Are you a feminist or an asshole?
I’m just going to assume that you’re a feminist.
And if you’re not, you’re an asshole. Those are the only 2 choices.
Even if you don’t label yourself as a feminist, whether you’re a woman or man, married or single, a tree hugger or corporate player, young or old as shit, if you believe that women should be equal to men, then you’re a feminist. Simple.
Looking back on my childhood, I realize that for a few years I was being raised by one of each – a feminist and an asshole.
And I distinctly remember, at about 10 years old, being pissed off at this realization.
The family was on a roadtrip, all 5 of us shoved into one car. My older step-brother and little sister in the back with me, mom and (asshole) stepdad up front. My step-brother was rambling on about all of the different “totally awesome” (it was the 80’s) careers he was going to pursue, including astronaut, pilot, and soldier. Not to be outdone, I decided to say out loud what I thought was a powerful, “totally awesome” goal;
“I’m going to be a career woman.”
Laughter. From everyone. Except my little sister, who was either too young or just didn’t give a shit.
Before I figured out what they thought I said, I was devastated. Embarrassed that my desire to be something that I thought was revolutionary and strong and unfeminine was laughable. I teared up with rage, a reaction I still have and loathe to this day.
Within minutes, I realized that they were laughing because they thought I said “I want to be a queer woman”, which would cause a reaction to any family. To be fair, if it was a moment that I was announcing my coming out, my mom and sister would not have laughed or cared, but my super awesome step-dad would have completely torn me apart. But, instead, my announcing that I wanted to be a career woman ended up with me shouting and screaming from the back of the car, unknowingly announcing that I was a feminist.
Mom quickly figured out what was happening and tried to shut it down. Shut him down. But that was impossible. He made it clear that it was just as funny that Amanda, the overweight, loud middle-child, wanted to be a successful leader as it was that she would announce that she wanted to be gay. He never let it go, and would probably still tell that story if I ever had the displeasure of talking to him.
No surprise that the marriage didn’t last, and within a year or so of that roadtrip, the asshole had been kicked out of our house and our lives. I wish I could say that he had no affect on me in anyway, but unfortunately, when you’re part of a child’s life, it’s hard to avoid. In that moment, like most of my time with him, I saw that he enjoyed making the women in his life feel less than enough. Probably because he has a tiny dick, along with his tiny brain.
Thankfully, I had a mom and others in my life that made sure I was raised to know better. To know that whether I wanted to have a career or a family or be queer or straight really didn’t fucking matter. Mom did that by getting rid of the asshole and never laughing at her kids’ goals. Even when my little sister said she wanted to be a squirrel when she grew up.
And she eventually married a man who is proud to be surrounded by a shitload of strong, intelligent women, not intimidated by them. But there are still, in motherfucking 2017, plenty of men who laugh at feminism and women who have to endure it. Plenty of assholes everywhere.
This is one of many reasons I’ll be joining the Women’s March on Denver tomorrow. Politics aside (well, kind of), I want my kids to see their mom be a proud feminist, just like my mom was and still is.
And I want them to see, in action, how you peacefully deal with an asshole – speak up, fight back, and get that fucker out of your life.