I remember the first time I was called a feminist…actually, I was accused of being a feminist. I was in my early 20s and was just starting my TV news career…and really just getting a tiny glimpse of what was to come. I was defending a story idea when a male colleague looked at me in disgust and said, “What you’re a feminist and hate men now??”
I thought wait what?? I’m not that kind of feminist…wait…no. I was a ball of confusion.
Fast-forward to present day…I received a message from an individual who said they were surprised that I was a feminist. He went on to say “I thought you were someone who could see both sides. I guess I was wrong.”
Can I cue the eye-roll now?
I am a woman.
I want to be treated equally.
I don’t want to be handed something to fill the “woman quota.”
I want to get what I have earned…not what I am owed for simply being a woman.
I just want a seat at the table like everyone else.
I am PRO-WOMAN.
But that does not make me ANTI-MAN.
I can’t lie…bitterness grew and burned inside of me for a long time. Working in the “boys club” for so long will do that to you. I did find myself resenting men for awhile because things seem to come so easy for them. When I was at a TV station back east I realized that men were never criticized for their appearance on-air…they could be fat, bald or gray…they could and would wear the same suit for days at a time…they could speak their mind and would be commended for being “leaders”…they were immediately respected as journalists…they were given the hard-news stories first.
I was on the bitter bus.
But I quickly realized that things had to change. It was never my male colleagues’ fault that things came a little easier for them. It was society as a whole. I feel like there has always been this perception that women can work…but maybe we should be in the background a bit. And if we got a high level position…then it’s only because we HAD TO GET it because we’re a woman.
So I use my voice.
I call people out when they criticize my shade of lipstick…my waist-size or my hair. I speak my mind even more and I am called names other than leaders…but I realized I don’t care. If that’s how people see me…that’s on them. I know my real motivation…I know my intentions.
If women are getting raped and murdered by men…I’m going to be THEIR VOICE. I am going to ask people to stop blaming women for their own murders. This doesn’t mean I am anti-man. I’m anti-psycho person with no soul who thinks they can take whatever they want. If the person behind the crime happens to be a man…then it’s on the individual…not on MEN everywhere.
The moment a woman speaks up…we are labeled. We’re troublemakers…we’re anti-man…we’re too forceful…we’re angry…we’re trying to flip roles at home…we’re trying to overturn time-honored traditions…oh the list goes on.
We’re not trying to take anything from anybody.
We’re not anti-man.
We don’t want to be entitled to anything.
We just want to be heard.
We just want a seat at the table.
We want to be seen eye-to eye.
We want to make the path a little easier for our daughters.
Broken down to its simplest form…that’s what feminism is.
If you don’t believe in all of that…then maybe you’re a sexist.