The reason I was in Toronto on Saturday was for the official launch of Geez magazine’s PerSisters issue. I was asked to be on a panel with three other contributors that would discuss the intersection of feminism and theology with an audience. (You can see the article I contributed here.) We panelists were all given four questions to prepare:
1) Who are you and what did you write for this issue?
2) Do you call yourself a feminist? Why or why not?
3) Does the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was male make it inherently difficult, or even impossible, to ‘be Christian’ while working toward gender equality?
4) Is feminism a thing of the past? Should it be? Does it need to be rethought in some way?
These were all intriguing questions that certainly challenged me to articulate and provide supporting arguments for things that I often take for granted. Of course, I call myself a feminist, but it’s a lot harder when I’m actually forced to break it down and explain why.
The whole evening was extremely insightful. There wasn’t much debating going on since everyone there – female and male – would probably self-identify as a feminist, but hearing what people from different walks of life had to offer to the conversation was very helpful. It was the kind of event that triggers all kinds of additional questions, most of them without easy answers, but I suppose that’s part of being informed and educated about issues and feeling spurred on toward change. I left with a number of thoughts buzzing around my head.
1) What are feminists working toward nowadays? It was easy to rally support for tangible goals such as getting the vote and sexual liberation and being able to work outside the home, but what’s feminism’s common goal now?
2) How do you know when you’ve arrived? Women do hold positions of power nowadays, but at what point is a movement considered to have completed its mission? We still live in a world that sells pink LEGO to girls and makes fun of boys who play with dolls; that’s far from acceptable.
3) Why is it that some stay-at-home moms feel that we’re failing feminism? Even though we know that’s ridiculous. Stay-at-home moms deserve greater recognition and should be able to put those at-home years legitimately on a résumé.
4) Why don’t more parents split the breadwinning and parenting jobs equally? One woman spoke about her and her partner’s decision to share both jobs 50/50, which utterly floored me. I’ve always assumed that, if kids are kept home, then one parents puts the professional aspect of his or her life on hold to raise them full time. While splitting it 50/50 may not be feasible for everyone, I think it’s a brilliant idea.
Anyways, it was an interesting evening and one that I’ll be thinking about in the days to come. You’ll be hearing more about Geez in the months to come since my submission for their Redoing Schooling issue was accepted and will come out next month. It promises to be fascinating, all about the de-institutionalization of education… but more on that later.
Thoughts, anyone? Do share!