It's Not the Gender That Matters
I've been thinking a lot about feminism lately. I've also been reading about it, and there's a lot to read these days with all the reactions to a potential female in the White House. Many feminists have a gut-level, primal scream, angry reaction to Sarah Palin. Many think she's their heroine - a woman potentially venturing where no woman has gone before. Others, like feminist Rebecca Walker, point to the huge chasm in between these views and wonder if perhaps we feminists have missed the point of uniting our liberal and conservative camps into one powerful and well-lead woman's movement. We are two fighting factions instead.
I checked our blog stats the other day and noticed that ESP.com is on the blogroll for a new website. So I wandered on over to see what it was about. I found a description of this website's mission:
[XYZ.com readers] are women and men who find themselves at the intersection of conservatism and feminism. They believe strongly in their faith and find their highest happiness in their families. At the same time, they do not believe that women are subordinates of men, nor that women should confine their efforts to the home. [XYZ.com readers] embrace motherhood, but also actively contribute to their communities and to the world, using the talents that God has given them for this very purpose. [XYZ.com readers] believe that men and women are to be loving and equal partners in the journey of life, and that the differences between women and men were meant to be a joy and a strength, not a basis for hierarchy, domination, or abuse. [XYZ readers] believe that all human collectives, from the family to the nation and beyond, are best led by men and women together in consultation as equals.
I can get behind every word of this belief statement (although I might not believe in as many differences between men and women as most people do, and I'm not conservative). It is beautifully written.
The website is called Red State Feminists.
And so I'd like to give a shout out to my sisters in the red states, from one of the bluest states in the union. We have so much in common. We believe in the beauty and the promise of equality. We know it can work. I'm honored to be on your blogroll and, even though we don't agree on some things, I wish you the best.
So what does it mean to be feminist? I'm starting to realize that, for me, feminism is about equality between women and men. It isn't about raising women up at the expense of men. And it isn't about grasping onto any woman and triumphantly saying 'we won!' I don't want to win if the woman who represents me can't do a bang-up job of leading this country. I don't want to say 'I love Sarah' or 'I love Lucy' or 'I love my mother's best friend' if I'm just saying 'I love that she's female' or that she's going to empower women for the sake of empowering women.
ESP is about equality. No gender more important than the other. Each person standing on his or her own merit. We don't have to love or vote for a woman because she's there - today, in 4 years, or ever. Let's give this country we love over to someone who can do amazing things, regardless of gender. Let's unite, we liberal and conservative feminists, women and men, and forget our labels of red or blue. May the best person for the job be the one for whom we proudly cast our vote.