This column sounded like a fantastic idea, as I smarted off to a friend over coffee.
“Omigod, I should write about being a casual feminist. Just how being a feminist is a reasonable, no-brainer, unscary thing to be, so we don’t let the trolls define us. You know, make it accessible.”
When I tried to put pixels to paper, things got much muddier. How do I do this in a way that is lighthearted, but not dismissive of the real problems, pain and heartache? Without making light of the heroes and hard work past and present? I want to shore them up, not belittle their strength or impact. I want to show how endemic is the problem. From insidious laws that seek to control our bodies and interfere in the most private and painful decisions a person can make, to really poor marketing decisions regarding pink disposable pens and stripper poles for tots. People got paid to sit in meetings and fund this stuff, you guys.
And don’t even get me started on the atrocities. It’s hard to look, but we must not look away.
Feminism, the belief that women are people just like any other people endowed with the same rights and responsibilities, should not be difficult to get behind. I don’t ever again want to hear a bold, successful, hardworking woman say in an interview, “I wouldn’t call myself a feminist.” Because that’s just placating the stupid.
We shouldn’t let anyone – troll and/or member of Congress – redefine that word. I know many women who support the feminist leaders and activists among us, and who are contributing to society, and just going about the business of making the world in their image. And who may, at least if they’re me, be frankly mystified that we’re even still talking about this.
Feminism is too important to let people shy away from it because they’re afraid of being perceived as bitches. I want to make it easier for women to speak their minds, to feel entitled to a place at the table, and to acting to protect their own health and well-being. Add it to the list, it is just another thing to be done.
And I mean all kinds of women. Not just white, cis, het, married mothers like myself (wanted to get that out here up front). I’ve benefited from tremendous opportunity and privilege. I don’t believe I understand the formidable challenges faced by those with different circumstances and demographics.
But I want to learn from you so we can build a brighter world for everyone, including my kids.
So hi there, I’m the Casual Feminist. Because when I was growing up, I’d just assumed we’d been over this shit already. And it seems like every day the road keeps getting longer as new legislation and new idiots are in the news. You’ll find me here on the first Wednesday of each month. Let’s talk.
Next time I’m sharing examples of real-life conversations women have had that would have gone differently if they’d been men. Hit me up in the comments if you want to share.
Thea Joselow is a digital media writer, editor and social media director based in Bethesda, Maryland. She has worked for such illustrious institutions as National Public Radio, Smithsonian Magazine, and at a strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C., but please don’t hold that against them. Thea likes to think she has a good sense of humor. All opinions, omissions and offenses are entirely her own. She can be found on Twitter at @tjoselow.