in a nutshell, this is a narrative of what feminism has meant to me through the years and where I go to seek and express feminism in my life now. to a good extent, my progressive / liberal politics have formed and expressed along similar lines.
feminism in my life, came from my mother along with a love of Count Basie and Dave Brubeck. she was a lifelong registered Democrat and feminist. growing up in the 60’s, with civil rights, feminism and my first exposure to concepts of treating people with fairness and equality, these things all became synonymous to me. we lived in South Chicago, in a neighborhood that housed the steel mill there. it was white as hell, mostly from Slavic, Irish & Polish ancestry. other kids’ moms would be complaining about “the Mexicans” and “the blacks”, but my mother was an island of equality, dignity and rights. she was friendly with those families but distinct in her regard of race and gender.
my father was a fairly sexist dude and in a very cheesy 60’s and 70’s manner. he’d call a waitress ‘love’ and have this whole cheeseball aura. it was pretty embarrassing. he used to tell me that because I was his oldest child and a son, that when he left the house – I was in charge. this was bullshit of course, because mom was in charge. I never felt comfortable stepping into the “cheeseball dude” role, so I just let him say that shit without much of a response from me. it made him happy, I suppose, plus I had zero chance in getting him to stop.