As Thanksgiving approaches and in the spirit of being thankful, I want to take time to reflect upon and share a bit about my father. My father is a man who supports feminism and is not threatened by equality and female advancement. He is humble, kind, empathetic and incredibly forward-thinking.
I am proud to be an outspoken activist and though I have developed my voice myself, part of the credit goes to my father for encouraging me to speak my truth.
Typically speaking, straight, white, wealthy men are generalized as being selfish, ignorant, racist and entitled; and though these stereotypes may be true of some men, my father is absolutely none of the latter. Even though my father possesses many forms of privilege as a straight, white wealthy male, his attitude is as far from entitled as could be.
He is among the best #FeministMen, for many reasons.
My mother proposed to my father and after thirty-five years of marriage, she still has not taken his last name. A couple of months ago, my parents were visiting my fiancé and I, and the topic of changing names came up. In this vein, my dad said that one of the biggest qualities that he admired about my mom was her independence and the fact that she thought for herself.
As a child, my father took my sister and me bra shopping and also bought us tampons — stereotypically “women’s” duties — without shame or embarrassment. And when my sister took a career in women’s reproductive health and I came out as a lesbian, my dad responded with unadulterated acceptance and love, and has since participated in each of our lives with interest and support.
The three women in his immediate life — my mother, sister and myself — are strong, independent and emotional women. No matter what we have thrown his way or what life has dealt him, he has embraced us with love and has never shied away from our emotions.
In a 2014 TED talk, Ziauddin Yousafzai spoke about his daughter Malala and how he raised her. When asked how Malala had become the young woman she is today, Yousafzai said, ‘I did not clip her wings.’ When I heard this quote, I immediately thought of my father. There were many conversations at the dinner table when my impassioned voice spoke of the injustices of the world, and rather than brushing me aside, my father supported my dreams of affecting change.
Like Ziauddin, my father did not clip my wings. I am forever grateful.
Who are the feminist men in your lives you are thankful for?