Are You A Feminist?

Recently, I wrote an article about “reinventing yourself”, which was inspired by the Women’s March that I felt compelled to attend. The article briefly touched upon my reason’s for attending the march and this is what I said:

The world heard our voice on January 21st and we need to take this opportunity to create change. Real change. Equality will never be achieved if we take a back seat in our own lives. On that historic day, I marched for women, I marched for racial justice and equality, I marched for the LGBT community, I marched for religious freedom, and I marched for the men who support the rights of all people. After the election, I felt powerless and now I feel hopeful.”

Seems pretty harmless…right? The rest of the article was mostly about using the painful experiences in our lives as an opportunity to reinvent yourself and my purpose of writing the article was to inspire women (and men) to turn their pain into something meaningful. My intent wasn’t to come across like an angry scored woman. Yet, a woman that was a part of my private Facebook group took my intention very differently.

She basically came at me saying that she saw no point to the Women’s March and that empowerment comes from within (a statement I made in my entire article by the way). I didn’t want my article or my private page to become a political platform, so I deleted her comment. Well, I guess that really pissed her off because she then proceeded to yell at me and called me a bitter, angry woman because of my divorce and that I should be ashamed of myself for making other women feel bad if they don’t subscribe to the need for the Woman’s March. I’m paraphrasing of course because I deleted that comment and removed her from the group immediately.  Obviously, she is a Trump supporter and didn’t agree with the protest and I’ll just leave it at that. :/

I am all for a good debate and I welcome other people’s perspectives, but the minute you start attacking someone for their beliefs then you lost the argument and my respect. Bye, girl bye!  I created my blog to speak my truth and to inspire others going through the same pain that comes with divorce. If my views about politics creep in occasionally, it’s only because it’s relevant to the message I’m trying to send. We are bombarded with newsfeed and media coverage about our current administration and the last thing I want is to have it seep into this forum. In no way, did I state or do I feel that if you didn’t participate in the March that somehow you are wrong. I have many friends and close family members that didn’t participate and I would never judge them or think less of them as women because they didn’t feel compelled to join a march. That was my choice and I really don’t care one way or another if you didn’t feel like going. I love them all just the same.

With that said, I also feel the need to address the meaning of the word “feminist” because it has come up in conversation lately and is often misrepresented and characterized as angry women that hate men. The definition of the term, “feminism” is simply, “the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities.” So, I ask the question again…are you a feminist? Do you believe that women should get paid less than men do for the same job? Do you believe that women don’t deserve the same opportunities in the work force as men do? No? Then guess what…you’re a feminist! Congratulations!

Don’t you think we should all be feminists? Don’t worry you don’t have to hold up signs protecting your vagina or wear one of those God awful “pink pussy hats”. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t feel compelled to, but you do have to support all those women in history that fought tirelessly for your right to vote and your right to work outside the home and you do have to support the women today that are STILL fighting for further equality. You don’t have to go around voicing your opinions on how frustrated you are about the glass ceiling that still exists for women, but you should tell the guy at work that’s sexually harassing you to shut the hell up or you’ll report him to HR. Grabbing women by the pussy is a crime of sexual assault not an overreaction from an “angry feminist”. If you don’t know the difference, then you and I should sit down and have a little chat.

Now that we’ve cleared that up and we can agree that I am not an angry bitter divorced woman who hates men, I want to share an amazing experience I had last weekend to prove to you that I genuinely love to hear a male’s perspective and I would never say that “all men are the same”.

My girlfriend and I (not my lesbian girlfriend…just a friend who is a girl) went to our favorite bar at the last minute and when we walked in a group of our “guy friends” were there sitting at a table. They were happy to see us and insisted that we sit with them even though we joked about not wanted to cramp their style.  Throughout the night, we joked and laughed as we normally would, but this night was different. I had some amazing heart to hearts with a couple of them that really enlightened me and gave me a new perspective on what it is like to be a man.  Without going into all the details of these amazing conversations, I am very thankful that I could have such deep conversations and gain such valuable insight on topics like why men cheat and how men are sometimes misunderstood.

I’ve written articles about cheating and I’ve always held the belief, “once a cheater always a cheater” and now…I’m not so sure.  I must admit that I gained some real insight from a friend who had cheated on his ex-girlfriend in the past, but he sincerely said that he would never cheat on his current girlfriend and soon to be wife. He thought that a lot of why men cheat is due to the person they’re with having low self-esteem and not respecting themselves. I know…I know…it sounds like a cop out and placing the blame on the other person for your wrong doing and maybe it is, but he just may have a point.  If you know your spouse would never put up with cheating or look the other way, you’re naturally going to be less likely to risk it. Not everyone of course. As I stated in the past, if you have the propensity to cheat you will always be a cheater no matter who you are with. However, if you are with the wrong person and you’re looking for a way out, sometimes people sabotage the relationship to do just that.  Whether I agree or disagree with this guy’s viewpoint or not I will always appreciate another perspective.

The other conversation was with someone that I really don’t know very well, but we had met a few times in the past. He recently lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s which we all know is an excruciatingly painful disease to witness the deterioration of someone you love. He shared with me that when they were first diagnosed there was a period of denial and when it progressively got worse he struggled to cope like many others do. He noticed that he was drinking more frequently and not able to show up for his family like he used to. He felt lost and angry like so many others dealing with this horrible disease do.  He finally went to seek help and he found comfort in a group of men who got together around a fire and shared their struggles. Everyone there dealing with unique difficulties and pain, but all there to share with one common purpose to support each other and ask one fundamental question, “Now that you’ve expressed your fears or frustrations, how will you show up in your life?”

I sat there listening to this man I barely knew share a very intimate and private part of his grieving process and not only did my heart go out to him, but I was honored that he was sharing it with me. He thanked me for listening and said it’s not something he can share with his friends. That gave me pause and at that moment I thought about how difficult it must be a man in our society where you’re always expected to be strong and hide your fears and sorrow.  I was glad to hear that he had this amazing group of supportive men who allowed themselves to show their vulnerability.  As women, we take for granted that we can share everything with our friends and if we cry we are not considered weak.  I wonder how different our world would be right now if we allowed men that same privilege.

I left that night feeling so grateful for having these conversations and to have the benefit of hearing some insight into how men walk through life. Sometimes we must put aside all of our differences and just listen to one another. If you do, you might find that we’re more alike than we are different. Now you tell me…does that sounds like an angry feminist to you?

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

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