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.