On why I’m a feminist

Dear Dad,

Mom called to say you’re upset. She said you feel like I don’t appreciate you? And I thought at first it was about the poem I sent her on Mother’s Day, but she said you’re worried I’m a feminist. Like I don’t respect tradition, or that I don’t value the way I was brought up.

I’m here to tell you, Dad, that is absolutely not true. In fact, when people ask me about why I’m a feminist, how I became interested in researching feminism, I think my upbringing deserves the most credit.

You taught me to think for myself, to question authority. You raised me to look critically at issues. All those dinner table debates, with me arguing against the death penalty, for instance, and you playing devil’s advocate? I had to really examine both sides, understand all the arguments, logical, ethical and emotional, in order to come to an informed conclusion about what I believed was right, and then defend my position.

You taught me to pay attention. I always admired the way you were home in time for the news, and when you weren’t watching the news you were reading, books, papers, magazines, Internet. And when you couldn’t read you were listening to talk radio.

You taught me to respect myself, and to dream big, that I could reach as high as I wanted. And you taught me that women deserve respect.

It was only when I got out into the world that I saw how wide the gap between how women should be treated and how they really are treated was. And I started asking questions. And I started paying attention. I read everything I could find on the subject. I read the feminist points of view, and I read the MRAs that made me physically ill.

And I decided I was a feminist. And it’s thanks to you.

And if this is about the poem I wrote for Mom, I’ve written poems about you, too, Dad. But it was Mother’s Day.




2 thoughts on “On why I’m a feminist

  1. Dear Vicki,

    First let me put the record straight. I was not upset that you sent a poem to your mother. In fact just the opposite, I was delighted that you remember your mom on mother’s day. I did make a comment about one line in the poem that I thought showed me in a rather rough light. The line was something about me making a fist and growling, but after I said it I forgot about it until your blog. I only remembered that you were thoughtful enough to write a poem for your mom on mother’s day. There that is set straight.

    I was also delighted on how you described your formative years. It touched my heart that I have influenced you in such a profound way. Here is the thing though; my influence does not come from a feminist ideology. Rather it comes from three other sources. First it comes from my Christian faith that teaches me that all people whatever their race, creed or gender deserve respect. Second it comes from the family I was brought up in. I was brought up in household were the woman was a strong woman. Your grandmother was an exceptional person who ended up being the business manager of highly successful branch of a multi-million dollar company. She taught me how to treat women with respect. In addition, the man, your grandfather, loved and cherished his wife. He was also a father that challenged me to think for myself, which is the third point. He would do the same thing to me (take the opposite side) as I have done to you. It was for the same reason too, the desire to discover the truth.

    I have never been as good as my dad but I have tried to bring that same attitude in my relationship with your mother, and I hope that I have passed on that same perspective to your brothers. I can’t imagine either of them being gross and inappropriate to women in the way you describe in some of your other posts, but more on that later.

    To sum up there are three things that led to what you describe in your letter: a healthy family life, a strong sense God’s compassion not only for one group of people but for all people, and a determination to understand and defend the truth. That is all for now.

    Love Dad

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