Once upon a time, when I was young and supremely naive, Feminism was a bad word in my mind. It represented a ball-busting, man-hating, angry woman with hairy armpits and a penchant for dirty hair and even dirtier overalls. That takes a lot for me to admit because now, as a 37-year-old woman; a mother, a wife and a person who is passionate in her career, I feel all colours of ashamed that I ever felt that way.
As I grew older – and no doubt wiser – I began to understand that I was raised to be a feminist by two feminists. My parents instilled in me and my siblings that we could be ANYTHING we wanted to be when we grew up provided we put in the work to do so. We all had our chores in the home and my brother had to pull equal weight when it came to the domestic stuff. Growing up, my mum worked bloody hard both inside and outside of the home, as well as being very vocal and assertive about the things that mattered to her. My dad was supportive of ALL of our dreams, encouraging my brother, sister and I to fiercely pursue our careers and our passions and to buck back against anyone who told us any different.
It’s only now, looking back, that I see that the reason I thought feminism was something that didn’t apply to me was because I had all of the luxuries it afforded me without a true understanding of what the word actually meant.
A feminist is someone who believes in equal rights for the sexes. Plain and simple. A penis is no more worthy than a vagina and therefore, shouldn’t be treated as such, but in some people’s minds, feminism is still a dirty word that conjures that image I once had of a man-hating, angry chick. Running equal firsts with kindness, there is nothing more important for my husband and I to teach our kids, a daughter and a son, than their equal worthiness in life.
This week at a blogging conference, Kim Kardashian said that she does not identify as a feminist. “I don’t think I am,” she said. “I don’t like labels. I just think I do what makes me happy and I want women to be confident and I’m so supportive of women.”
“I love to support other women, but I’m not the free-the-nipple type girl…Just, like, no hate. That’s my thing.”
Um….so, you ARE a feminist Kimmy. You just don’t recognise it because in your mind, maybe you have the image that many of us grew up thinking a feminist was, not what it is in reality? It’s disappointing because as a woman with so much media-pull and gazillions of young female fans, I’d think Kim would be better versed in this. You don’t need to be all about “free-the-nipple” to be a feminist Kim, you need to do EXACTLY what you’re doing – what you love. Making a career, a family or just choosing your own path in life without it being dictated for you or limiting you is what we’re all banging on about. I really wish Kim would identify as a feminist, because her ability to live her life and have her very lucrative career is because of what countless women who have come before her have allowed her to do.
All you need in order to be a feminist is a belief in gender equality. That’s it. If you’re a woman who works 100 hours in a high-powered career, you’re a feminist. If you’re a stay-at-home mum who loves spending time with your kids and running a household, you’re a feminist too. Doing what YOU want makes you a feminist. No hairy armpits required…even though that’s okay too.
Here are some of our favourite Aussie men voicing their support for gender equality…