Feminist Manifesto

I recently saw this post from my beloved Bustle:


My immediate response was a resounding,  “Hell yeah!” First, I need, love, appreciate, need coffee, and I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to smell it brewing first thing in the morning. But, the second line of the post resonated with me at much more profound level, which in turn caught my attention because these seem to be pretty basic ideas and it’s a Facebook post, meant to be “read” before quickly scrolling on to the next thing. But let’s break it down:

  1. I want to live in a CULTURE wherein women have equal pay. How the attitudes, core beliefs, and values go, so too goes the culture. The fact that we continue to have unequal pay based on sex reflects that, as a culture, we still value women less–we value their time, their intelligence, their work ethic, their production–less. I want to live in a culture that pays based on the merit of one’s work rather than her body/gender (because let’s face it, we still haven’t managed to untangle the physical form –> body and the cultural norms attached to bodies –> gender).
  2. I want to live in a culture where women…are in a constant state of celebrating their bodies. Today I walked through a campus where I teach and was proud to see women of all shapes and ages wearing their own styles–from shorts to dresses, from long hair to buzz cuts. Each women looked–wait for it–like themselves. My thoughts and beliefs regarding my own body are battlegrounds wherein I fight for the value and beauty of my own English/German fair skin, freckles, blue eyes, and curves–aspects of my form that I truly love as they make me, me. I know it’s not the norm to say (or type) it, but I do celebrate these aspects of my body, and I’m working on accepting the rest. 😉
  3. I want to live in a culture wherein women…are in a constant state of celebrating their minds. I am fortunate to be surrounded by capable, intelligent, insightful women on the regular, but I still encounter women acting simpler than they are. When women read, learn, and discuss–reflecting and growing their intelligence–they are unstoppable, and I question a culture wherein anyone is encouraged (directly or indirectly) to act less than they are.
  4. I want to live in a culture wherein women…are in a constant state of celebrating each other. When I think about my body or my work, it ain’t men I’m worried about pleasing–it’s other women, which is a damn shame. Certainly there are patriarchal powers that affect how we see ourselves, and men are a part of the culture that keeps women constantly questioning every little thing they do, from diet to dress to work, but women consistently undermine one another in these areas. If you work, you should be at home with your kids. If you are at home with your kids, you should be working. If you are fat, you should be thin, but not too thin, or best: run and diet so that you have zero fat and then “augment” your body to make it just so. It’s a never-ending, no-win situation that is supported by other women, and we all fall together.

I needed this simple yet powerful post to help me remember what I believe in and what I’m fighting for, for myself, my daughter, my friends. I believe that each of us is beautiful, smart, and worthy of equal treatment based on merit, including promotion and pay, and that by continually working to shape the culture we can all embrace the awesomeness we already have.

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