I wish I never had to wear the label, Feminist.
But I wear it with all of its man-hating, Xena Warrior Princess stereotypes because I refuse to stand by and watch women being treated poorly.
Some days, it feels like I am all alone on this mission of equality. Whether Congress holds a reproductive rights hearing and forgot to include women on the panel or birth control demonized by religious groups and politicians it is enough to make me almost throw up my hands and weep for the plight of women and girls globally. Almost.
Despite so many set backs in the equal rights movement, I take comfort that I am standing with so many foremothers. This month, we are honoring one of our foremothers Mary Wollstonecraft and her work Vindication of the Rights of Women. Over 220 years ago, she published a book that delineated that women should no longer be treated as inferiors to men. She watched how her mother was abused, suffered unfilled longing in love, and barely stomached society’s education standards for women.
This is why I adore Mary Wollstonecraft. After reading her introduction, she logically tackles the authority assumed by men over women, and she argues not for women to overpower men but to have rule over their own bodies. So far, I have highlighted and underlined and “You go sister”-ed through all of the book. Her logic demands that women be educated to instill moral values in their children. Women cannot fully be moral unless they understand the rationale behind such regulations. Treating women like living dress up dolls rips apart the very fabric of domestic morality and poisons our future society.
But I’m still deeply grieved. After all this time, I see the same problems plaguing women. We don’t have control over our bodies because men are telling us how and when to reproduce. Marriage is still the best option for women disguised behind the facade of the “working” woman mentality. Have we really come this far? Are we so modern that we fail to recognize the same issues that plagued Wollstonecraft are still plaguing us today?