Dad, My Feminist Icon

know January 30, 2017

Television told me to like pink and trivial things, but my dad exposed me to CNBC and Bloomberg. Teen Vogue told me to make myself small enough for the sample sizes, and whiter than I was. Strange men told me to smile more, a TSA officer called me his fiancé as I walked through security –I was 13. Back then, my mother told me that gentlemen don’t like “fast women,” my aunts bemoaned our family-wide love curse. Female celebrities told me, “the sluttier the better,” my father told me I could share my body with whoever I wanted, but only if I truly wanted to. No really, it’s ok to say “no.”

It’s ok to live with ‘man-like’ assertiveness.

He made me a student to argument early on, sometimes for sport, other times, out of insatiable curiosity. He made me play soccer with boys, and nodded when I quit ballet because I felt like it, unconcerned with outside parties’ opinions of my decisions.  My dad, my feminist icon, didn’t care to control that kind of shit. He cared about my awareness. He taught me that women are not 77 cents to a dollar. They are CEOs, Senators, philanthropists, and analysts. Hell, they were madams and strippers too, but they were always assertive.

“Working for yourself is imperative,” he’d tell me.

But, most importantly, he told me that God is a woman. God was inside of me, negative energy and bad mindedness be gone. He said attachment was for the unsuccessful, rich people have better things to do. Mom ensured I was self-sufficient in the kitchen, women who can cook make men happier. Yet still, dad made the best stuffed chicken. Nonetheless, he frowned upon gluttony –unhealthiness is disdainfully wasteful of taxpayers’ money.

The lessons I learned were intimately related to economics.

My dad, my feminist icon, forced me to believe in my relevance in the workplace and beyond because my life depends on it. He said that women are much more than walking cavities reserved for newborns, or the answers to men’s needs, sex symbols, damsels in distress, angry and black, or man-hating feminists, prudes, or welfare queens. You never let me forget that as a woman, I am free to be who I please to be, and not out of a desire to please others, just to be. Thanks to you I don’t feel obliged to force a smile and look approachable, I don’t hesitate to use words for decoration that most people have forgotten, I don’t apologize for prioritizing my sexual needs because I prioritize myself.

Thank you for showing me that we can all be feminists.

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