You are a Feminist. No Buts.

I’m not quite sure which feminist wave I fall into, but I am one. I’m proud to say that even though there are many young women these days who often start their sentences with, “I’m not a feminist, but …”

But I believe in equal pay for equal work.

But I think women can do anything men can do.

But I think girls can become any profession buys can.

But, but, but.

I have one more “but” to add to that list.

But, you really ARE a feminist. I know it’s scary and I know you’re afraid that if you own that word because you think people will hate you or that it will damage your brand. But I need these feminist apologists to own their feminism because my daughter, and lots of other girls, are listening and processing the “I’m not a feminist, but …” meme.

The message of the “but” is a bad one for my daughter and all our daughters, as well as for any progress for gender equality.

Katy Perry says, ” “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.”  My tween daughter loves Katy Perry and her music. We both admire her personal story about how she was true to herself and the obstacles she had to overcome  to become who she is today. But I have a bone to pick with Katy, and a many other celebrities.

So many other high-profile women, like the former First Lady of France Carla Sarkozy. Actress Melissa Leo. Lady Gaga. Sarah Jessica Parker. Juliette Binoche. Bjork. Demi Moore. Even some university administrators. And the high-profile new mother that many of us love to hate — Marissa Mayer — who says she believes in equal rights for women, but that the word feminist is just too negative for her.

I wonder if she’d be saying that if her baby was a girl? And do I really have to remind Mayer that she wouldn’t be anywhere close to where she is today without the world of women who have been proud to call themselves feminists who came before her? Because I’m really not sure what’s negative about “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

Ladies, you really have to stop. Especially the high-profile, successful women our daughters (and sons) are looking up to and using as potential role models. Because I don’t ever want to hear the words “I’m not a feminist, but …” come out of my daughter’s mouth. And to help with that, I’m afraid that as a mother, I’m going to have to cut off access to celebrities and highly accomplished women from my daughter who’ve adopted the anti-feminist “but” theory. Sorry Katy and Lady Gaga. And, yes, I’m talking to you Marissa Mayer.

My goal as a mother, a woman and a feminist is to make sure that my daughter embraces being a feminist, as well. It’s my job to help her become a strong, confident person who believes she has the ability and the right to be whoever she wants, to be paid and treated equally, and to not have her rights or abilities compromised because of her gender. That’s right — a feminist.

If you want that for the children in your life, and for the women in your life, don’t be afraid of the fact that you are a feminist, too. No buts about it. If you’re claiming that you’re not, then it’s time to ask yourself what you’re really afraid of.

  • http://theradicalhousewife.com Shannon Drury

    My daughter likes Katy Perry, too, but I have a devilish plan afoot. I am slowly introducing her to the infectious, funky, and wholly FEMINIST beats of Le Tigre whenever I can, and it’s working!

    • http://joannebamberger.com Joanne Bamberger

      Shannon, I’ll have to check them out!

  • http://thegirlrevolution.com/ Tracee Sioux

    I think our girls have no experience with real discrimination because the work of the feminists has been so successful.

    To them what we call feminism is normal.

    It’s normal for the pediatrician, vet, lawyer, principal, mayor, CEO, presidential candidate, accountant, writer, ministers, TV anchor, etc. to be a woman. It’s normal for her mom to be a business owner. It’s normal for girls to grow up and be anything they want. It’s normal for women to get paid equally (and the little boys agree, the concept that this would be untrue is completely abnormal and foreign.) It’s normal for girls to go to college and major in whatever floats their boat. It’s normal for men or women to become rich or climb corporate ladders. It’s normal for dads to do housework.

    “Feminism” holds women apart from the status quo, from their perspective. Apart from their normal. The goal of feminism was to make all of these things normal. Our girls have benefited from it, but see no real reason to take a stance against their normal. Or do define themselves separately when feminism is already manifest. They already have it.

    • http://joannebamberger.com Joanne Bamberger

      Tracee, I appreciate what you are saying, but our daughters’ “normal” is also that there are not equal numbers of women in those jobs, and most young women don’t seem to acknowledge any discrimination until they experience it personally. There is a huge need to educate our daughters about the fact that things don’t get tough in terms of opportunities & pay until after entry level jobs. Just ask the women journos who wrote the Newsweek cover story a few years ago about the 40th anniversary of the gender discrimination suit filed by the women who went before them. Not only did they not know about the historical aspect, when they wrote the article they were just getting to a point in their careers where it was happening to them. Aside from all that, the point is this — if you are for the equal treatment & opportunities for men & women, by definition you are a feminist. Many on the right have turned it into a dirty word — it is far from it.

    • http://oldermomdiaries.blogspot.com/ Deborah Owensby Moore

      Unfortunately, it is still normal for only men to become President of the United States. And it is still normal for 80% of the U.S. Senate to be men. I am totally with you Joanne. I want my daughter to understand and embrace feminism. And yes, you can also call me a liberal!

    • Kathy S.

      So, it sounds like Tracee is saying women have won our liberation. I was glad to see the comment that Dads do housework.

      But do they do their fair share? Do they also cook and help the children with homework, go to the parent-teacher meetings, sign the children up for sports or scouts and do the necessary associated volunteer work, plan for summer camp or some enrichment? What about pulling their weight in planning family vacations or family get-togethers? Who does all the planning work for holiday and birthday celebrations?

      I could go on. Very few couples have an equal division of labor in the home in my experience. I know I wasn’t able to get it and these issues compromised my work life… but I also know there are no personal solutions to this social problem. We still need women’s liberation!

      I do know a few stay-at-home-Dads. But they are still a tiny minority and I don’t believe that is the ideal. We all need shorter working hours so we can divide the “home” work equally.

    • Kathy S.

      So, it sounds like Tracee is saying women have won our liberation. I was glad to see the comment that Dads do housework. But do they do their fair share? Do they also cook and help the children with homework, go to the parent-teacher meetings, sign the children up for sports or scouts and do the necessary associated volunteer work, plan for summer camp or some enrichment? What about pulling their weight in planning family vacations or family get-togethers? Who does all the planning work for holiday and birthday celebrations?

      I could go on. Very few couples have an equal division of labor in the home in my experience. I know I wasn’t able to get it and these issues compromised my work life… but I also know there are no personal solutions to this social problem. We still need women’s liberation!

      I do know a few stay-at-home-Dads. But they are still a tiny minority and I don’t believe that is the ideal. We all need shorter working hours so we can divide the “home” work equally.

  • Levi Wood

    You want me to do more around the house??? OKAY! I’ll continue to work 70+ hours a week, pay for everything, plan all meals & entertainment, do the dishes, do the laundry, provide counseling, consolation, and guidance, be an on-demand sexual partner, and do whatever activities my FEMINIST wife demands at the drop of a hat without reciprocity for any of it. What else, exactly, would you like me to do???

    Feminist = A woman who wants a man to give her everything without having to do anything for him in return.

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