For at least a century, the term “Feminist” has been used with such a negative connotation. Men use the term to belittle a gender that they feel is weak. Women use it as an excuse to explain away their failure to stand up in troubled times. To some, women are only equal in time of great need: we can make your dinner, raise your children and build airplanes when you are off at war. But forget the concept of a woman being your boss, fixing your car or fighting your fires. Those have always been considered male jobs, and are to this day. Generations of women before us have been fighting for “equality.” The right to vote, the right to work, the right to our own reproduction; rights men have always had the luxury to enjoy.
Even before the Suffragettes, strong-willed women have been the butt of jokes and the bane of ultra conservative existence. Once those ladies won us the legal right the vote, society went back to the perceived normal. Then came World War II. While the menfolk were off fighting the Enemy, women were called upon to help build the airplanes for these soldiers, only to be thrown back into their subservient wife roles after the war, they had helped to win, was over. It did not take long until women grew tired of being seen as “the weaker sex”. They began joining the work force on a long-term basis; not just due to the call of war. Women in the 1960′s burned their bras, started rallies and rejuvenated the alliance of women. Through all trials and tribulations that rained upon those who first dared enough to join male dominated fields like the armed forces, the sciences, even blue collar work; they continued on. Each of these women have been labeled “Feminist” and worse words that I do not care to type.
We still live in a patriarchal society. Why is the worst insult you can sling at a man is to accuse him of acting like a woman? We live in a world that teaches women how to avoid being raped, instead of teaching men not to rape. Our entertainment suggests it is perfectly acceptable for guys to proudly make jokes such as, “I don’t have any children…at least none that I know about,” while songs quip, “the female of the species is more deadly than the male.” Stereotypes still run rampant. Women shop too much. Men only want to watch sports. Strong women are suffering from some Freud-fueled penis envy, and sensitive men have a mother complex. Let’s stop looking at gender. Instead, let’s look at skills person for person. You can take one look at the cleanliness of my house, and you will know that I am far from the stereo-typical woman. I have lost relationships because of it, yet I have never expected a man in my life to support me either. None of the women I know fill the general stereotype, as do few of the men.
The honest to goodness truth is we are different. Both biologically and socially speaking, we are not the same. Women go through different thought processes than males. Men have social interactions that are often the opposite of us ladies. We should appreciate people for the who they are inside, and not be afraid if they happen to have sex parts that we don’t understand. What I want to express on behalf of my fellow X chromosome carriers is that NEITHER GENDER IS BETTER than the other. Neither sex should be considered stronger or weaker, but instead should be acknowledged for their strengths as well as weaknesses. We need each other to survive. As women, we should be fighting for our rights to be treated as equals. This does not necessarily mean we should be the same as the men in our lives, but alternatively to be quantified by our amazing qualities as women. Women take up half the population, and without us there would be so much less beauty and softness in the world. Comedian George Carlin said it well when he spoke about feminism and gender roles: “Pointless careerism? Putting on a man-tailored suit with shoulder pads and imitating all the worst behavior of men? This is the noblest thing that women can think of? To take a job in a criminal corporation that’s poisoning the environment and robbing customers out of their money? This is the worthiest thing they can think of? Isn’t there something nobler they can do to be helping this planet heal?” These thoughts and others are exactly what brought the next generation of feminist into existence.
Because of the hard work of my strong willed (single) Mother’s generation and the generations before us, I have been empowered with a new kind of Feminism. I am thankful on a daily basis both for the road they started for us, and for those who are here beside me helping to finish the construction. I have been given the honor to stand up and give my opinions, and have people listen to them. I have learned how to be my own kind of Feminist, instead of listening to what was expected of me and my generation. I am the woman that society has been warning people about for years. I am intelligent, I keep myself informed and am never afraid to speak out with my opinions. “Jodi the Feminist” means that I will tell you exactly how I feel, and I will look fabulous while doing it. Just like that politically incorrect Sondheim song, “I enjoy being a girl,” as do most of the women that I know. I love the feeling that I get when I get a new hairdo or wear a dress to compliment my body type. I enjoy making dinner for those that I love, and the satisfied look that they have after my job well done. I give hugs hello, instead of handshakes. I am not threatened by porn or strippers, as I know it is just a carnal desire. I shave my legs if and when I want to, not because of the opinion of someone else. Nothing makes me feel better when I am upset than allowing myself a nice, cleansing cry. I am one with my femininity. I don’t feed into the media driven ideal of perfection; I love my body because every flaw has a story of a life well lived. I do not choose the people around me due to there sex, but instead because of the quality of their spirit. I have been lucky enough to be taught to be pro-choice across the board. If you are not hurting me or someone that I care about, it is not my business what you do with your life.
I am the new Feminist, and I am very good at it. I encourage every woman to define Feminism on her own and to embrace every aspect of it. Look out for women like us! We have learned from the women before us, we appreciate the power that we wield and use it as a force for good not evil. Most importantly, we will not expect anything less than standing next to the men in our lives, not behind them, and not being them, but as equals. Fem-eration X-X is a force with which to be reckoned: we fight for our rights and we are teaching our daughters to do the same.
Jodi Renee’ Thomas spent the majority of her adult life as an alternative fashion designer/dominatrix, until the writing bug called her away. She believes in living life to the fullest, and then chronicals her antics on her blog “Confessions of a Party Girl.” She is a proud pupil of the school of life, in which each semester she gets varying grades from Suma cum Laud to this lesson needs to be repeated; but she keeps going strong. By day she is managing editor for DStripped Magazine in which she has a featured column entitled “Relationship Rehab.” By night, she trolls Facebook and tries to write articles that entertain and inform. She happily lives in the sunny state of Florida with her aspiring writer/designer daughter Xoe Lizbeth, and her cats Rocko and Shaft, who like to help her type.