I'm a fan of lots of "F" words: flip flops, falafel, and that 4-letter F-word that comes catapulting off my tongue when I stub my toe, step on the cat, or accidentally drink my paint water.
One particular "F" word though, has gotten a lot of attention lately, and not unlike that other 4-letter F-word, it's not always been received warmly. The thing about Feminism is that it's not a bad word. It's not a scary word. It's simply a word that means "the advocacy of women's rights". In other words, it means supporting the idea that women are equal to men. That's it. It doesn't mean, "man-hating" or the idea that women are superior (although, have you ever seen a man with a head cold vs a woman in active labor? But I digress...).
Supporting women's equality does not mean actively trying to devalue men. This is not a mutually exclusive concept where only one gender gets to win. Over half of the country's population is female, and it genuinely baffles me as to why empowering half of the country could possibly be seen as a bad thing. What is there to be afraid of?
This shouldn't even be up for discussion, much less be a hot-button political issue. Yes, there are many differences between men and women; we are not the same. Yes, we have different chromosomes and while the contents of our underpants may differ, the contents of our characters do not. Women deserve the same rights and opportunities as men, and vice versa. The end.
I do realize that there are different religious beliefs and gender-specific limitations (for example, men lack the uterus required to conceive and grow a fetus, and women lack the set of testicles required to scratch loudly while watching television). I am simply suggesting that all women be afforded the same opportunities.
I look forward to the day when my granddaughter, or Madame President, as we'll probably call her, laughs at the stories I'll tell her about women earning 70 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as a man. She will shake her head at my stories, the way that I did when MY grandmother told me stories about walking to school uphill both ways.
I have no doubt that equality will someday be a given, a complete non-issue that we brazenly take for granted. Eventually no one will remember anything differently and we can focus on more pressing arguments, like which way the toilet paper roll should face...