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I am a "Feminist", but I do not hate men; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I have intimately and completely loved men, albeit with not outstanding results, but I remain a believer, a cautious believer, a believer with grazes that won’t heal and old scars.  I Love my Dad, I surpass Love for my two teenage boys; I love my brother.  So I guess that makes me a Feminine Feminist.  I am aware of my abilities.  I hold no grand elusions about myself, but I know that I have not even begun to tap in to all I am capable of.  I am middle aged and I look forward to being all I can be.  I am a proud strong Woman.  I treasure that I am strong enough to walk alone.  I prefer my uniqueness as an individual, and a man does not validate me.  My wholeness comes from internal mechanisms that grow and thrive every day.  I like the color Pink, GHD's fashion and being a Female.  I have lead a hard life, but it does not define me, rather it pushes me I have raised two teenage boys alone that I admire, love and am the biggest fans of. 

Feminism Means Recognizing Your Individual Unique Self And Not Being Confined By Stigmas

In voicing the Feminist that I am, I am not criticizing the myriad of Women that also identify as a Feminist.  If annually taking off your top, exposing your breasts and jumping on the back of a Harley makes you feel as though you are a feminist, then honey, pop those puppies out, you are doing what makes you feel empowered by choice, you are claiming your right of choice, you are sourcing the aliveness in you.  If wearing Men’s clothes, wearing your hair short, vicariously living like a man, resembling a man and competing with men in your work, social life or life in general makes you a Feminist, then rock on honey!  To me, feminism means recognizing your individual unique self, your needs, your desires, and not being confined by stigmas and expectations born of out of date “Norms”.  Equality doesn’t have to be “if we are equal miss so’ n ’so, you could chop the dam wood!  You could re-roof the house miss feminist, followed by a belly laugh. 

I too am on a journey; my journey to Feminism is infused in my core, historically planted like seeds by my two grandmothers: one with weathered hands and dirt compacted under her once youthful line free fingernails, dirty nails and hard weathered hands from scaling the banks of her veritable mountain of a vegetable garden.  A garden that reprieved her from the isolation she endured, isolation imposed by my grandfather a soldier before, during and after the Second World War.  My grandmother sacrificed her incredible mind and her art to be a “good wife” for that sacrifice she bore lines on her face that were not consistent with those that form from years of smiling.  My grandmother also wore stovepipe trousers when women of her age and era didn’t.  My Grandmother hand sewed her own under garments from my grandfathers old tee shirts, and twisted her long mane of golden hair into a messy bun held up with the bones of fish she had torn apart for dinner.  My Grandmother wore Jewelry made of other peoples rubbish, buttons and ribbons.  My Grandmother fought to hold on to her unique if not peculiar style despite her surroundings.  My Grandmother died how she lived, in isolation, wearing handmade undergarments and stovepipe trousers fighting. 

A Contradiction To The Myth That Single Mothers Raise Dysfunctional Offspring

In contrast my other grandmother, my Nan, was a “lady” - a lady with a full set of sharp butchers knifes, a lady that had raised 6 children alone before there was a welfare system, alone because her husband had died.  Fond memories I have of my Nan include her telling me that she would have used one of those knifes if her husband had controlled her much more during their marriage.  My Nan told me on one occasion my grandfather had cut up all of her beautiful custom made dresses so she could not go out following his death of natural causes, going out was a necessity.  My Nan worked four jobs to pay the rent, feed and clothe her clan of young children.  For extra money Nan would play poker and Jin rummy for 2-cent coins with her sisters.  Nan was a seasoned card shark in beige ballet slippers.  Nan could shuffle a deck like they were extensions of her tiny hands.   Nan would save every cent for birthdays and Christmas.   My Nan was 5 feet tall and she was a strict dictator too her children, most of which were males.  Whenever a fight broke out between her strapping large boys, Nan would issue a “cut it out” that came from her feet and vibrated through all 5ft of her, and not one of her boys would dare not “cut it out” for fair of the waif like lady in front of them.  My Nan is a contradiction to the myth that Single Mothers raise dysfunctional offspring, yet another debilitating stigma plaguing woman.  

My Mother is a woman that would cut the throat of someone that hurt her children, then gently wash her hands with dove soft soap, sanitize, touch up her finger nail polish, and offer everyone present a cup of green tea.  My Mother is a Woman with a heart big enough to fill a room, as long as her family occupies the room.  My Mother should be included as an absolute example of LOYALITY: A feeling or attitude of devoted attachment and affection. "GAIL KERWIN" used in the plural:  my loyalties lie with my family. Example: Gail Kerwin Noun: faithfulness, commitment, devotion, allegiance, reliability, fidelity, constancy, dependability, trustworthiness, steadfastness, staunchness, trueness, trustiness, and true-heartedness.  My Mother taught me loyalty.  My Mother taught me that your children come first.  My Mother taught me to get up, and stand up tall when I desperately wanted to lie down.  My Mother never left me alone, even when I have screamed at her to.

Women Are Healers, Survivors And Mothers 

Women are there for each other, sometimes wanted sometimes not, all the over prescribed anti-depressants in the world cannot replace the presence of a Woman at your side when you are slipping.  Women are healers, survivors, and mothers to each other as well as too our children, our nest keeper evolutionary term is not exclusive to our young; it is too each other.  Throughout my life the one consent humbling grass roots basic truth I have witnessed, received and provided, and that is that Women are remarkable, whether it is “let’s go for a walk Hun”, the 2am phone call to, or from your friend in tears, a woman knows taking your baby for a walk so you can some rest or get manic is just as appreciated as flowers or chocolate.  Having women around when you have a baby is nothing short of a gift in itself, watching another woman change your babies’ nappy, or sooth your baby when you are at the end of your tether often goes without goes without mention - it is invaluable. 

Having a woman to worry with you when your Teenager is not home, or God forbid if they are hurt.  Having a woman to unload your emotions to – having this is beyond words.  Having your best friend hold you tight when you tell her that your marriage is over, and that you had to end your marriage because he was hurting you, and knowing she wont judge you, and knowing she will hate him with you – this is all invaluable.  Having you best friend tell you that you WILL get through this The magic mystical thing about it, is that We as woman know, we know the pain of loosing love, and importantly we know it is ok to talk about it.  We know how being an individual one day, and a Mother the next, takes an incredible amount of adapting.  We know that juggling work, kids, husbands, partners, sports, needs, needs, needs means we cant always be in contact, but we are there when it counts.  I come from a lineage of Feminists in varying forms; women who did more than the prescribed norms imposed on them by society; women who despite their circumstances strived for better than there lot, and fought like only a Woman can.  I am a Feminist.

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1 comment

  • Comment Link Sonho Thursday, 06 March 2014 12:29 posted by Sonho

    Very nice. I detest how the word feminist has been co-opted and turned into a pejorative. I am a feminist. For me, being a feminist simply means I have choices...the same choices as a man. It is walking shoulder to shoulder. As you state, we are all individuals. As individuals, we have the right to be the best we can be...however that best looks.

    I simply do not understand how that can be scary for so many.