The New F-Word – Feminism Revisted

It seems as though Feminism has shot itself in the foot again.  First, by not clearly defining it’s objectives and then by the failure to carry out the meaning behind the objectives.

In her book “Lean In“, Sheryl Sandberg claims that only 24% of American women claim to be feminists until they are informed that it’s grassroots objective was to gain equal pay for equal work.  And then the number shot up to 65%.  The feminist ideology is so much more than what this simplistic sentence implies, but the feminist movement has become diluted and un-empowered by – um…sorry to say this – WOMEN.   Sadly, it seems that the new boys club is much like the old boys club only it is made up of women who are either unable or unwilling to further the aspirations of other women  in their greedy hunt for power.  In fact, they often follow the old boys club tradition of suppressing new thoughts and ideas of their sisters and fail to see that not only do we lose out as women, we lose out as a human race.

I have come to see that there are two types of women in the world who wield power.  Those who use it responsibly and those who don’t.  Women who would lead – whether it be a social movement or a political agenda, a philosophy or a fashion trend, a large congregation or a small group of outcasts – these women must be held accountable for bad behavior and and they need to be held accountable by those of us they want to lead.  After all, if they are so intent to lead, shouldn’t we know what they stand for?  It often seems that women who have been given the gift of leadership, often forget that there are always going to be dissenting opinions in any venue and because they are considered leaders they are required to acknowledge and address those opinions.  In fact, they should welcome dissenters because the very fact that there dissent  actually proves the existence of leadership.  Just because you surround yourself with those who agree with you doesn’t make you right.

I consider myself to be a feminist in the broadest sense.  I consider it to be common sense that women should not only support each other when they share a difficult circumstance or a challenge in a romantic relationship, but they should look for ways to negotiate rocky terrain in arenas where they may disagree on fundamental ideals that influence the community that we share.   We should take care that our opinions about social and political issues don’t cloud our good judgment and cause us take aim at other women who voice different thoughts or methodologies and we should never – EVER – do this behind another womans’ back.  Honestly now…is there anything in this day and age that doesn’t make your spine tingle and the hair on the back of your neck stand up than listening to some snarky bitch run her mouth about somebody else?  Especially another woman?  How about another woman who is – or was – her friend?  Yeah.  That really bites.  The very definition of the phrase about “who needs enemies?”

I’ve grown quite comfortable with people disagreeing with me.   I don’t feel a single bit of anger or frustration when another woman expresses a difference of opinion.  In fact, I feel like we will be closer for it because she has obviously felt “safe” enough in my presence to offer thoughts that don’t mimic my own.  I may often act like I have all the answers but I can assure you that I don’t.  And anyone who truly knows me knows that I am honored to hear a different point of view.  I have a great respect for someone who is confident enough in themselves to admit that their point of view might be in need of updating as well.  I find it particularly offensive when a woman refuses to take responsibility for her actions based on her faith or by deflecting offensive behavior with an out-of-context scriptural statement insinuating that God supports her action, regardless of the harm it might inflect.

As we women roam the earth in search of our higher purpose, we mustn’t forget our purpose for being here in the first place.  Whatever our highest calling is, accomplishing it should never be at the expense of another.  If you are a woman you must become a feminist and want for the successes of other women to be realized.  And if you are a feminist you must become a woman who values opinions from other women and try to seek to put all of our well being ahead of your own personal goals.