Inspiring Lives Magazine Spring 2017: Issue 4 - Page 13

T he first time I heard the word “feminist,” I was watching a female astronaut float across the TV screen. Her long permed hair flowed gracefully around her, unrestrained, in the weightless atmosphere. She was ethereal. She was what I pictured when I heard “Women can do anything men can do.” But there was that word, “feminist,” uttered with poison and an eye roll. It sounded filthy. I knew then that it was a word filled with too much meaning, too many meanings. Even after the women of the 70s threw out their bras, the little girls of the 80s were told that boys pulled our hair because they liked us and our skirts and shorts had to come to the bottom of our fingertips so we didn’t distract the boys. Because they couldn’t control themselves. Because it was our problem, our fault. In college, my girlfriends and I stayed away from the fraternity houses because a mutual friend got drugged at a party once. She was lucky, though. Another friend drove her home before anything hap- pened. Because it does happen. And it’s the woman’s fault for being there. For relaxing. For trusting. For not keeping her legs together. For wearing that tight blouse that made her feel beautiful. As an adult, I was once called “babydoll” by my manager. Only once. Because I told him it was wrong. Because I told him not to do it again. Because I was lucky that he backed down. I was lucky that he didn’t fire me. What does all this have to do with feminism? Women can be doctors. Women can join the military. They can be actors or journalists or carpenters. They can work while their husbands stay home with the kids. They have choices in career. Isn’t that what it was all about? What I dealt with were brushes with inequality. So why do we not stop this nonsense? Why do we insist this isn’t equality? Why don’t we shut up and get over it? For all the women you see living their dreams, we are still judging them for their perfect smiles, their thigh gaps, how gracefully they age. We wonder if they are pregnant when they have a slight roundness to their abdomens instead of letting them enjoy that ice cream cone. We pick away at their shell, not caring what lies within. Women are judged for nursing or not nursing our babies. We are judged for wearing that dress to this event. We are expected to keep a clean house and apologize to someone dropping by when we fall short. “Please excuse the mess. I have been so busy with work and the kids and I paused to watch a TV show for a few minutes—.” We are held to standards of a bygone era—the good old days, which I keep hearing touted as some strange golden time in America— when men brought home the bacon and women kept house and raised the children and there wasn’t any crime…or ambition for women to want something more…and blacks drank from separate fountains. Was this paradise? Those with skin in shades of bronze, mocha, or eb- ony deal with worse. A Filipino friend once told me that she was frequently asked for sexual favors by men she had just met. She shrugged it off, saying that a lot of them think that all Filipino women do porn. It was one of the saddest jokes I had heard. And this hap- pened in the United States. Where we are supposed to be e Յ)%$ѽͥͥݥѠݽ)ձѥѡѥ́́䁵ȸ)$ЁՅ$ՑЁѕɅɔ́)͠ȀɽՐՉȄɕѕ)ѡЁѡЁͼ$ձݡѕٕȁ$݅ѕ)ݡ$ɕ܁$ЁՅ)]䁉ѼͥЁȁ͕́ɕѕѡ)ݔɔՅ͔ٕeЁѕ䁄͉)ȃqݕѡѕt䁄́ȁɅѼٔ)ȁѡхЀ؁e͡ Ё́ѡЁٕ)éѠݔѥʹݔ)չѥٕݽѡUѕMхѕ̰ѡа)ɕ䁅ͥɕ͕ɥͱݥѡЁ)ݥЁȁɕݔЁչѥ)ݽѼȁѽȁȁ䁡Ѡѕȁ)Ёѡɔ͡ݔЁչѥݽ)ݥѠݼ՝ѕ́ѡЁ́͡ɕɼ)ՍݥѡЁͽЁٕ䁽ݡ)ͅ她qeЁԁ݅ЁѼ䁙ȁt)Mݡ䁥̃qͷtݽɐ)M䰁ͽѡ́ɔѕ̸)剔ͽѡɔ ЁѡمЁɥ)MAI%9)%9MA%I%91%YL(