Monday, October 02, 2006

5 things that feminism has done for me

So I'm joining in, k? And some of these relate to the Status of Women Agency, and some relate to feminism in general, but they all matter to me. I've tried to write them, not just as in terms of what it's meant in the past, but also the future. Oh, and I don't always agree with individual feminists, but feminism isn't some sort of Borg Collective. Not everyone looks at the world the same way.

#1 - Feminism has given me the right to save my own life, and the right to give my son a dignified death. When my second pregnancy went wrong, when I risked bleeding to death, and my son was dying, I terminated my pregnancy and ended his life quietly and gently with grace and dignity. He did not suffer tubes and surgeries and procedures he could not live through, but instead was surrounded by love and warmth. I didn't need a surgical D&E in my case, induction was safer, but feminism & I will still fight laws that prohibit late terminations just because of stories like mine.

#2 - My right to control my own body has also extended to every citizens' right to control their own body and their own death. It's known as the Charter Right to Security of Person. But around my family, it's a little more personal. 5 years ago, when my mother-in-law didn't want to suffer through another round of drugs and indignities in hospital, the doctors couldn't force her. 25 years ago they did, and she hated them for their experimentation. Same for my father-in-law. Doctors used to be Gods. Now they are accountable, and that is no bad thing.

#3 - Feminism provided me with safe and fabulous daycare for 2 kids, easily accessible if you plan ahead and do some research. And because we have 9 months of pregnancy and another year of maternity leave and parental leave, we can plan. Sorry critics, but even feminism can't provide enough spaces for last minute changes on a dime, but we're still trying for more, really. Even for emergencies.

#4 - Feminism has kept me safe from predators, from bad dates, from bad adoptive parents, from awful ex-boyfriends, and made it safe to call 911 if god forbid I ever need to. It used to be awful for all women, and then advocates for women stepped up and demanded that the cops arrest batterers. And now they do, but not always the right way, cross-charging still happens, and judges and lawyers can make mistakes. And saddest of all, poor women and aboriginal women and rural women still can't get the help they need. Which is why we still need to keep fighting.

#5 - Voting, which may seem like an oldie, but darn it's still relevant. Right now, I, a white middle class articulate woman, can vote because of feminist fights in the past. We still need feminism, because on the weekend, an immigrant woman told me how she was denied the right to vote at this weekend's DEMs for the Liberal Party. (And I know Tory women who have gotten left out of this kind of vote, so every party has problems on this front.) To this day, women who don't speak perfect English, who can't always advocate for themselves, get robbed of this right, around the world, (think Afghanistan) and in the first world too. I've seen it in the U.S. when I worked in politics there years ago, so it's not over.

But I wouldn't even have the right to begin with if it wasn't for feminism.

There's more reasons, maybe I'll post more tomorrow, or tonight. I'm thinking about Baggage, who recently adopted as a single mother, and couldn't a few years ago, or Manuela, who gets to wear fabulous shoes and talk about frilly stuff but doesn't have to put up with Dr.Famous telling her how to give birth. I'm thinking about all of the zillions of women in the blogosphere who get to practice free speech every day with their fingers and meld the personal and the political.

Because the personal is political. Always.

See Progressive Bloggers for more links to more posts on the subject.


  1. great post! thanks for taking the time. peace-jeff

  2. Honestly... your post about this topic is so cool that I'm completely INTIMIDATED to try to write my own...

    I'm thinkin' about it though... I'm thinkin'...