I’m a conservative, religious, feminist. Aren’t conservatives just old-fashioned, traditional, housewives? Can you believe in God and still be a feminist?
I get these kinds of questions a lot.
I have so many amazing, feminist friends. For a long time, I felt on the fence about the term “feminism”, because it felt like I was choosing a side. I’ve always wanted to work in the medical field and have a career because I feel a sense of accomplishment when I earn my own money. I want to be an active community member and help change policies.
But I felt that by choosing to be a “feminist”, it meant I wasn’t being true to my ideal of being a mother.
This summer I traveled to Ecuador with other nursing students for a study abroad. We worked in high schools and taught a variety of health topics.
I was chosen to teach about female development, including puberty, periods, and sex. Let me tell you, my Spanish vocabulary needs quite the update!
At the end of each lesson, I emphasized to the girls that they could choose for themselves. I felt a sense of urgency to inspire them to know they were strong and in control of their bodies and futures.
As I stood before a classroom of girls with a million questions about their bodies and sexuality, I realized that I am indeed a feminist.
I want to empower women! I want them to have the opportunity to seek higher education and work in any career field they desire. I want women to know they are loved, and beautiful, and unique. I want them to know they are important.
But what about being a mother?
Now that’s the best part.
I know that my mother has more effect on me than any superstar, congressman, or professor. She taught me to read and write. She taught me how to be an athlete. She taught me to set goals and reach them.
Her encouragement to make good choices has blessed me with the most wonderful opportunities I could ever have imagined. My mother would not consider herself to be a feminist, but she definitely is. I’ve never met someone who has encouraged so many women to reach higher. When I am a mother, I will get to do the same for my own daughters.
But what about the religious thing? Don’t churches give men more control?
First, watch this video about the women who have leadership roles in the Church.
Feminism is all about promoting equality between men and women. But equal doesn’t mean exactly the same. It means all of us have value, even if we do different tasks. Think about it like the governor and a college professor. Very different roles, but both important and both valuable. We all have different experiences and strengths that make us valuable in different roles.
Men and women are different, but our differences do not diminish our value.
I will fight for women’s rights because I know that what we have to offer is valuable. I no longer hesitate to say that I am a feminist because it does not mean that I cannot be a wife and mother. In fact, it makes me a better wife and mother. Because true feminism is about empowering women and giving them a voice.