This I Believe

Alegra - San Diego, California
Entered on January 10, 2007

These days, Feminists can’t seem to win. There is a whole rash of anti-Feminists who claim that Feminists killed chivalry. I agree. But I also agree with the Feminists. In short, I believe in being feminine.

A famous summary states, “Feminism is the notion that women are people too.” Yet during college, my own sister flat out told me, “You Feminists ruined things for the rest of us women. I like it when guys open the door for me.” It hurt my feelings back then; I was fighting for equality, but I can understand it now. The Feminists and the anti-Feminists are both right.

But they’re also both wrong. The idea that there are “Feminists” and then “the rest of the women” is inherently un-feminine.

If I’d grown up in the sixties, I probably would have been one of the first to be burning my bras. But that was more than thirty years ago; both Feminism and the world have evolved. Besides, I like the support.

I studied mechanical engineering for two years in college. My professors were male, my fellow students were male, and the environment was completely male. That was what did me in. I couldn’t live in that competitive, linear-thinking atmosphere. I changed to the life sciences, earning my degree in ecology. We examined things as systems with myriad, complex factors. We didn’t take apart and re-assemble mechanical pencils (which I did as an engineer). We looked at how sunlight, water, geography, plants and animals interacted together.

I only studied basic mechanical engineering and don’t claim to understand the nuances. But my impression from those two years, and my life experience since, is that male dominated worldviews look at “things” as separate from the world as a whole, and that’s the problem with Feminism. We can’t fight to be included in a skewed system. As important as they are, fighting for the right to wear pants, vote, drive a car, join the military, or earn equal wages won’t make the world fair. Even the idea of fighting is anti-feminine. It’s not a fight. We must look at the bigger picture.

True Femininity is not at odds with true Feminism. There is real power in being Feminine; it’s a different kind of power from masculine power. If a man opens the door for me, it’s respecting my Femininity, my soft side. It doesn’t mean that he thinks I can’t open the door for myself.

The new Feminists don’t fight. We open up doors to new ways of looking at and living in the world. Or better yet, we stand in front of those doors while a chivalrous man opens them for us, so both can enter.

I believe that being Feminine is the absolute form of being a Feminist. I believe an appreciation for the soft underbelly of the world will yield the most thorough and rapid transformation into a peaceful world in which all people are considered equal.