Sparked by a discussion on one of my message boards, and reading this article, I want to share the following:
I am a feminist. I tried to convince myself (and others) that I wasn't for a long time, but then I realized that it was the way feminist ideas are presented that I didn't agree with, not the ideas themselves.
For instance, I think women and men are inherently equal partners, but different partners with complimentary strengths and weaknesses. These aren't just the obvious physical differences either. Men and women are so vastly different and these differences can show in any way imaginable and still be distinctly feminine or distinctly male. So many times it seems that the feminist movement tries to make women more masculine - "stronger", more forceful, less emotional and sympathetic, basically stripping them of the things that make them feminine. Except for their sexuality, of course.
Sexuality is portrayed as some sort of power card that equalizes. Unfortunately women don't realize that this is just another way for men to think they own us. There's talk of women being free to express and share their sexuality freely with anyone they choose, but if really given the choice, would they share it so freely? Sensuality should be celebrated, not used.
I fully agree that men and women should get equal pay for equal work, and that there shouldn't be vocational limits put on a person because of gender roles. At the same time, I believe men and women have inherently different traits (that manifest to different degrees depending on the person) and that these traits should be explored and used in whatever vocation a person chooses, not hidden or undermined. No doors should be closed based on gender as gender has no ties to ability, intelligence, skill or desire.
I believe in "girl power" - the power to create life, to birth, to nurture, to think with the heart. There is so much about being a woman that has been forgotten and overlooked. In Western culture the power of the feminine has been pushed aside and hidden to the point that those who talk about it are seen as some sort of fanatics. Even the power to be sensual has been taken from us and exploited to the point where women feel uncomfortable in their own skin and ashamed of their sexuality.
I feel that the cultural view of women, especially "strong" women only compounds the problem. Women are constantly feeling pressure and tension, torn between their emotions, their desires and the ideals they feel laid out in front of them by traditions, beliefs, media and society. At times it can feel that no matter what choice she makes someone is being let down or betrayed, usually it turns out that it is the woman herself.
I am a feminist. I am a woman with a degree who has chosen to stay at home with my children. I am a wife who chooses to submit to her husband and defer to his decisions, even when I disagree. I am slowly finding peace with my body and my sexuality as it is and not comparing it to the standard that the male-driven world tries to hold me to.