Do You Have Time to Say "I'm a Feminist"?

7 years ago


In this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Deborah Solomon asks Martha Stewart why she says that she's not a feminist.  Martha replies, "Do we really need to waste time saying, 'I'm a feminist'?"  


Huh.  There are plenty of time wasters but unless someone is an extraordinarily slow talker, saying that you're a feminist is not very time consuming.  I mean in the same article Solomon asks Martha if turning a husband's old shirts into decorative pillows is the best use of a modern woman's time and Martha makes it clear that she doesn't see the old shirt to decorative pillow transformation as a time waster.


I admit it. I have a hard time understanding women who disavow feminism.  What is it, I wonder, that makes them want to distance themselves? Is it the right to vote? Equality?  Ending violence against women?  Reproductive rights?


I tell myself that younger women, those who grew up in the '80s and '90s have the luxury of taking equality, to the extent that it exists today, for granted.  They saw a woman run for President, imperfectly as it may have been, female Supreme Court Justices, they have mothers and aunts and friends holding down traditionally male jobs, and, I would like to believe, they don't feel that gender shapes their own career choices.


I understand how they feel like they do not need feminism.  And although I bristle at the lack of homage to the veterans of the feminist movement that made such advances possible, I get it.  They're young.


But although I'm not Martha's greatest admirer, I am surprised by her not embracing feminism.  She runs an empire, a feat that in the pre-feminist movement days was pretty much limited to monarchs.   And that's not a good thing.






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