My birthday was a short week ago. We won’t discuss numbers; I’m not a math person 😉
Anyhow, my mom took me out to lunch this week to celebrate. I was excited. I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like with my parents. The only consolation was that my daughter and niece went, but really that was okay. They’re about the same age and can entertain each other without much adult intervention.
While I was enjoying our conversation and my soup/salad combo, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation taking place at the booth behind ours. It was one of those conversations that’s just background noise until your ears pick up on a certain word. And then you listen to the entire thing whether you want to hear it or not.
It was a conversation that I didn’t want to hear. Why? Because it infuriated me.
A group of adult women was coaching a boy who looked to be 11 or 12 about finding a girlfriend, and later, a wife.
“Isn’t that a good thing, Emma? That women in his life are giving him relationship advice?”
On the surface, yes. But it was the advice that set me on edge. This is what they told him:
“Don’t marry a feminist. You don’t want to marry a girl that’s mean to you and pushes you around.”
“Oh, lord, please whatever you do don’t marry a feminist. No one has time for that drama.”
Mean? Drama? *Insert record scratching sound here*
Here is Merriam Webster’s definition of feminism word for word:
Full Definition of feminism
1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
I don’t see anything about being a bully nor a drama queen in this definition. But, for whatever reason, these women identify all feminists as one, the other, or both.
So, what did I do while listening to these women spew hate about feminism while taking advantage of freedoms feminists of the past fought to give us? (There was no adult male escort with them, they were wearing modern tank tops and shorts, at least one of them had to have a driver’s license, and I’m willing to bet at least one of the three was a registered voter.)
I’m part of the “not my monkeys” camp. Too many people today feel the need to insert themselves where they aren’t invited. Sure, they were having the conversation in a public place, but that doesn’t give me the right to go to their table, barge in, and tell them why I feel they’re wrong. And last time I checked, freedom of speech was NOT directly followed by “…unless it offends someone.”
End of story then, right Emma?
Well, it would’ve been… until I listened to this podcast today:
Stuff Mom Never Told You: NOW & Then: A Feminist Movement Grows Up
This was the first podcast I’d listened to by Stuff Mom Never Told You, and while I’m certain that Cristen and Caroline are perfectly reasonable people, as I listened to them talk proudly about waving an “angry feminist” pennant, my mind flashed back to the women in the restaurant.
Now, I’m imagining that day in college when all the clubs set up booths on the quad and new students sign up for activities, jobs, whatever.
A scowling woman approaches waving a bright red pennant that reads “angry feminist” and yells, “Injustices are all around you! Come! Get ANGRY with us!”
Guaranteed I’m going to back away slowly as to not provoke her.
Now, if that same woman approaches me, smiling, and says, “Did you know that of the 28.8 million small businesses in the US (source), only 9.9 million are owned by women (source)? That’s 34%. We’re working to make that statistic closer to 50%. Would you like to join us?”
Not only would I be willing to join, I’d be willing to do my own research on the inequality of start-up lending.
Which type of feminist do you think the women in the restaurant must have had experience with? So what are they teaching their next generation? Feminists are Drama Queen Bullies. Is that really what we want to be perceived as?
Get to the point, Emma. You’re wasting valuable Poke-Go time.
One of the greatest compliments I ever got on Beasts and Savages was: “This reads like one of the feminist scifi books I used to read in the ’70’s.”
Guess what? I wasn’t angry when I wrote that book.
I’m not angry now. Anger leads to hurtful words and actions.
Passionate, yes. Passion can inspire people to make positive changes.
I’m a feminist, but I’m not a bully. Or a drama queen.
The only time I’ve ever pushed my hubby is during a race to our only bathroom after a longish road trip. He still won. All’s fair when you have to pee. 😉
The only drama I like is on a stage or in a movie. Re: Not My Monkeys.
So, to the boy in the restaurant:
Don’t marry a feminist. BE a feminist.
Nowhere in any dictionary does it say that a feminist has to be a female. (Pretty sure it’s not a law, either.) Do you want a wife that works just as hard as you do to be paid less (re: less houshold income) because she’s a woman? What about fair child care practices for your children? Do you want the same educational/scholarship opportunities for your sons and daughters? Lastly, do you want the women you love to be objectified, talked down to, or denied the feeling of safety by others?
It’s 2016, and these things still happen.
And I can ask you to join our “club” without anger, without yelling, and without waving anything in your face. I’ll even smile. Whadda ya say?
So, do you want to read my “feminist scifi” Beasts and Savages?
You can get it on Amazon here. (Currently $.99 and part of KU)
Want to read it for free? Sign up for my newsletter and it’s yours:Join my newsletter 🙂