want to succeed and proceed as an empowered woman who does not cower to societal standards of beauty. I want to rise above the extreme pressures put on women today and show that success is also ours for the taking.
I am a feminist because I need to be – because we all need to be.