This morning, I saw someone post on Facebook about to the issue of young girls being called "bossy" while young men are called "leaders." This is an issue addressed in Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and for some reason has been plucked out and examined as of late.
Which is great. Let's keep these topics flowing. But, it wasn't this woman's comments on the "bossy" issue that bothered me. It was something else...
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Julie: "I've seen, but have not read any of the articles about bossy being bad for girls. I think both sexes get it but girls in our culture are more impacted by it. A nice girl doesn't do this. A good girl doesn't say that. We more easily recognize boys as leaders while a bossy woman is more likely to be called a bitch. I have been many times. I resist most of feminist outrage as foolish, but I do think we should keep putting more emphasis on bossy women as leaders and not bitches. My boss was surprised when I negotiated my salary, women don't usually do that, I was his first."
(I don't know Julie. She posted on a friend's status. And normally controversial Facebook posts are simply eye-rollers for me. But something about her words compelled me to respond.)
Kali:"I know this isn't directly related to Jason's post, but I feel the need to say this to Julie (with the utmost respect). "A feminist is someone who advocates or supports the rights and equality of women." So saying you think feminism is foolish and in the same breath mentioning how you negotiated your salary is a bit confusing. It sucks when women refuse to accept the word because of the bad connotations. That needs to stop. ALL women should admit they are a feminist if they support us being equal. Denouncing the term just perpetuates the incorrect stereotypes that are associated with it. And demeans all those that came before us who made a difference.
With that being said...way to go on negotiating your salary. We need every female in the workforce to do that."
I will admit that I get uneasy with the F word, too. Just saying to someone that you are a feminist is like asking for instant judgment. But after reading Lean In, it's something I'm hoping to change.
I am a feminist. And I'm trying to not be too afraid to say it. Because the more women who say it, the better off we will all be in bringing forward the REAL meaning of the term. And continuing the progress of those before us.
I am a feminist. And you probably are too.
In the book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg says this:
"I headed into college believing that the feminists of the sixties and seventies had done the hard work of achieving equality for my generations. And yet, if anyone had called me a feminist I would have quickly corrected that notion…. On one hand, I started a group to encourage more women to major in economics and government. On the other hand, I would have denied being in any way, shape, or form a feminist. None of my college friends thought of themselves as feminists either. It saddens me to admit that we did not see the backlash against women around us…. In our defense, my friends and I truly, if naively, believed that the world did not need feminists anymore."
I really think this is the problem. Either people think of "feminism" as a problem of the past and believe the "movement" is over, OR they associate the word with the multitude of negative (and incorrect) associations it holds.
We need to expel these stereotypes and embrace the F word. We also need to recognize that while feminism is, at its core, a general support for equality for women, not all feminists are the same or have the same beliefs. Feminism can be a broad term to encompass all of these very DIVERSE people who hold the similar view that men and women should be equal in all aspects.
How can we expect others to embrace the F word and what it stands for if we can't do it ourselves?
You are a FEMINIST! (Gasp!)
Instead of shuddering at the thought, try to embrace it. And let's continue to move forward.
Don't be afraid to drop the F bomb.
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