I've never been into feminism. In part, because I never really needed it. Not that feminism isn't needed. No one can deny how many women experience sexual violence, lack political, social, and economic rights. I'm just saying that I'm one of those lucky women standing on the shoulders off all the great women and men who have made women's equality a reality at least for some. I was lucky enough to have a father who would be elated if I were Secretary of State or Britney Spears. When my parents remarried, I gained a step-father who encouraged me patiently and consistently for 15+ years to get a PhD. No, the men in my family were cheerleaders. They opened doors.
And in the work place, I found myself having more challenges with senior women. In most cases, however, my challenges in the work place were simply my own. I've probably missed more opportunities because of sour thinking, self-righteous attitudes, fear, ignorance, and small thinking than because of my gender.
Yup. I finally got it that I was responsible for my own thriving.
One of my colleagues, a woman in the military, really cannot believe me. But it feels true. Maybe it was the all girls camp I went to where we learned to shoot a 22. We competed with boys camps and 99% of the time, we won. If I ever meet you, tell me to sing you our rifle team song, it's so cheerful.
So, all this to say I have never taken a women studies course. The closet I came was an independent study my final summer at UPenn with now Harvard President, Drew Faust. I wanted to study Penn women in the 60s. So, I interviewed a bunch of these women to find out about their experiences. They were not "feminists" in their minds, they were simply women who wanted to pursue biochemistry, etc. They were driven by their desire to pursue something and for the women with whom I spoke, that "something" was never women's rights.
This inspired me. Yes, I thought, this is what I like...spending time around women pursuing what means something to them...exhilarating.
I have often found feminist theory angry. I would complete the book or article feeling more oppressed than I had before reading it. So, I steered clear and instead sought role models and fellow travelers.
That worked until my period stopped. Not pregnancy just imbalance and thanks to some amazing Network Spinal Analysis practitioners who could bring my period in one visit..life took another turn. A few precise pokes on the sacrum and the feminine river of life began to flow again.
What I found through Network and other modalities was not that I needed more feminism to regain my bodies natural balance, I needed more feminine. Now I wear pink..actually writing this in pink pajamas. But It's not all about pink in spite of what some 7 year olds might say. It's the freedom of movement, dance, the permission to be, to feel to flow. So thanks to some of the work of Tony & Sage Robbins (ironically a man) and many in the healing arts, I have come to rejoice again in the feminine.
Fluidity, being, joy, enthusiasm, color, movement...
I've been at this for awhile and it's starting to become a bit more integrated. And yesterday, it didn't occur to me when dressing for a Gender conference held at our university that I would don a suit.
It was a glorious spring day yesterday in DC. It's cherry blossom season. Everything is in bloom and I felt myself blooming with it. So on went the white pants, pale blue sweater and pink scarf....and because I was running late...the rollerblades
In a slight panic trying to find the floor (I can be a bit maniacal about being on time-- sometimes), I finally arrive, and roll-- literally-- right into the conference. I see roughly seven women in suits getting their breakfast. Suits? Really? I guess so. It's a conference and people wear suits. I was the odd ball. But I thought "gender conference" liberation! Celebration..safe to "be" in the world. Safe to "be" what we are-- feminine, masculine, and all the other LBTQ...possible combinations.
Have western women won if they have to wear grey suits to a gender conference on one of the most beautiful DC days of the year? On a Saturday?
Now, I could be off base here..I understand that folks deserve to be heard...Note I did not say "taken seriously" because I think DC is serious enough. Don't we more easily see each other's humanity when we are dressed for a BBQ than for a meeting?
Suits have their place..but I don't feel like I'm stepping into the full expression of the feminine when I step into one. And I did for 10 years working for an advertising company.
For me the goal of "feminism" would be making it safe to be feminine -- to "be" is enough.
"When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple" as Jenny Joseph said. For moi, while I am still relatively young, I shall keep considering pink..even for a conference. Leave the suits to Don Draper. He looks fabulous in one.