Free to Be You And Me.
Call me brainwashed — I grew up with the 70's kid-record of the decade, Free to Be You and Me. I knew side A & B by heart, and so did my brothers, sisters and all our hippie-kid friends. That record shaped who I am, for better, not worse. As a result, my life-long definition of feminism is easy for a four-year old to remember: Equal rights for humans. Duh.
You can’t spin it into five hundred arguments and you don’t have to own a vagina to believe it.
I like feminism without all the fuss, when it's radically simple, like the ABC's, with maybe an E R A in the mix. I'm down with Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, Gloria Steinem, and the words of Coretta Scott King — because they all speak clearly and don't confuse the cause.
Currently we’ve got an alphabet soup of feminist beliefs that I can't swallow. Why? Because they taste like cardboard. If you want to know what flavors to avoid, here's a spoonful for reference:
A. Ivanka Trump is a fake feminist.
I’ll give her credit — She’s well spoken, and looks great on camera. Don’t believe the costume. She already uses her platform as a working mother to warm hearts and sell ugly bracelets. She’s looked America in the eye and lied about her dedication to women. Equal pay? It’s not going to happen. Taking down Roe VS Wade? That's what's happening. This not-so-secret First Lady has remained silent while her daddy nominates the most harrowing team of misogynists to advise the country. She tweets pictures of herself happily frolicking at home with kids, while bills are signed to dismantle rights of women less fortunate than herself.
Sorry hon. You’re the face of what not-helping-the situation looks like.
Ivanka’s flavor of feminism: Once-in-a-life-time-marketing-opportunity.
B. Sheryl Sandberg is playing it safe.
Any female CEO in tech deserves a deep bow of respect. She also quietly donated a big chunk of money to planned parenthood. Amazing!
So what’s going on with her Lean In movement? Sheryl wants to promote other females in the workplace, and mentor them from a huge platform. Why then, does she avoid a political discussion when guidance is most needed in her community? In these politically filthy times, you can't wash one hand without the other; women in the work place are going to be affected by the new administration. The Republican’s aggressive anti-female agenda is a real agenda — they want to set the clock back to 1950.
I get it, Sheryl — You have a job at Facebook. But as a leader in a man’s word, women look to you for pointers. The shit has hit the fan and you've got nothing for us?
This is feminism 101 for leaders. If you don’t stand up for true equality, then you’re sitting down in agreement with inequality. I'm confused, Sheryl. Have you tried leaning in, while sitting down? It’s not so effective.
Sheryl Sandberg's flavor of feminism: Cheerleader in a Frat House.
C. Progressive Divas
You can find them hiding out in lefty-comfort communities throughout the USA. Their worldview is a map of positivity, rainbows and unicorns — It’s charming. However they also believe the women’s movement happened in their time. Therefore, women of the next generation should't complain, because EVERYTHING IS FINE NOW.
I attended one such meet-up in Berkeley, California. I thought they had assembled to discuss women’s issues, as advertised. They had not. This meeting was an excuse to shove unicorns and goddesses into an interpretive dance. When it was my turn to share, I did it – I performed the dance – a true story about my recent sexual assault in a New York music club. I pantomimed how a random white dude in a baseball cap reached out and groped me. In the spirit of dance vernacular, I portrayed his attack with Jazz hands. Then I reenacted my struggle, punching him and yelling for security. The dude let go, but retaliated with the meanest words he could spit, "You're old enough to be my Mom!"
Ok. Maybe my choreography was a little weird.
When my performance was over, the audience looked horrified. I'd expected an applause, hugs and support. But no. These women were appalled, as if I’d just stabbed their favorite unicorn.
In case you were wondering, this how you don't get asked back. The leader-diva called me up to me to say I was just 'too negative', and I'd upset the harmony of their circle.
Being rejected by women at a women’s support group became my new running joke. But it also made me wonder, how deep could a so-called feminists' head be shoved in the sand? When people refuse to confront the ugly reality, people like Trump get elected to be President.
The progressive diva’s flavor of feminism: Denial baby. Because misogyny and unicorns can’t possibly live on the same planet.
D. New Wave Feminists
When a pro-life group from Texas starts elbowing into the mix, just block them. These women are free to be anti-abortion, and they can join the Tea Party, where they belong.
They can't have the word 'feminist' – absolutely not. It's bad enough they've hijacked the term New Wave. What is new about being anti-abortion?
I can't even...
If you want to know more about them:
But do end on a positive. We don't need to re-invent feminism, and gender equality, because Free to Be You and Me got it right the first time.