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.