I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t be tagged for the five things feminism has done for me meme, because it’s a difficult question to answer. Not because feminism hasn’t done enough for me, but because the things it has done are so utterly fundamental to my being that the best I can do is too make them all into one big point, “being a person”. That isn’t explicit enough, of course, so I must find more concrete (yet less important perhaps) things.
1.When my mother got into medical school she had to convince my grandfather to let her go. My parents (and grandparents!) are proud of my academic achievements, such as they are. In the immediate family, somehow, all the older cousins (21-27) are female. All of us have been encouraged by the family to do pretty much what we wanted to careerwise.
2.I grew up in a family where both parents worked similar hours, made similar contributions to the household income, did similar amounts of housework, and were proud of each other’s successes at work. As a result, I thought that equality and mutual respect were normal in male-female relationships. Not perfect, not utopian. Normal. I know a lot of people who grew up in very different surroundings with very different ideas of what normal was. I’m grateful for mine.
3.The right to vote. This is cliché, of course, but honestly. The ability to participate in ones own government? The right to have a say in what laws are to control one? The right to actually have an opinion and have it acknowledged? It’s huge and once upon a time we did not possess it and now we do. That deserves to be celebrated.
4.Role models. Women are doing everything, they’re heading multinational corporations, taming lions, building up good, solid careers in banks, going into space. And no, there aren’t enough of them and it’s harder for us and that’s why feminism is still important, but it gets easier every time someone is prevented from saying “girls can’t…” because *girls * already have.
5.Female writers. That’s tied up with my fourth point, I suppose, there’s a good deal of overlap. It’s not simply the ability to write and be published (though that in itself has been an achievement) but also to be accepted for it. Women have won all the major literary prizes. If it weren’t for feminism we wouldn’t have Angela Carter or Ursula LeGuin. We probably wouldn’t have Jeanette Winterson.
I haven’t read the posts by any male bloggers (were any tagged for this meme? Link me to any you know of, please) so I’m going to tag everyone else on Sthreeling (both male and female, this is cross-posted there) and also Schez, Supriya, Megha and Annie. And anyone else who wants to, but I'd love to see some men do it too, their responses could be really interesting.
[Also, in the last two weeks my dad turned 50 and I turned 21. Please convince us we are not ancient. yet.]