I'd be lying if I said I didn't become more of a feminist after bringing a daughter into this world. I'd also be lying if I said I didn't become much more aware of the impact my female brain could make on the world after birthing this little powerhouse of a daughter of mine.
It's because of the womanly powers of my body that I have embraced all things "feminism," and my hope is that my daughter will one day follow in these high-heeled, successful footsteps that I've put forth for her, with her and because of her. There are a few things I'd teach her just to minimize any confusion on what it means to actually be a feminist.
You do not need to toss your bra into a bonfire in the middle of the street to be considered a feminist. You do not need to trash your razor and let your lady parts grow over with hair to be considered a feminist. You do not need to walk into work screaming, "F*ck the Man!" to prove a point or be considered a feminist.
Hilariously, these are some of the misconceptions about feminism that still hold true today. Some people think feminists are man-hating, braless, angry women who want to be taken really, really seriously.
OK, they're not all a misconceptions because we do want to be taken seriously. Who doesn't?
But if you're anything like me, you're probably believe feminism is more about your actions than what you look like, what you wear or whether or not you shave your legs. Feminism is being able to be successful in whatever the hell you'd like to do with your life. Because after all, it's your life, and you don't need anyone to determine where you find your success or happiness.
The truth is, I am hoping that by the time my daughter reaches adulthood - the need for feminism will no longer exist. My dream is that women, all women, of all sizes, shapes, and colors, will one day be respected, all over the world, for their strength and brainpower. I hope she will never have to face inequality in the workplace or be treated better or worse because of what she looks like. There are days I think we could get to this place - and days I realize we are still so far away.
Just in case, though, my little girl will be raised to understand what it means to be a feminist. Feminism means so many things to so many different people.
Here are the top three things my daughter needs to know about being a feminist (a respectable one, at that):
1. Feminism is knowing that kindness always wins.
As I mentioned above, bitchiness and feminism do not need to go hand in hand. It is my belief that anything can be done with just the right amount of kindness. Use your womanly intuition and tap into just how much kindness will get the job done in any situation, and you're halfway there.
Be kind to those you love, be kind to those you don't, be kind to those who can help you on your path and be kind to those who cannot. Kindness always wins, my dear. You'll lay your head down each night with pride if you follow this one rule, and damn it, you'll make mama really, really proud.
2. Feminism is learning to stand up for yourself and to say no without apologizing.
Another major misconception about feminism (and womanhood in general) is that standing up for yourself makes you a bitch. It's that using the word "no" should always be followed by an apology and long-winded explanation.
No, my dear. The opposite is true. To be taken seriously, to have your opinions and ideas hold weight and to gain any respect at all, you must hold strong to all of the above. "No" is a powerful word. Own it. You can still be a "lady" without giving in to the expectations of others.
You can still be a strong woman without needing to please others simply for their approval. Stand up for yourself. Say no when you need to. It will all fall in line under your terms and conditions, after you've learned to set guidelines and boundaries.
3. Feminism is believing in the power of your abilities and putting them into action.
Have an idea, plan, goal or a cause you're fighting for? There is no reason you cannot follow through with any of these things simply because you're of the female gender.
Mama knew from the moment you made your loud and proud debut into this world that you'd be capable of great things. Go for it. Be a feminist in the sense that you are confident in your capabilities and you have a cause worth fighting for, and nothing will stand in your way.
So, today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter, know how proud your mother is to be a woman, to live and work among strong women and to be raising a great one while doing it all under these new rules for feminism.
Because after all, who runs the world? Girls.