What is feminism?

I rarely use this blog to promote my ideals and beliefs on controversial topics, but I feel like I need to express my opinion on the topic of feminism.

I can't call myself a feminist. Don't get me wrong, I believe that men and women are equal. I just don't believe that equal means "the same." And from what I've heard and read  about feminism it's being used to bring others down rather than build women up.  I don't believe in tearing down someone else's beliefs just to puff up your own (I call that being a bully). 

I read Kayla's post on being a feminist and by her standards I am a feminist. I believe that all women have the right to be treated with love and respect and I hope that throughout the world we can learn to do that. 

I have this theory: we all have different talents and abilities and just because they aren't the same as someone else's talents and abilities it doesn't mean that we aren't just as good as he or she is. Say Jill is an amazing singer and I croak like a bullfrog when I sing. Does that mean I am inferior to Jill? No, of course not! It just means I don't have the same skill set as she does. If a man is better at running than I am, am I not equal to him? No. I love to write and I understand grammar concepts, this is not my husband's strong suit. He understands finance and numbers while I'm left scratching my head or counting on my fingers. Am I better than he is? Is he better than me? No! We are just different and that's OK.

I heard a talk last October by Elder D. Todd Christofferson called The Moral Force of Women and it really stuck with me. Christofferson spoke of how women have a moral foundation to do good in the world. We are just born with that goodness in our hearts. When women try to leave that behind and compete with men they lose that part of themselves. 

"A third area of concern comes from those who, in the name of equality, want to erase all differences between the masculine and the feminine. Often this takes the form of pushing women to adopt more masculine traits—be more aggressive, tough, and confrontational."

Men and women are different but that doesn't make either one of us weaker than the other. Only together can men and women succeed. 

I read an article by and old colleague of mine, Kayla Lemmon,  (a different Kayla than before, fyi) whose writing has so often touched my soul. She wrote a response to another blogger who wrote an article titled, "I look down on young women with husbands and kids and I'm not sorry." Kayla's article, "Women in the home are exceptional: A letter to a feminist blogger," inspired me. She didn't tear down the other side because she understood where each side was coming from; she simply expressed how important motherhood is to her. 

Growing up there was nothing I wanted more than to be a mom. It's still the thing that I want most in the world. I know that there are women out there who don't want kids-some of my best friends growing up felt that way. I don't think any less of them for that, but I expect that they don't think any less of me for not wanting a career. 

Photo by Kelly Gubler
I went to college, I graduated with a degree in Communication, I work every day to support my family, but it doesn't bring me completeness and joy. I salute you if you find joy in working every day, but it's just not for me. This doesn't make me inferior to women in the workforce and it doesn't make women in the workforce inferior to me. It just makes us different.  

Feminism shouldn't be about tearing down other women's choices. It shouldn't be about trying to change our nature to become more like men. It shouldn't be about wanting the same talents, abilities and attributes of our male counterparts. 

Feminism should be about men and women complementing each other, lifting each other up and making the world a place where neither sex is put down or diminished. Feminism should be about building all people up. And until I see that happening I just can't call myself a feminist. 
Rebekah Anne2 Comments