Well, because I’m a feminist.
Actually, it really isn’t that simple. Let me start from the beginning. I was raised for the first thirteen years of my life by a single (as in unmarried but dating) mother who instilled in me a profound love of reading and books. This same mother encouraged me to be who I wanted to be. She supported me in all of my interests and never told me that I could or could not be something I wanted to be.
When I went off to college to study English, writing, and Literature she didn’t judge me or tell me I should do something different. She encouraged me to do what I loved because she wanted me to be my own person and she wanted me to be happy.
While in college, I took a Women Writers of World Literature course and fell in love. Through the course I was introduced to Kate Chopin, Margaret Atwood, Emily Dickinson, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Sandra Cisneros, Alice Walker, bell hooks, Edwidge Danticat, and many more. My world was suddenly so much bigger and, more importantly, I realized that I was a feminist, even if I have never really considered myself one (thanks to all of the negative press). As cliche as it sounds, I was never the same again.
[[ Allow me to interrupt myself here: when I say feminist, I am referring to the true definition of the word: someone who believes in the equality of women, men, and everyone in between, no matter what race or which religion. I do not believe any one sex is better than another. Certain sexes can be better at certain things, like child birth and sports, but that doesn’t make them superior overall. ]]
Nearly two years ago (a couple of years after I took that course) my mother died. I was devastated. Though we had our differences, my mother was always my number one supporter and I love her so very much. After that, something else changed in me. A raw void in me was opened and left empty, yes, but something new blossomed in its place. I wasn’t quite sure what it was but when Emma gave her HeForShe speech at the United Nations a few months later, it dawned on me. Even though I had already figured out that I was a feminist, I had never really understood the identity I was assuming. Furthermore, it was a realization that I believe my mother had made years before, though in a vastly different time (she was my age, 25, in 1983) and, subsequently, in a vastly different way.
Fast-forward to just a few nights ago when Emma announced her book club. I was elated and knew I had to sign up right away. Not only is Emma an actress I admire, but she is an activist that I look up to. And here was my chance to not only branch out into a gorgeous and thoughtful movement, but I could also connect with others who, like me, want equality.
I can’t wait to see where this takes me and I can’t wait to see what I learn and who I meet on the way.
I hope to see you there!