A few weeks ago, I read an article that spoke a great deal on why feminism isn’t inclusive to all women, but the entire idea of feminism behind the article was grossly misinterpreted. The article spoke on how women who want to be homemakers and stay-at-home moms didn’t feel the need for women’s marches. They felt that feminists and feminism was against the ideals of their life choices. What confused me was what they didn’t understand about feminism and how it advocated for all women.
Feminism has had a long history of being undermined and misunderstood, but if we’re being realistic, it has also had a long history of exclusion by omission. Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” Right in the definition we come across an issue – sex is how a person is born, but gender is how a person chooses to express themselves. So, if feminism is based on equality of the sexes, then transgender women and gender fluid women often find themselves left out of feminism campaigns. A lot of the time, the main women on the frontlines of feminism are white women and while their intentions are generally good, they often don’t understand the separate issues that affect women of color. Minority women often face a great deal of issues all their own and as a result, are also often excluded from the general feminism narrative.
I believe that feminism should include all women and I truly believe that any feminist who understands what it means and cares about the betterment of women, extends that to all women – no matter their skin color, gender expression or choice of occupation. This brings me back to my original point. What bothered me so much about the article on why stay-at-home moms didn’t feel the need for any more feminist marches is that it didn’t make any sense. The idea behind the feminist movement is to fight for equality of all women, so that both men and women enjoy the same quality of life. In this day in age, it’s about choices and being able to choose how you want to live your life, rather than being restrained to certain means of employment. A woman can be both a feminist and a stay-at-home mom. There is no need to undermine the feminist movement just because you feel that your life choice is different. I understand that some women would say that your choice to be a homemaker goes against feminist ideals, but I would also say that those women don’t truly understand feminism either.
No matter the differences between women, feminism encourages the advancement of all women and that includes the choices they make. What’s important to realize though is that years and years of fighting by women throughout history has brought us to this exact moment – one where women can choose which fields they want to enter. Years ago, there wouldn’t have been a choice at all – all women would have been homemakers and stay-at-home moms. Until women can enjoy the same gratuities afforded to all men, until all women can obtain CEO positions, until all women are paid the same, then there’s still a need for women’s marches.