I am Gen X through and through. Born in the early ’70s, came of age in the ’80s, started my career in ’90s, started a family of my own in the ’00s.
Growing up, I never, ever heard that I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. Because I was too young? Sure. Because power tools are dangerous if you don’t know how to use them? Absolutely. But because I was female? Never.
Does that make me a feminist by default?
Now, granted, I also never tried out for the football team, joined the armed services, or wanted to be a Freemason. And I will admit that I am probably speaking from a place of privilege — I was a prep-school kid in a college town who missed out on grunge because it was against my school’s dress code. But still, my greater point is this: I’ve never felt like I had to prove I was “as good as a guy” because I was an adult before I was even aware that my gender could be an issue.
I think this is why I don’t really relate to the whole “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” school of politics; I think that getting the best candidate for the job into the White House is more important than having a woman in (or a heartbeat away from) the Oval Office. I also think that being a stay-at-home mom is a career choice, not a moral imperative, and that just because a woman can do anything that a man can do doesn’t mean she should.
I think that my children are even more removed from the feminism question than I am. Two of our three daughters have played on football teams; the third doesn’t because she’s in preschool and only wants to know why footballs get thrown (”Why don’t they only get footed? I mean kicked?”). They may learn about a time when women weren’t considered equal to men, but, thankfully, they have never experienced it.
I hope they become feminists by default, too.
How do you define feminism? Has your definition changed over the years?