I am only just now dipping my toes into feminism in an academic sense. Gloria Steinem once wrote that women become more radical as they age because their life experiences of inequality lead them towards feminism. I certainly think that is true for me. Though, perhaps it has always been there, unnamed and undiscovered in my psyche all along.
In grade school I read every biography I could find about Amelia Earhart and idolized her immensely. In junior high I went out for the football team and found myself very unwelcome there. In high school I pursued independence and sex fiercely. Professionally, I have held many positions in male dominated industries.
Yes, it has definitely been there a long time. Though in my relationships it has not always seemed so clear…
I have held a great deal of power in my numerous romantic relationships, deciding where to live and largely how to spend our time together. But I have also been forced to leave my partners over and over again when they have mistreated me. I could not even imagine staying trapped in those unhappy unions. Perhaps the leaving was also a sign of inner feminism, though I have always seen it as a failure on my part somehow.
In recent years I have pursued a life without men entirely, turning to lesbianism for my companionship. Though I have no regrets about my experiences and I will always find women very attractive, I must admit that I am at heart no lesbian.
I desire a man in my life but I am not desperately searching for one. They seem to find me easily enough and I have no worry that someone will again soon enough. In the meantime I am enjoying singlehood and contemplating how I can have a truly equal relationship with a man in this truly unequal world.
How can the next man not gain power over me due to the fact that he is statistically likely to make significantly more money than me? Should I only consider those who make less? That seems unreasonable given the fact that I am an extremely motivated person and tend to be attracted to those who are also. Can I ever be okay with the fact that, should we live together, I will do more of the household work than he will? No, I do not think I can accept that.
Maybe I am too feminist already for a traditional relationship with a man. I might be okay with that (and decide to remain permanently single or become solo poly) but I will have to reflect on it some more to decide.
I am writing now, almost as much as I am reading. I’ve only written frivolous things in the past. Science fiction stories mostly because that is what I enjoy reading. In fact, the novel I am writing now is indeed science fiction but it has a strong feminist agenda and I feel passionate and confident about it in a way that I have not felt about previous writing.
I want to sum up this post in some concrete, meaningful way but there is not really an end to this endeavor at present. The point I suppose is that feminism has always been a large part of me and I am surprised that I am just now learning more about it from other women. I recently read Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti and Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem. I certainly don’t agree with everything in either but I feel like I am on the right track to understanding what feminism is about. Bloomberg Business this week has a story about the gender wage gap that has been sitting in my passenger seat for days begging to be read. Seems like a logical next step.