Recently I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a feminist today–and why so many women still reject the label. Even Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, which offers advice for women to achieve their professional goals, never wanted to be called a feminist while she was in school. While I was in college, I was no different.
“The word feminist conjures up a militant feeling,” one of my best friends explained. She said that many women don’t want to be associated with that kind of feminist, but rather the kind who makes her own choices and is eligible for the same opportunities as men. She thought we should create a new word for that kind of feminist.I considered these thoughts, but then rejected them. Every word has multiple meanings and it is up to us to embrace and perhaps, promote, the meanings that speak to us.It is similar to the way we interact with the world on our travels. Every day on Pink Pangea, I read stories of women who travel to places that present many challenges to women. These challenges don’t keep women away. Instead, they make sure to educate themselves to travel effectively and safely. They choose to meet the world as it is and experience it in the most fulfilling way possible.Next week, my husband is going on a business trip to Africa and my mother is coming to Tel Aviv to spend the week with me. While I only realized it a few years ago, she is one of the greatest feminists in my life. Though she was encouraged to become a teacher, she followed her dreams and became a writer. In her 20s, she first began building her business as a freelance journalist and has been doing what she loves ever since.
What does feminism mean to you? We’d love to hear your thoughts!