So…I may be insightful today. Or I may not… I guess it’s essentially up to you, the reader. So let me rephrase with I WANT to be insightful today.
Dun, dun, dun.
Yes, I know. I’m tackling this. Those of you who say “yay,” continue on. Those of you who say “nay,” continue on…because you are actually the people I’m writing to today. So try to relax and open up your mind for once, alright?
I’ve been working on about 4 different scripts (2 feature films and 2 pilot TV series’) over the last 2 months preparing for contest season. I have written, re-written, edited, moved around, and cut and pasted so many times that I feel like my head will explode. But, as I rework so much of the dialogue, I find I struggle with one major thing. “Why are my lead female characters afraid to say or admit that they are worthy?” As most characters are extensions of their creators, I found my female characters were “strong” but not 100% confident in their own skin. This is not okay to me. Not anymore. So, I’m readjusting and re-writing dialogue that better reflects what it means to be a woman in 2018. (This is not to dismiss struggle, or reality of everyday women. Every story has struggle. I mean, at the heart of the characters. Why are they by the end of the story still somewhat weak? This is what I’m addressing.)
So…here we are now. Looking at what it means to be a woman in 2018…from the viewpoint of someone who grew up in a conservative Christian home. And why there’s such a rift between the two worlds.
Ahem…bear with me. This could make some folks uncomfortable.
Growing up how I did (and if you also come from this world you will recognize the concept), we are taught that by being a woman, our identities are almost always found in that of being wives and mothers. Cool. On the surface, there’s not much wrong with that. I am a wife and I am a mom. It’s not always easy, but I also enjoy it.
But there is a very, very, tiny thin line between having your own identity and LOSING it for the sake of your family.
I was always so uncomfortable calling myself a feminist. I couldn’t quite get to the point where I’d say, “Yeah. Totally. I am one!” And why is that? Probably because of all of this.
But I can, believe or not, be a feminist…and believe in God. “What?” You say? It’s true. Feminism is so much more than pink vagina hats and the right to abort. But most conservatives can’t actually get past that point. Anger, disregard, righteous superiority…all these things blind a lot of Christians and they go on with their lives unwilling to see anything else.
But you have to see everything else.
God made me a woman. What does that entail? Boobs…cool. Smaller feet…also cool. But God also made me with my own mind, desires, talents, dreams, fears…identity! MY OWN IDENTITY! I am a wife and mom, but that is NOT all I am. I am so much more! I do not and refuse to ignore all that I am and want and hope for, for the sake of being what some would say is the ideal family woman. Gosh, we are taught from infancy, in church, to obey. To honor. To sacrifice. But honoring is not ignoring yourself. It’s not losing yourself. You can’t lose yourself! Because once you do, you are hollow. You’re a shell. And life is so much more beautiful and meaningful to be spent as a body with nothing inside of it.
So, why was I uncomfortable saying I’m a feminist? Because in 2018, being a feminist, to most, means disregarding faith. “You can’t be both.” But it doesn’t, and you sure as heck can.
God created men…and God created women. Equal. Both with gifts and talents. Both with dreams and aspirations. Both with hope.
Feminism is NOT a sin. And modern feminism is not just about equal pay or the right for birth control…it’s a celebration that women from all walks of life DESERVE to be seen. To be heard. To pursue their own dreams. To be successful, and not have to feel guilty or apologize for it.
And for the love of all…..for men to stop squashing our dreams. Blowing out the lights that ignite from within. To stop being so condescending and feeble, that you are so threatened by a woman who speaks her mind. (Ding, ding, ding. That’s it.) It’s fear. Fear of losing control. Believe or not, men can be strong and capable and have a strong and capable woman by his side. If you allow her to be, you’d be shocked at how well-matched you really are. Where you lack, she picks up the slack. (And visa versa.) I feel like that’s what marriage was intended to be. Ammiright? No? Silence? Bueller?
One of the things I hate hearing most these days are women who say, “I have no time to do anything for myself.” It breaks my heart and it’s a total freaking LIE. You are not a slave to your family. You are a human being. And human beings need self-care. Love yourself first, then you can more easily love your family. No ifs. No buts. No excuses.
Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is essential to feeling happy, loved, and strong. So go get that manicure and don’t let anyone, especially yourself, tell you it’s frivolous. If it makes you feel awesome, then do it.
We are not just our husband’s wives. We are not just our children’s moms. One of the things I hate most about Korean culture is that once you become a mom, your life essentially stops. In Korean, they don’t even call you by your name anymore…they call you your child’s mom. “Soomin’s Oma!” That’s my name here. I adore my kid. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. But I have a name. And it’s not “Lily’s mom.”
Back in college, (I went to a small, private, Christian college) I took so many ministry classes with so many guys who did half the work I did. All the guy’s in my class got ministry jobs after graduation. All the girls either got married or… I don’t even know. Because no one talks about it! I was pre-wife. All women were there. And that disgusting pressure to get married after graduation forced me to get prematurely engaged to a monster who stole so much from me that I sometimes still have trouble breathing and escaping the memories. He stole from me my innocence, and he stole from me my mind. Healing has taken a long, long time. And a decade later, I’m still a slave to the thoughts that he planted. That I was worthless, lucky to be chosen by a good-looking and Godly man.
(Side note: Want to know what really is a sin? Not feminism. But “Christian” men who prey on insecure women. That’s a sin.)
We are individuals, ladies and gentleman. And strong, capable women are not to be feared or loathed…but respected.
My buddy told me, “feminism can become twisted. But it’s not anti-man. It’s anti-hate.”
I love that.
I don’t hate men. I obviously don’t care for some of them. But I don’t hate them. Men are not unimportant. But neither are women. I am important. If I wasn’t, God wouldn’t have taken the time to create me…and give me a hope and a future.
So get your heads out of your butts, people. Grow up. Learn something. Stop hating. Stop whining. Stop complaining. Be open to new things. And love yourselves. Please. I’m begging you.
Oh, and for the record. I am so unbelievably strong and capable. I am talented, focused, and driven. I believe God created me to be incredible. I love Him, I love myself, and I love my family. I’m a wife and a mom. I am a woman.
I am a feminist.