I have a card (like a calling card) I like to give out that describes me with various phrases, including: feminist, swing dancer, computer geek, and tea consultant. I'm a tea-partying feminist. I enjoy sewing and baking and love to wear skirts. And I'm very concerned about women's rights and equalities. I think these various parts of me blend well. Feminist isn't the "F-word" and it certainly doesn't mean I hate men. I hate discrimination. And tea parties fit well into the feminism world. Tea parties are, after all, an historical tool women have used to organize for causes. (I'll be writing more about that later this week.)
I'm declaring this to be Feminist Week on my blog. The topics will cover various aspects of feminism - through my filters. And I'll make at least a couple of connections to tea, as well.
If you don't like the label "feminist," it's OK - but keep reading. I know that you're concerned about the equality of our sisters. For example, just yesterday the NY Times published this comparison of earnings between men and women. The data comes from the population survey for 2007 and includes at least 50,000 responses for each sex. Move your mouse over the dots to see the differences. I'm practically screaming from my chair. I know all about the "opt-out" to have babies issue and why it impacts the numbers. And I think that's bunk. If men had the babies, do you think they'd earn less? In addition, a whole bunch of women don't have the luxury to stay home with their kids, or have healthier balance to their lives by working, or just enjoy the work stimulation! Second, an increasing number of us are choosing not to have kids (me included). I'm sure this opt-out business does impact the numbers, but I'm even more sure that there is institutional bias in the mix.
I am fortunate to have been raised in a time when the way for women has been pretty easy. I grew up under Title IX sports. Even though I didn't play sports in high school, I had girlfriends who did. I grew up always thinking I would go to college. I've always thought I was just as smart (often smarter) than the boys. In some respects, I've had it pretty easy thanks to the hard, hard work by women (and some men) who've gone before me. The question is this - Is that enough? What about the women who come next? What about my niece? There is much more to do. Because even though I've had it pretty easy, I have experienced discrimination and other messages that say "you can't" because I'm female.
For example, when I was a young girl, about 10, I thought I wanted to be a vet. Not a small-animal vet (dogs/cats), but a large-animal farm vet (horses/cows). I mentioned this to our family vet one day and he told me I should consider dogs and cats because I was too petite to work on large animals. I didn't want to work on dogs and cats, so I gave up the idea. My little 10-year-old self accepted that lie. The truth is, there are lots of women vets who work on large animals, regardless of the size of the woman. It's more about technique and tools than heft. The family vet was well-intentioned, I'm sure. But it's no excuse. I don't want anyone to tell my niece that she can't be whatever she wants because she's... too small, too big, too smart, not smart enough, too pretty, not pretty enough, a girl. This is just one story. There are others.
I think that's enough for today.
I think that's enough for today.