I grew up in a household of three daughters. My sisters and I are very close in age; all born within three and a half years. Looking back now, it’s safe to say that we were good kids. Today, we’re the kind of people who (I think) have strongly centred ethics, sense of justice, and progressive views of the world. My sisters are the kind of people I’d love to get seated next to at a dinner party so I can absorb from their brilliance. I may be biased but I’m willing to bet you would too.
Even if I wasn’t conscious of it back then, I was taking notes on how to raise daughters; or more specifically, how I’d like to raise daughters. Of course what I mean is, how I’d like children to be brought up in general — but for now I’m dropping ‘him’ and sticking with ‘her’. Anyway, if my sisters are any indication, I think I’ve got a pretty decent set of notes to go on.
I find it disappointing that a lot of people — women — refrain from using the word ‘feminist’ for fear of… heck I don’t know what. Actually, I find it remarkable. Why do we fear that word, fear the label? Who are we afraid of offending? People who don’t believe that all humans should be afforded the same opportunities, the same political, social, or economic rights? People who think labels are dangerous and we should hum along with the status quo?
Well, fuck it.
As long as we still experience big opportunity gaps amidst the genders (which includes men, women, and everything in between), feminism continues to be worth championing. My own immigrant parents took it up when they drilled in the importance of higher education and strong careers for their girls. They wanted their first generation Chinese-Canadian daughters to knock down some barriers in the workforce and be independently successful.
I also want my kids to be independently successful. And I want them to know they have choices in life; maybe some choices I didn’t think I had. That they can live a certain lifestyle that might not fit in ‘mainstream’ definitions, as long as they’re not hurting others. That they can choose an education or career path that makes their hearts sing. That they can choose to love openly, even marry that person, if that’s what they want.
Ultimately, I believe feminism is about choice. But before we have choices, we need the opportunity. So here we go — feminists, let’s do this.