My fiancé is a kind, generous, loving and funny man. We’ve been together for 8 years now, through each other’s ups and downs. We have each other’s backs. The other day he said to me, “I was talking to Rod and he said ‘Your girlfriend does that feminist stuff, doesn’t she?’ I told him, yes, she works with women but she is not a feminist.”
I thought he knew me.
Where is Gloria Steinem when you need her? It was both shocking and frustrating to realize that the man I love has no clue what a feminist is. Or worse: he thinks of it in negative terms. It made me realize how far we really haven’t come.
I have been a “Gloria fan” since she started Ms. Magazine. Her ‘no holds barred’ approach was refreshing and oh-so-different than what I was used to, growing up in the Midwest. I was drawn to her ideas, her attitude, and her ability to so clearly be herself. She was the opposite of who I was at the time, but set the bar for who I wished to be. She was the poster child for what I now call a “Superbwoman” – a woman comfortable in her own skin and who has learned to “be” first, then do.
This fascination with the ultimate powerful woman has left me with a desire to meet and have a conversation with her. I’d love to connect with Gloria, woman to woman. The truth is, I have come so very close! Once, while waiting in line at the coat check before entering an event where she was to speak, I was shocked when the woman in front of me turned around and asked me, “Could I borrow $3 – I don’t have my purse with me.” It was Gloria! Before I could answer, her staff swooped in, handled the situation, and whisked her away. There was also the time when I was in her apartment for a meeting, without her being in attendance. So close. I know women who are friends with her. I know women who have worked with her. I know women who are in writing groups with her. I have to believe that it’s only a matter of time before I’ll actually get the chance to have a conversation with the woman who helped set my path in motion.
I had to patiently explain to my shocked fiancé that yes, I am a feminist. I assured him that I don’t hate men, that I won’t be burning my bra any time soon, and that I’m not about to join any sit-in. Well, not this week at least. I am a woman who believes passionately in the power of women. I believe women can change the world for the better – when we realize we have the power to do so. I am working tirelessly to change the paradigm from the old belief that you should be a “Superwoman” (an unsustainable model about doing, which serves no one), to that of being a Superbwoman. I am a proud feminist.
And I’d love to talk with Gloria about it. Just in case she’s listening…