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Feminism

Hi! I am 17 yrs old, and recently I have become very interested in the feminist movemenent. I come from a single mother family. I think that this has something to do with the way I feel. My dad basically has no contact with me, which is his choice, though I don't mind. Since I was very young I have always heard my mom talk about my dad and other men in a disrespectful way. I never thought that it affected me, but now that I've been dating people more regularly, I feel that my whole mentality towards men is so different from that of my girlfriends. I'm really confused whether or not I am a feminist. What does it mean exactly? Also what type of standards would I need to uphold if I were to become a feminist? Thank you very much for your time - KAT

Thanks for your note. I was actually raised by a single mother, too. I don't know my father and I can honestly say that at age 30 it has had little bearing on my life. Just thought I'd share that similiarity.

However, a difference is that my mother didn't say mean things about men. In fact, I was partially raised by my grandfather, my mother's father, so I actually grew up with a great male role model. I think that he was a better "father" to me than he was to my mother--mostly because by the time I came around he was retired and so had more time to give. Also, he was less traditionally masculine as he had eased into his role of grandfather and was less the patriarch of the family.

Again, I'm rambling, but the point is that nothing about feminism should be anti-male, it can certainly be anti-certain men, just as it can be anti-certain women, but the point is to liberate each individual from their assumed roles in society and allow them to be individuals. Feminism is as much about freeing men from their roles as it is about freeing women. And I think that once we have done that we will actually have better relationships with men, because they will be our choice and we will be entering them as equal individuals rather than as one person who needs to dominate and one who expects to be dominated.

As for what you would need to do in order to be a feminist--you really just have to be who you want to be. That freedom to be and choose is exactly what feminism is about. However, this doesn't mean that you can make choices that will limit other peoples' choices. I guess that would be the only thing you can't do. Does that help? Also look through previous "Ask Amys", which are filled with examples of who is/isn't a feminist as well as what feminism is/isn't.


Amy

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