I find it quite silly at times that my mom won’t admit to being a feminist. She’s actually the woman I first learned it from, and she doesn't even realize that she is one.
A few months ago I posted on Facebook in an effort to hush everyone’s anti-feminist agendas for a moment and get them to really consider what feminism is about. My mother didn't really say much, but all she commented was, “The ONE thing that you did NOT get from your mother.”
My mom has always been and continues to be the strongest presence of feminism that I have in my daily life, which is precisely why I found her comment so ironic. Since I was little, my mom has always worked; whether it was being a full time mom, babysitting, cleaning, or even now as she has completed technical school and works as a pharmacy technician. My mom has always been financially independent and always strives to take care of herself rather than let it come from the hands of someone else. She has always put what is best for her family above everything else, and she never relies on someone else to make that decision for her. She has been strong when most would have been weak, she has spoken up when most would have kept quiet, and she has fought back when most would have simply accepted defeat. However, we are all human and we make mistakes, even my mother. And when she does, she recovers with such charisma and just the right amount of grace. She never stays down for long and she never pulls others down with her just to help her get back up.
This is what feminism is all about. Feminism is not about pulling men down to help women stand taller. Feminism is about asking everyone to realize that neither sex should be down in the first place. We should all be standing tall, together. We should all be making decisions, living our lives, and letting our voices be heard at equal levels of importance, with the same opportunities, and with equal volume.
My mother has taught me that when the going gets tough, you get tougher. She never made me feel like being a girl set me behind, and she never let me use being a woman as an excuse. My mother did not just teach me how to be a good woman; she taught me how to be a good person. That is what this world needs: parents who talk to their kids all the same, rather than having higher or lower expectations based on their gender. Parents who let their sons play with Barbie’s and their daughters play with Hot Wheels. Parents who care more about the choices their children are making based on how it will affect their futures, rather than how it will change the way the world perceives them based on their gender. Parents who let their children dream and reach for things far beyond what they may have expected. Maybe through all of these things my mom didn't realize that she was actually teaching me about feminism, but I believe she was.
I am proud to call myself a feminist because of the one who has always been standing next to me, supporting me, and cheering me on. My mother is a feminist, whether she knows it or not, and she should be proud to be one too.