By: Abbey Lyn Clark, Regular Contributor
As John Mayer beautifully sings: “Fathers be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do.” I don’t have a daughter, nor do I think I’ll ever understand what it feels like for a father to hold his baby girl for the first time. However, I believe in the greatness of wonderful dads and heroic men that treat women with respect, dignity, and most of all, love.
After spending a beautiful day with my father this past Sunday, I started to think about how he raised me with such awareness for spreading compassion and love. After being outnumbered in my family 4 to 1 for almost 24 years by my mother, older sister, family dog, and me, my dad has seen it all. He is the last standing survivor of male kind in girl-land, aka my childhood and most of my adolescence. If you asked my father, he would tell you that he wouldn’t have had it any other way. Why? Well, I haven’t exactly confronted him with this new title yet, but my dad is one badass feminist. I’d like to think that he has believed in the beauty, grace, and success of both his daughters since the day we were born. He’s not really hip, nor does he read up on the latest feminist blogs, let alone go on a computer for anything else than to pay his bills. However, one thing is for sure: He loves his daughters. My dad has taught me the true meaning of hard work and supports me with anything I pour my heart into. He’s taught me a lot about who I am, who I’m not, and who I want to be.
In my local chapter this past year we talked about the “F” word: Why are so many women afraid to call themselves a feminist? Why are so many men? Most of my friends, relatives, or even strangers I meet that are male won’t own the word feminist but they will protect the women they love like a knight in shining amour. Most women I meet will say something along the lines of: “Yeah, I believe in women’s rights and everything, and I believe that women are extraordinary, but I wouldn’t consider myself a feminist.” Newsflash: It’s time to ditch the stigma and embrace the F-word. Because guess what? If you believe in any of those things, first of all women’s rights being kind of a big thing, you’re a feminist. If you believe that a woman’s word should be treated with the equal weight of any man’s word, you’re a feminist. If you believe in equal gender pay, you’re a feminist. If you believe that a woman can be just as successful as any man, you’re a feminist. If you believe in the worthiness of a woman to be loved, you’re a feminist. If you’re the proud father of a daughter(s), I’d go out on a limb and say that you’re a feminist too. Okay, I’ll put away my soapbox, but you get the point.
Being a feminist doesn’t mean you hate men; it means you believe in women. It’s not really rocket science: You can believe in women and still like men or maintain your manhood. Yes, a man can be a feminist. I hope this is rocking your world, and you’re thinking of at least one guy in your life that totally brings out his feminist soapbox from time to time, or maybe you are THAT GUY. I challenge you to find a man in your life who’s a feminist. Give him a handshake, a hug, a kiss, whatever. I urge you to confront him with his new title. If you are THAT GUY, own your new title.
To me, being a feminist shows that you have love and appreciation for women in your heart. I can only hope the man I marry is an even bigger feminist than I am because that will mean he will have a fraction of the love my father possesses for me. He will believe in women. More specifically, he will believe in my womanhood: My beauty, my strengths, and my successes. He will fall in love with my spirit and be just as passionate as I am about something he finds just as wonderful. As Capote writes in Breakfast At Tiffany’s: “Love should be allowed. I’m all for it. Now that I’ve got a pretty good idea what it is.”
About Abbey: Abbey Clark is a rising senior majoring in English and Human Development at Boston College. Along with being the I AM THAT GIRL local chapter leader at BC, she is also a yoga instructor and the co-president of her all female a cappella group: The BC Sharps. She loves spending time with her friends & family, baking, and traveling. She is an advocate of healthy living, real beauty, and is so proud to be part of such a beautiful organization that is changing the world for women and girls!