Dear Son — This is Feminism.
You’re eight years old. Unknown to you, there is a new age of feminism that holds a sour taste of resent and spite toward men. It feels extremist. I don’t like it. My heart aches for you. In the name of feminism, there are women who are villianizing you because of your gender… implying that women are some how better (or better off) without men. It’s shocking to see because feminism is all about women having equality to men. Women are not superior to men!
As a woman, I am inherently a feminist because I fundamentally believe women and men have the same rights. Your father shares this sentiment. I hope for you that you grow up to understand the importance of equality. Today, equality isn’t perfect. I’ve had to work hard, even advocate and fight at times, to in the world of business. Many women have to choose between having an interesting career and raising a family. I decided early in my life I wanted both a career and family; while neither taking a back seat. I want you and your sisters to have a strong woman to look up to knowing that family and career is possible. In the past ten years, I’ve climbed the preverbal corporate ladder, pushed my boundaries, and continue to find immense joy being a mother. Along the way, I have had my moments of feeling exhaustion or failure, but I have never once doubted my decisions. Now I can’t take all of the credit — your father supports me and we share responsibilities at home and growing our careers. This is equality in a couple.
I am now realizing how my experience as a woman is what will feel normal to you as you grow up. I’ve found a way to make everything work and seek a balanced life. But the rest of the world isn’t like this. Many women have not found a balance between career and family that makes them happy. I fear my experiences may not give you the right vantage point of the world and what feminism means inside of it. I owe it to you to make you aware of the challenges we all face and how we all might approach a situation differently.
How did we get here? In humanity’s history, men have had access to different roles in societies and cultures that was superior to women. This is how the society organized itself — for cultural, evolution, or individual reasons. Traditionally, men took roles in leadership, business, and politics; while, traditionally, women took roles in housekeeping and childcare. We still see these traditions in many societies today. And, in the past hundred years, or so, women and men in these societies have worked to make societal roles gender neutral. Why? Because the society evolved in a bias way that tends to favor men in terms of access to leadership roles and salary equity. It’s not right and we are trying to fix it. That said, by no means is the work toward equality mean that women should come out ahead than men. Son, you are not inferior and you will not be marginalized because of your gender. I would say the same to your sisters.
As an idealist, I am annoyed that we have to talk about feminism! But this is an important discussion that we all must understand. Humanity is still learning that collaboration is the key to mutuality. Examples of this can be found across political parties, international relations, religion, and interpersonal relationships. Humans have found ways to exploit our individual and collective differences in a negative way and create deflection points that create chaos. Ideally, if we could exploit our differences to enhance the contribution to society, truly humanity’s potential is limitless.
Son, you’re still a young boy and your future is still being written. You have such a fun personality and kind heart. Don’t change! These external influences — feminism and beyond — are deflection points that I want you to learn from and use as a spring board to help others around you. For now, as a growing young man, you will have access to opportunities that women still work hard to have equal access. Your sisters and I need you to continue the work toward equality and crushing societal stereotypes. We need you and we need to continue working toward equality through our actions.
Son, you’re an actor in this world and I want you to find your role, big or small.