Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How I Became a Feminist (and You Can Too!)

"We can never go back to before." - Ragtime

I used to think I wasn't a feminist. I was for equal rights, I confidently told myself, not favouring women over men. I wasn't interested in getting into heated arguments about the glass ceiling or birth control. And I had never once burned my bra.

Part of this disavowal came from my annoyance with the possessive apostrophe in "women's history." Just because I was female didn't mean this was more my history than the male sitting next to me. I felt that with that apostrophe came the presumption that because I was a woman I should be interested in women's history. And I don't take kindly to presumptions. I was grateful for the civil rights this history had given me, but I was equally thankful for other gifts from my predecessors, like germ theory and the Emancipation Proclamation. I was a human. My history was the history of humanity - of women and men, West and East, Emperor and colonist, Native and settler. It was all my inheritance, and everyone else's too.