My father was raised for a large part of his life by his mother and aunt because his father passed away when he was a child. He then went on to marry and have my sister and me. My sister and I have EIGHT girls (and my little boy) between us. I’ve often thought that these are the reasons that he is such a big feminist. My father never tolerates sexist comments from anyone. He never puts limitations on any of us due to our gender. He has high expectations for us. He believes in our strengths and abilities. He also sees the beauty of our femininity. He expects that we are treated with respect and equality.
He becomes furious when he reads or hears about attacks on women. His heart breaks for women in other countries who are treated as second-class citizens and denied education and basic human rights due only to the fact they are women. He often shares inspiring stories of women who have overcome tragedy, hardship, or sexism. I have always appreciated the fact that he sees and treats women with such respect.
When my college-age daughter begins to talk about feminism as her peers see it, I hear her speak of a version of feminism that I do not recognize. The feminism she describes tends to look at men as the enemy. It seems to suggest that the worst of men is what is typical. It also seems to strip women of their feminine qualities, as if they are the reason men cannot treat us equally. This version of feminism is a twisted form that vaguely resembles true feminism.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”
What my father shows us through his words and actions is true feminism. I hope that my husband and son will follow his lead as some of the biggest feminists I know.