I am a feminist because I grew up in the church
I am a feminist because growing up in the Evangelical Christian church I never knew a woman could lead in those walls. A woman preaching, teaching, and being powerful from behind the pulpit weoccurrence occurence. Her place of leadership in the church was most often the nursery or children’s church, Sunday School teacher to women and children only; deaconess prepping the food; church secretary or choir director. I didn’t meet a woman pastor until I was in my 30s. As she blessed my children and served us communion on her own without a man giving her permission, I wept.
I am a feminist because a woman I love – one of my women survived being raped as a teenager and the pastor called her a slut and a liar. When she found out she was pregnant her only option was to have an abortion because the rapist was the pastor’s son. She went to Planned Parenthood and paid for the procedure herself because it was her fault – her responsibility. The workers in the clinic – the doctor – recognized what had happened to her body and he offered her compassion and support. She did not find either in the church.
I am a feminist because I am raising women
I am a feminist for every single foster girl I ever worked with whose daddy or grandpa or uncle or mom’s boyfriend who thought he had a right to her body on his terms. Because the courts were never able to protect her from the hurt, guilt, fear, or shame.
I am a feminist because I have three daughters who deserve the same opportunities in science, medicine, technology, and math as their male peers. Because they are smart, kind, important, and FIERCE. Because being a woman is not a deficit.
I am a feminist because no man has the right to comment, look, or touch my girls’ bodies without their permission. And do you know these looks have already started and my oldest daughter is only 13 years old? This is not a compliment. Unfortunately, this behavior is not mutually exclusive to young, hormonal boys either, but also grown men.
These behaviors and attitudes are the byproducts of a sexually perverse, sexist culture and a church too anemic to defend their young or hold their own men accountable.
Furthermore, women of patriarchy are some of its most dangerous enforcers and enablers of violence against young women’s hearts, bodies, and potential. They have been known to eat their young (ask me how I know).
I am a feminist because I am a woman.
I am a feminist for every woman who has ever gone for a run and felt like she needed to carry a weapon to protect herself. For every woman who has been cat-called or barked at by men. For every flick of the thigh, pinch of the ass, glance at the breast, unwanted advance, or penis rub against the pussy – for her I am a feminist.
Women aren’t vessels for a man’s sexual needs and enjoyment, but vessels of love, intelligence, goodness, and strength.
I am a feminist for every single woman of color stopped, harassed, touched without permission, abused, labeled false, or looked over – by a white person merely because she was driving, walking, shopping, or breathing while black.
For every white woman stopped, harassed, questioned and not believed because her partner is a man of color – this is why I am a feminist.
For my gay, straight, bisexual, queer, transgendered friends and their children who are deserving of the love of a family, a partner, who want to have children or be married – for these people and the ones they love I am a feminist.
Smash the Patriarchy
Unapologetically I smash patriarchy because I know what it feels like to live with extra weight. I understand what it feels like to be judged for merely existing as a specific type of woman. Having personally experienced the looks and the comments of people who believe I am lazy, unmotivated, and out of control, I understand the importance of being FOR women. Many of us have had about enough of it. I birthed five babies out of this body, am fighting an autoimmune disease which enables me to gain weight like it’s my superpower and I had a pulmonary embolism and LIVED. I am a fucking rock star! And no one has the right to tell me otherwise.
It isn’t my fault if you never learned to recognize superwomen come in all shapes and sizes!
I am a feminist for every single woman who feels like she is less than because of her face, body, or choices. You have value. You have worth. I see you.
Because I am Pro-life and Pro-choice, I am a feminist. I believe a woman has a right to the decisions she makes about her body. These choices under the counsel of her doctor do not require the permission of her husband, her priest, or any government official. She doesn’t need your approval to take the pill or have many children.
I am a feminist because I have witnessed abuse
I am feminist because I witnessed women standing up and speaking truth about the abuse. Women telling the truth even in the church were quickly dismissed. Truth-tellers were labeled, “trouble-makers,” “gossips,” “over-reacting,” or “needing to mind her own business.” These are my women. Women who have attempted to stand in the gap for the abused, hurting, rejected, or discarded women and children around them. Brave voices going toe to toe and face to face with authority figures without excuse or apology.
My heroes are these women who have been telling the truth way before it was popular.
I am a feminist because I am raising men
I am a feminist because I have two sons who need to know women who are fierce, honest, compassionate, and bold. They need to know how to stand with warrior women. They need to see women who are capable. Women who are willing and able to grow and listen well. Women who are not afraid to speak up. They need to see women who “Nevertheless, she persisted” in the face of white, male misogyny and destructive systems.
I am a feminist for myself.
I am a feminist for the younger me who thought she had to be thin. Who believed thin = beautiful. Who placed value on being sexy and attractive to men. A younger me who felt their approval on her looks was an essential to being whole as a woman. For all the young girls trapped in toxic ideas about their legitimacy and worth. For them, I am a feminist.
Feminist ≠ Men-haters
I believe men are good. I don’t hate them. And despite popular opinion, there are plenty of self-identifying feminists who see value and respect men. My father is fierce and my husband is a good man. I don’t have daddy issues. Nor do I require the love of a good man – I have it. I am not a man-eater. Frankly, it is exhausting to be told I am too sensitive or emotional when someone cannot handle my voice. I dislike mansplaining about my body and choices someone who has not had to live my life. Birth a baby, survive a PE, battle an autoimmune disease then you can tell me how it should go. No one has the right to redact my story.
We don’t all have to agree on what makes a feminist – a feminist. These are my reasons for standing up, shouting, for leaning in, walking away, for being silent or being fierce.
I am a feminist because I cannot afford not to be.
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