With everything going on in Washington, D.C. recently, I didn’t really put much thought into a women’s march.
At first I thought it was just a bunch of people joining together to protest Donald Trump, but I chalked that up to sour liberal grapes. Only after the countless news reports and stories was I made aware that the marches taking place on January 21 were primarily focused on women’s rights. A lot of the organizers and participants would proudly call themselves feminists.
If you ever want a term that’s going to stir up an argument, there it is.
A few years ago, when the topic of feminism came up at a gathering I attended, an acquaintance of mine, a staunch and vocal feminist, was visibly put off by what she perceived to be my lack of support for “the cause.” I had every intention of nodding noncommittally and keeping my opinions to myself, but when her questions persisted I told her that, from my view, feminism had become a movement of anger and vitriol, and that I didn’t have any interest in furthering the agenda of or being associated with any group that revelled so much in its own victimhood.
Not only that, but I find it difficult to understand the plight of a 35-year-old employed female who drove to a protest in a $45,000 SUV, wearing head-to-toe Lululemon and holding a sign about how she has been disenfranchised.
Suffice it to say, we never did become friends, me and that acquaintance.
And I suppose it can be seen as disloyal for a woman to not be on board with a women’s movement. Being a married, working mother and saying you’re not a feminist is like being from Montreal and saying you’re not a Canadiens fan.
Make no mistake: I support women, 100 per cent; all women, those who are making it and deserve their success, those who are trying and just haven’t got there yet, and those who are lost in the shuffle. I get that feminism is meant to help those women the most, when they can’t help themselves.
And if that were the main concentration, I might find myself a feminist after all. However, from where I stand, the objective of the movement is being lost in the execution. There is so much rhetoric and protest for the sake of protesting that the real goal is lost amidst the fight. Not just feminists, either, there are many, many perfectly noble causes swept up in their own well-intentioned battle for social justice that loses its way somewhere along the line.
And maybe I’m right about all or some of my opinions, and maybe I’m wrong, but either way, everyone can go about their day and nothing changes. Feminists will still fight, and the battle for equality will rage on, regardless of my opinion of its progress or its merits.
All I know is that with or without a movement or a title to stand behind, I will always advocate for myself, with respect to physical and emotional health, employment, and my place in society. I will earn the respect I command and know that it’s my own doing if that respect ceases. It is every person’s right to fight for what they need, and you don’t need to fight for it under the umbrella of any movement, as far as I’m concerned.
It was my intention to write about the situation on council for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and how a younger, female councillor’s suitability for a committee position was called into question by the older, male councillors, despite her education, experience, and qualifications. The opposing councillors suggested that, since the meetings could get “heavy,” one of them might be a better choice.
That’s what I intended to write about, but I got sidetracked by using the concept of feminism as a preamble. Luckily, that female councillor doesn’t need me to go to bat for her, because she went to bat for herself. She got up and told them why she was the right candidate for that committee seat, and she has spent the past few days telling them and everyone else exactly what she thinks of their vote of non-confidence.
Additionally, there were other councillors, male and female, who also stood up for her in chambers and out. That’s what strong, confident people do; they stand up for themselves and for others. They work for what they want and fight only when they don’t get it, not whether or not they do.
That’s an approach I can stand behind.