Friday, February 11, 2005

Here's to the ladies in my family

Someone asked me recently if I still felt the same way I did back in college when I was "so into feminism and women's issues." Yes, by the way, that person was my father, and yes, by the way, I still DO feel the same way about feminism and "women's issues," albeit with fewer 20-page term papers coming out of my mouth using words like "gynocracy."

So I started thinking about why I got "into" feminism in the first place and how my view has changed since my 19 year old self wandered around the streets of Boulder wearing cut off jean shorts with purple tights underneath.

This is a complex issue to blog about and one that could take pages and pages, so I'll keep it short and save the longer version for my essay collection being published at some point in the next 20 years. For my entire life, I've been surrounded by strong, resourceful, independent women in my family that taught me, in short, a woman can do anything she sets her mind to without depending on a man to do her thinking (or her banking, or her gardening, or her car repairs...) for her. The women in my family didn't have a lot of choice in this matter -- they all found themselves suddenly on their own, without a man, being forced to make their way in the world. Death, divorce, you know, it happens. But they gritted their teeth, figured out a plan, and made a life for themselves and their kids.

And I've always taken that mentality for granted -- that independent, headstrong gutsy attitude of pulling strength from onself instead of relying on a handsome prince to rescue you in a tough situation.I've always taken it for granted that of course a woman should be allowed to make her own decisions about her body and her family and her politics and her daycare and what type of milk she buys. Why would it be any different? Why couldn't a woman be absolutely anything she set her mind to be, whether that's an astronaut or a soldier or a stay at home mom? Who could possibly argue that women shouldn't have the freedoms and the rights to acheive everything a man could? Have you MET the women in my family? They would collectively kick your ass if you tried to tell them they couldn't do something.

Hmmm. All that said, I still wouldn't turn a guy down if he wanted to be all He Man-Like and carry my groceries for me. Does that make me a big girlie girl now? I think not -- I'm 31 and I don't wear the comfortable shoes I did in college, so I'm all for a little help when its offered.

Props to the ladies in my family. I don't say it enough (or at all) but I'm proud of the legacy that you've created.

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