Posts Tagged ‘Betty Friedan’

seventeen years ago i was attending illinois state university…living one of my dreams, to live at and attend a university.  for one of my social work classes (i majored in social work for a while…i ended up graduating with a degree in sociology) the teacher offered us extra credit if we went to see someone who was going to be speaking at isu, betty freidan.

i used to participate in almost anything i heard about at isu, whether it was a movie at capen or a woman speaking in walker about her experience growing up in iran.  so i gladly went to see betty freidan speak, happy to soak up yet another person’s perspective and thoughts on life…and why not get a few extra points while i was at it.  all we had to do was write a little paragrah on the talk, probably to “prove” we actually attended.  when i was writing my paragraph, i started to think about the “f” word…feminism.  people always called me a feminist, like that was a bad thing…and i didn’t like being called a feminist.  i still don’t.  it felt, and feels, dismissive to me…as most labels do.  so here is my short little paper on the “f” word and a bit of what betty freidan had to say.  i guess my professor really liked what i had to say as she gave me 6 out of 5 points.  : )

i am a bit embarrassed by the way i wrote back then.  reading it now, i find myself wanting to “correct” so much, but i will leave it as it is…practice feeling vulnerable.  i will say that i never thought women were better then men…i still don’t.  i am a big fan of men…and women.

i write in my paper that women are in some ways more “vibrant” then men.  i know what i meant…i didn’t mean better…i meant different. i think men are just as vibrant as women but our society shuns them for expressing that.  i actually think men have a harder time in our society then women.  i think we, as a society, don’t want them to be who they are…that there is something “wrong” with men expressing some of their personality traits…from crying, being sensitive, expressing how they feel, to wanting boys to sit still all day at a desk when it usually goes against their biological make-up.  we tell boys that acting out “violent” or “aggressive” play is “bad”, yet that is, in many cases who they naturally are.  i’m not saying boys are violent or aggressive in a “bad” way, but i do think many of them “need” to use pretend play to express something inside them that can look violent or aggressive. i think many times we are as uncomfortable with their physicality and energy as we are with their beautiful sensitivity.

while we are all individuals in so many wonderful ways, i think each gender has it’s natural “strengths”…of course we all don’t fall into those specific categories, nor do i think we “should”, but in general men and women are hard wired in certain ways.  i think it would behoove us, as a society, to accept people for who they are, celebrate our diversity and gifts, instead of judging things that make us uncomfortable.  i, for one, have learned A LOT from examining things that made me uncomfortable…and most times found that the thing that was making me uncomfortable was me…that there was something in me that needed to heal or something in me i needed to stop and take a look at.

so here’s a link to my paper if you are interested.  the f word

what do you think?  are you a feminist?  do you have any thoughts on gender?

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