I went to a Lecture last night given by Monica Casper, Feminist Extraordinaire. If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I ever thought I’d go to a feminist lecture, I would have openly laughed at you. I didn’t know anything about feminism, other than the fact that my dad often jokingly referred to them as “feminazis.” Years later, I was in a philosophy class studying the women’s movement and I mentioned the phrase “feminazis” out loud in my class. My professor dismissed what I had been saying (and rightly so), and mentioned that perhaps my dad shouldn’t listen to so much Rush Limbaugh.
“How did Dr. Roark know my dad listened to Rush Limbaugh?” I wondered later. My friends had to inform me that Rush had popularized that term, and that’s probably where my dad learned it.
Sometimes when I look back on the things that I blurted out during my youth, I get so embarrassed I consider writing notes of apology and explanation to everyone who heard me. Even if I could look up the 20 some-odd people that were in my philosophy class, nobody would remember the time that I trashed feminism. Even if they did, they wouldn’t have thought about it in years. I’d just be reminding them of what a narrow-minded idiot I was. No need to go around reminding people. Unless, of course, it’s for blog fodder, apparently.
So my history of insensitivity towards feminism aside, I went to go see Monica Casper speak last night. I got an email invitation to the lecture, and forwarded it to my decidedly-feminist friend, Emma. Emma was even more excited about the lecture than I assumed she would be. Her excitement about feminism was catching. I found myself excited about the lecture. As soon as Professor Casper began to speak, I realized that Emma and I had made a good choice in deciding to come. She spoke to the large crowd as if we were all fairly unfamiliar with Feminism with a capital F. I appreciated her willingness to explain her foundations in feminism, what her “feminist lens” is, and how she does all her wide-ranging research asking the same question: How does this effect women? She took the time to explain what “feminism” means to her.
As she continued to talk about the questions that spawned her resarch projects, I realized that I’d pondered on a lot of the same topics before. I guess being concerned about my friends and myself is, in a way, feminism. I spend time thinking about what women are and aren’t capable of doing. Lately I’ve been thinking about how our best baby making years usually happen right after we’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on preparing ourselves for the work force. Then after we’re fully equipped to start our carrers, some of us choose (or have to) walk away from the work force in order to have babies and a family. I just never thought about them as feminist issues. I just thought of them as issues that effect me.
So, consider me enlighened. I’m practically a feminist.