Feminist or not. Does it matter?

Mary Lou Retton Optimism QuoteMaybe I’m wired differently…well, ok – I know I’m wired a lot differently from most, but surely we can all agree on some things, right? I’m talking about celebrating women who inspire. Can we all agree it’s a good thing to talk about and celebrate women who motivate and challenge us to be better people? Shouldn’t we honor and acknowledge the women who have paved the path towards gender quality before us? I would like to think so.

But alas, it never fails. No matter who or what I write about, I usually get a few people who point out something negative about the person or a disagreement in their philosophy or religion or education, etc. Or, in the case of my Margaret Thatcher quotes post yesterday, the celebrated lady is not *gasp* – a feminist. Thank you blog readers and Facebook fans for pointing that out, but I already knew about her comments on feminism. The blogosphere was full of posts and commentary on “Margaret the anti-feminist”. It was hard to miss.

Please bear with me as I’m not belittling anyone’s opinion. I just need help understanding what the heck is going on in the world of women. We are ALL going to have differences of opinion. I get that.

What I’m not grasping is why we can’t celebrate the parts of the person that inspire us? What’s wrong with liking a quote by someone who may have a differing line of thought than you? Do you have to dismiss everything about them because they have different politics or they wear a label that offends you? To me, that’s just silly.

I’m going to use the Margaret Thatcher controversy as my example. She was clearly not a feminist. She even went so far as to rejoice in the fact that feminists hated her. Stepping back and looking at this from an objective lens, I can see why feminists don’t like her. But if you stop and think about it, she was still a feminist role model in that she was the first female Prime Minister of Britain whether she wanted to be a feminist role model or not. She made some great speeches and some of her quotes are quite motivational. I see nothing wrong in celebrating some of her victories. After all, her political victory in becoming the first female Prime Minister is also a victory for me as a woman. She helped pave the road to women’s equality, whether she intended to or not.

Sometimes I wish we could just set aside these feminist battle lines and just agree that we are a diverse group of women with varying opinions. We need to agree to disagree and understand that it’s ok to celebrate that diversity. Does it really matter if the person next to you wears the same label as you do? Does a label automatically mean the person is no good and their thoughts are invalid?

I can think of people right now that I truly don’t like or is the complete polar opposite of  how I think and act. But I can still admire them for things they’ve achieved or said. I can peel back the label and find a human element there I can identify with and celebrate it. Isn’t that what we should be doing as feminists? As women? As human beings?

Maybe I’m totally off base here. What are your thoughts?



  1. byfaith9 on April 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Where’s the “like” button?

  2. Connor Harley on April 20, 2013 at 9:04 am

    It is so sad to realize that even in this modern times, there are still a lot who distinguish a person’s achievement through his/her gender. I guess it is now time to acknowledge a person’s strength as a human being and not based on his/her gender.

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