My Resolution is My Feminist Manifesto

by ParentCo. January 18, 2022

multiethnic women

I’m going to keep eating pizza. And chocolate. I’m gonna get a lil bit champagne drunk. I’m probably going to yell at my kids now and then.

I’m not planning to chisel my abs, or tone my thighs, unless it happens by accident doing things I actually enjoy, like eating chocolate. I may or may not save enough money in the all right ways. It’s highly doubtful that I’ll begin each day with a long meditation unless waking up kinda confused, accidentally kicking the cat, and stumbling toward coffee is a meditation. Also, I’m definitely going to throw that coffee back with some foamy-ass whole milk. Whole, as in, I love it with my whole heart and no, I don’t want to read the latest study about why it will kill me. It won’t. I’m not gonna die of whole milk. Or cheeseburgers. Or champagne bubbles. C’mon. We’re smart. Let’s be honest: resolutions, as they are presented to us in glossy magazines and clickbait lists, are mostly restrictions we perennially place on ourselves because we think we’re not good enough. Not good enough is an idea marketed and sold, and we’ve been voraciously buying it. If we could just resolve to - lose 10 pounds? go to the gym? look a certain way? - then maybe, finally, we would be good enough. You need tricep definition! You need perpetual wind-tunnel face! You can’t just accept yourself. No. You’re NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT. Especially not if you’re a woman, or even a little girl.
My daughter is in-between. Between childhood and growing up, between short and tall, between sane and crazy, between pushing boundaries and staying close. She’ll scream I DON’T CARE ABOUT TEXTING!! while stomping up the stairs, only to return minutes later to say: I’m sorry about that, I was upset. One day she’s standing in the middle of the kitchen speaking to me with a level logic and astute self-awareness many adults cannot muster. The very next, she’s skipping down the sidewalk, eating an apple, and calling I LOVE YOU MAMAAAA! over her shoulder. She is everywhere all over my life. As much guide, as guided. She’s a better human than I can realistically still hope to be in my remaining trips around the sun. More empathetic, more generous, more intuitive. She’ll be smarter than I am before long (save for the additional 30 years experience I’ve accumulated). This absolute wonderment of being a free, loved, and valued daughter - this intact girlhood - it’s our greatest vulnerability, our biggest asset, our muse, our future. And someday soon, our daughters will be women.
Which brings me to my resolution: Because even here & now, in the United States, women still earn 23 cents less per dollar than their male counterparts doing the same job... Because an advertisement referencing menstruation is still considered less appropriate and more offensive than an ad suggesting you will not be happy with yourself until you have breast implants... Because access to women’s reproductive health care - the literal right to govern our own bodies - is under constant attack and increasingly restricted by legislation... Because of the systematic grooming of little girls to - above all else - please others...
Because one out of every three women is beaten or coerced into sex... Because human trafficking is the 3rd largest international crime industry, and the majority of its victims are young girls sold into sex slavery... Because 500,000 girls and women living in the U.S. have either undergone or are at risk for female genital mutilation... Because the United States, the greatest democracy in the history of the world, ranks 72nd globally for equal representation of women in elected political posts... Because universal paid maternity leave is still not guaranteed... Because U.S. maternal mortality rates have risen in the last decade... Because men outnumber women working in the sciences by 3:1... Because Serena Williams, among the world’s greatest athletes, is still asked in interviews why she doesn’t smile more... Because as much misogyny as white women experience, women of color experience even and ever more. More hate, more homocide, more incarceration, more addiction, more unemployment, more illness... Because we do not live in a post-feminist America any more than we live in a post-racial one... Because I have the privilege and resource of education, of good work, of needs recognized and met... Because I am also raising a son... Because of all this, and so much more ... I resolve to stay the course set out by our courageous foremothers who fought pointedly, persistently for equality.
Indeed, the course my own mother worked to clear, and my father too, himself a feminist for his time. I resolve to imagine a better, safer, equal future, even as the battle makes us weary. I resolve to resist the fear that fuels the global war on women. I resolve that I will neither deny nor diminish the truth to facilitate my temporary comfort, or yours. I resolve to fight this fight - in my words, in my actions, and without apology. I am a woman raising a daughter in a world that still values her more for her bone structure than for her brain.
This is my resolution. This is my feminist manifesto. I didn’t ask you if you like it.



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