Why I Am A Feminist

Craig Chalquist, PhD

Feminism, dictionary definition of:
1. the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
2. organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.
Feminist: a person who supports feminism.

For many years I was reluctant to refer to myself as a feminist, not because I disagreed with feminist goals or values, but because I felt I had not done enough to earn the designation. I now think I should step up to it, especially in a time in which women’s rights, safety, and health continue to be attacked by social systems inimical to them while large numbers of women and men remain strangely reluctant to use the word “feminism.”

I am a feminist because I grew up in a house in which my mother and sister and I were victimized by a violent man. I know intimately the destructive effects of patriarchy.

I am a feminist because as a man I feel obligated to work to end patriarchy, which means I also feel an obligation to respond to it by educating myself and other men about it.

I am a feminist because I worked for nine years as a psychotherapist and six of them as a counselor to violent men. I saw them in session and went to court with them and talked some of them out of maiming and killing their girlfriends, wives, mothers, sisters, and children. I now work as an educator in a country that has a long way to go down the road of finally ending the subjugation of women.

I am a feminist because I do not buy the stereotypes that equate women struggling for freedom and independence with angry bitches out to blame or demean men.

I am a feminist because I believe in the right of each of us to live as we see fit without constraint by outdated ideologies or unfair financial obstacles, and I fully support my sisters everywhere in the world where they fight to make their lives fulfilling and rich.

I am a feminist because most of what’s wrong the world is caused by stunted, self-alienated, and immature men supported by the women they brainwash.

I am a feminist because I am against war as an instrument of international policy and against the rapist mentality that always accompanies warfare.

I am a feminist because I have felt my own spirit liberated by what I know of the hard work carried forward by early and subsequent feminists.

I am a feminist not because women need men to “help” them, but because we can be their allies and supporters as they go about freeing themselves from multiple and entrenched forms of oppression.

I am a feminist because I am appalled that a woman is beaten every fifteen seconds in my country and because religious authorities have worked for centuries to dominate women’s lives and bodies.

I am a feminist because I am sick of hearing other men use demeaning terms like "bitch," "whore," "booty," "piece of ass," and "ball and chain."

I am a feminist in my ongoing effort to be a complete, ethical, and responsible man.

I am a feminist because patriarchy is bad for men too, for many reasons, although even worse for women.

I am a feminist because it's time for the politics of domination and disembodiment to go away forever.

I am a feminist because our only hope for managing our population on this planet is through the education and empowerment of women.

I am a feminist because I am an implacable enemy of every doctrine, philosophy, or belief system claiming or implying that women are inferior to men.

I am a feminist because men come forth from women and not women from men.

I am a feminist because the world of the divine coexists with the flesh of this one instead of being separated off from it.

I am a feminist because I remain dedicated to locating and dealing with the dark deposits of patriarchy I know I carry in my own psyche.

I am a feminist because it gives me joy to hear courageous women emerge from years of socially sanctioned self-doubt to come firmly to voice and inner strength.

I am a feminist because women should be paid fairly for the work they do rather than slighted because they aren’t men.

I am a feminist because strong mothers make strong children and strong societies.

I am a feminist because my birth mother was an expert amateur mechanic who fearlessly travelled the world, her sister was a paramedic and forest ranger, and their mother was a nurse who built a new wing onto her own home in the mountains. My adoptive mother ran a hospital laboratory for four decades.

I am a feminist to see to it that highly skilled women achieve positions of power and leadership.

I am a feminist because science gendered like a psychologically crippled man--detached, distant, and blind to questions of ethics and value--becomes a dangerous tool of social and ecological destruction.

I am a feminist because in cultures and subcultures exposed to mass advertising, women and girls immediately suffer lower self esteem and, soon after, lethal eating disorders.

I am a feminist because the industrialized attack on our ailing Earth is, archetypally understood, also an attack on the Sacred Feminine.

I am a feminist because I support the return of Goddess images and narratives and practices after the long night of their brutal suppression.

I am a feminist because I live in a country whose conservative politicians sound like victim-blaming batterers. I cannot tell the difference between what they say and what the rapists and batterers in my men’s groups said when rationalizing their contempt for and mistreatment of women.

I am a feminist because women and men cannot hope to be in good relation to each other in the absence of the tangible empowerment of women’s lives.

I am a feminist because every cell of my body says that the marginalization, violence, insult, degradation, and servitude to which women have been subjected for at least eight thousand years is wrong and evil and must stop.