Growing up, I *owned* feminism. My mother, who divorced in the late 1960s and worked my whole life, exemplified it, but we never really talked about it. I, on the other hand, remember it being mine. I devoured the works of the earliest leaders, from Friedan to Dworkin. I drove all night to Washington DC for the 1989 March for Choice. I did feminist theatre, took women's studies classes, wrote my undergraduate thesis on French Feminist Literary Theory (applied to the works of 19th century British authors). Being a feminist was simply part of my core being.
Later, the phrase "I'm not a feminist, but…" uttered by other women annoyed me, as did terms like "feminazi." But really, I considered them harmless and not even worth my attention.
But now, it's personal.
Now I have a 6-year-old daughter. My daughter is pretty much like every other girl she knows. She plays with Barbies and dolls and loves to dress up in princess stuff. And she loves Frozen beyond belief, so when someone attacks it, it strikes home. And she loves doing Daisies with her friends, so when people urge a "cookiecott" and radio hosts call for a "boycott of cookies because the Girl Scouts were a wicked organization that doesn't promote Godly womanhood," I get steaming mad.
So THAT's why I'm a feminist, now more than ever. Because you can disparage me all you want, but my daughter should not have to go through this sh*t. I really thought we were beyond that, and I am ashamed that we are not.