It’s Feminist Pride Day! We’re celebrating all week long, and we need your stories and selfies to do it right! Learn more here.
You raised a wonderful person. You raised me to be thoughtful, to accept people for who they are, and to always think outside the box – even if the box was my own perception and reality. In turn, you created a person who takes advantage of any opportunity to be a voice for the voiceless, to do what’s best, to do anything within my power to help. You taught me that in taking care of others, I could take care of myself. Through your struggles and successes, you provided the greatest example of strength, hard work, and survival. You showed me what it is to love way beyond yourself and how important it is to be there in times of need.
Although you raised me to be kind and open minded, you also raised me to be seen and not heard. You also taught me that I should dress appropriately to prevent rape. You taught me that my quality of life depended on the man I was with, and that once I found him he would have to be my entire life. Although you taught that my brother and I were equal, you also taught me to accept my place in a world rife with sexist attitudes. You loved me and did your best to protect me, but you upheld the tradition of women being less than throughout that as well.
Somehow, you raised a feminist.
I know you were happy and thrilled to learn I got a good job right after graduation; I know you were excited to see me go, and that although you miss me you are proud that I achieved my goal of pursuing a career where I could do what I always wanted to do – help people. I’m writing because you didn’t just raise a feminist – you raised a feminist activist and a feminist professional. At my job, I encourage student leaders to question the world around them and fight for what they believe in; I work with people to provide them the tools to become advocates for change in the pursuit of gender equity and human rights. I not only try to be a voice for the voiceless, but encourage others to do so too – and I’m leading the charge on making sure women and girls are seen, heard, and respected.
Mom, you gave me the opportunity to question everything around me. Although it was a struggle, you allowed me to be myself because you loved me. Feminism to me is a celebration and a way of honoring the intersections of my identities and the intersections and experiences and needs of others. To me, it is about bringing all of that to the movement for social equality. It is what you taught me by allowing me to appreciate others, in and out of my own life experience. It’s also a product of the discomfort I had with the preconceived notions about my sex I was born to burden.
I know our personal history is not meant for public display, but you always raised me to be proud of myself, and Mom – I’m proud of myself. And I’m proud to be a feminist.