I am female. I am a girl. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am strong. I am courageous. I am a fighter. I am a dreamer. I am intelligent. I am tenacious. I am independent to a fault. I am a believer. I am an optimistic.
I am a daughter.
What I am not, what I refuse to be, is a feminist.
Because, to be a feminist, I must embody a character trait I do not hold within my heart: anger. To become a feminist, I must clutch onto this theory of females being weak. I must see injustice wherever I turn, and protest against it–however slight, however mundane, however inscrutable. I must scream against inequality between genders, by making myself a product of that inequality. I must point out variances between the gender roles, and deem them bad.
But, you see, I am my mother’s daughter. She is a remarkable woman, and teaches me daily about how to be female. She is the product of her mother, an equally strong, remarkable woman. I am the culmination of generations of women who understand that the worth of a person is not found in the male, or the female, but in the heart, the spirit, and the mind. We embrace the steadfast, the love, the joy that comes from being unique unto ourselves.
My mother never speaks of her youth, but I know she joined the Coast Guard, worked in biochemistry, went to Baylor, met my father, fell in love, and raised three daughters. If I ask my dad who rules the household, he’ll declare–with pride–that it is my mother. She’s the force that keeps our family whole. She is the foundation, the beams, the walls, and the roof. She embraces us, encourages us, and empowers us–her family–to be the people we are meant to be, and achieve greatness wherever we can. Because, we can, and she knows it, deep within her heart.
My mother is who makes me a woman, a mother, a dreamer, and an optimist. She teaches her daughters to focus on what we can learn from life. She teaches us to be strong, to stand on our own, and to find completeness within ourselves. She is the reason I set my life goals on what I can do, not who I can marry.
There are five life goals I desired in my youth, as a female: to be involved with MENSA, to earn a college degree, to teach the writing process to children, to gain a doctorate, and to become a writer. I never think, not once, that I might not be “good enough” to complete any of those tasks. I never think, not once, about being intimidated by my life goals. It’s my life. I know my worth. I never think that a boy, marriage, or children is the only future I can handle, because I’m female. I never doubt my worth as a human, because of my body. Not to mention, if admission ever becomes free, I would rock the MENSA world.
My mother is the force behind my beliefs. She teaches me that I am enough, and I am worthy. None of this is a new idea. It’s not a feminist concept, either.
Being a strong, independent female, one who stands on her own two feet, is not the crux of feminism. Theirs is a theory of suppression, relying heavily on vengeful attitudes toward men. It is not bold to hate men, because another woman tells you men are better. It’s not correct to believe success comes from fear of opening your mouth, or asserting opinion. It’s insane to push and prod the concepts of gender roles and gender inequality to fit a concept, a mold, an agenda.
I am the product of a non feminist, female-dominated household. We girls, all three of us, are not called princesses. We are not loved because of the shape of our bodies, the clothes that we wear, or the color of our hair. If fact, my mother wears makeup only on rare occasions. Her greatest compliment to me is, “When you smile, the world smiles with you.”
In saying this, she tells me that my worth comes from my heart, and the love I so freely give to others.
The heart that will never be open to the belief that I need to fight a theory in which I do not believe. I reject the premise that women have to rise above a man, in order to feel superior. Why? Because I am pretty freaking amazing, just as I am. To jump on the feminist bandwagon, I need to first accept the notion that a man can be smarter, and more respected, than a woman–and then I need to spend the rest of my life angrily fighting the cause.
But, I don’t believe it.
Which is why, when raising my child, I do not force the concepts of gender acceptance. I do not allow him to buy a dinosaur, and then buy a dollie to fill the gender gap. Trust me, he’ll play with the dollie, but she’ll probably wind up being eaten by a dinosaur. How do I know that? Because dinosaurs eat everything in my house.
I teach my son to respect people–all people–especially mommy. I teach him to be nice, be fair, be gentle, and be kind. I am told my views are antiquated, because, when speaking about my child–who is a boy–I do not first consider the premise that a girl can be “just as good” as my son.
Why do I need to consider that a girl can be “just as good” in order to raise my child? That mother can worry about what she is teaching her child. I will worry about what I am teaching mine. Mine learns respect and love for all mankind, without hate, fear, or the ramification of being male.
Because, I am the product of my mother, who taught me the beauty of people, of life, and of believing in my own value–outside of my gender. My son will learn the same, and I will teach him that.