I loved this quote from my friend Casey Christensen.
Within my understanding, feminism is about achieving political, social, and economic equality for people regardless of gender. It’s not about treating women like delicate flowers who can’t be criticized or making all women feel like whatever they choose to do with their lives is okay just because they chose it–something I have to remind myself often. And then sometimes I hear a statement like this one that is so clear and true, reminding me that the scope of our choices are so varied and nuanced that I can’t assume to know the motives behind them. As much as the progress of women is about economic and social equality, that can’t be achieved without a little trust. A little breathing room.
Feminism is also about giving women the power and confidence to go on their own journeys–”figuring it out,” as Tavi said–and allowing space for personal development to take place. I think it’s true that even as consciously empowered women, we fall victim to the woman-hating behaviors, the girl-on-girl crime, the self-loathing that we’ve learned for generations. The messages we hear through every channel telling us that we don’t know best, that we should be ashamed when we mess up, that developing self-knowledge and power is dangerous. That we should all be against each other, offering judgment but no praise. Since embracing feminism, I have so much praise. Instead of seeing other women as flawed or in competition with me (in beauty, sense of humor, dance moves, literally anything) I see them as individuals who I can relate to, even if it seems like we have nothing in common. It’s made me more focused on the larger problems of violence against women and rights issues affecting all of us, which actually (at least indirectly) affects every person. It’s made me less focused on non-problems born out of my own insecurity and jealousy, like making fun of other women. Why do we do that? Why are we catty? What would happen if we all decided to wait before passing judgment and see each other as allies? That is a radical idea.
Today, I love having female friends. I love letting my guard down and feeling safe there. I’m disappointed in myself that it took me 26 years to realize that. But I guess I should go easy on myself–it’s all part of my own journey.