Although I always enjoyed the John Mayer song of the same name, this graphic gave me a new appreciation for the phrase. My body is indeed a wonderland. It is not in need of alteration of any kind, neither cosmetic, nor chemical. While this graphic is clearly aimed at the oppressive lie that women need to regularly ingest chemicals in order to live up to their real potential, the message is broader than that.
Feminists have a loud voice in the world. I am very grateful for many of their accomplishments. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, they got it all wrong. At some point feminists decided that in order to prove the value, worth, and dignity of women, we needed to renounce that which makes us women. I can understand how this started. As an effort to gain equality with men in the eyes of society, they sought to prove that women could be like men. They felt the need to prove themselves capable of that which they had been deemed incapable.
While this approach has achieved many victories for women, it is fundamentally flawed. It’s basic message is that’s a woman’s worth lies in the fact that she can be like a man. I find that unbelievably insulting! My worth results from my femininity, not in spite of it. Maybe that’s why feminists often seem so angry and bitter. They may not be able to put words to it, but they must sense that what they are fighting for is not accomplishing what they intend.
Enter the new feminist movement. New Feminism recognizes and affirms that women are different from men. One only need to open a biology book to recognize this truth. New Feminism allows us to be women without shame. We don’t have to hide or renounce who we are and how our bodies work to believe we are equal in dignity and value to the man sitting next to us at the conference room table. New Feminism acknowledges that a woman’s strength lies in the fact that she is a woman, not in her ability to conform herself to be like a man.
I long for this movement to take hold over and above the traditional feminist movement. When it does, great things will happen. Imagine the world when women are valued for who they really are. In this world: we won’t have to fight for adequate birthing conditions in hospitals. We won’t be shamed for nursing a baby in public. We won’t be forced to chose between our career and our health after the birth of a child. We won’t have our pumped milk x-rayed, dumped out, or endure public humiliation in order to nourish our children. We won’t be told by nearly every doctor in the country that the only way to control the gift of our fertility is by ingesting dangerous chemicals or undergoing surgery. We wouldn’t feel guilty about “wasting our education” by choosing to be stay at home moms, yet feel equally as guilty about choosing to work outside the home. When femininity is valued for the great gift it really is, we will stop finding our worth in the reflection we see in the mirror and we will stop treating other women as our enemies. We won’t judge our value based on the cleanliness of our homes or how we measure up to the items we pin on pinterest.
I want feminism redefined. I want more than what women have accepted as progress. I want more for me and especially for my daughter. I want my daughter to know that her body, her feelings, and her aspirations are not a mistakes. She is fearfully and wonderfully made, and I want her to behave like it.