I want to stop them and tell them whatever they planned on saying next is unimportant.
It is of no value to me.
Because that's what women were ostensibly told before our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought for the right to vote, or our mothers secured the ability to decide the size of their families.
But it's their choice to define feminism so narrowly.
Feminism, for some, is just a scourge of a word. But it has serious meaning for men and women who have struggled, and continue to struggle, to instill its tenants as a basic component of a free society.
Because, dear lady, like it or not, if you believe women and men are and should be treated equally under the laws of the society in which we live, you are a feminist.
Feminism has nothing to do with who opens doors for whom, or who stays home with the kids. It's not about forcing women into military service or forcing men to wear aprons. Although I'm sure our comfort with specific gender roles does blind us to the real issues of equality.
Personally speaking, people who boil feminism down to the assigning of household chores border on insulting.
Feminism isn't about obliterating feminine traits or emasculating males. It's not about the choices we make individually or for our own families. But it has everything to do with acknowledging the need for people to be able to make those choices - regardless of gender - for the betterment of society.
Feminism is about equality. Period.
It means we believe men are capable of nurturing. We believe women are capable of leadership. And everyone is uniquely important and deserving of basic rights.
It's about teaching boys they are not masters of the universe and teaching girls they are not victims of it. It's about respect for each other, and respect for our differences.
Feminists are everywhere women are respected. It doesn't matter what they wear, or what they do, or even which pair of chromosomes they posses.
*The top link is broken because BlogHer took down the post to which I was referring.
By the standards of my childhood haunts, the playground at the end of our block is as safe as they come. Age-appropriate structures, parents prowling every perimeter, many helping their children down the tall slide by offering their laps as sleds.
The lone, tall monkey bars, have gone. Replaced by lower, multi-tiered play areas.
Safety factors first.
I remember taking this picture and holding my breath as Ittybit climbed the chain ladder of the play station, for that's what a was -- a collection of slides and hanging bars that defied labels or definition. A tiny jungle gym for a marshmallow landscape.
Eighteen months old, still so baby-like, and there she was climbing to the grated platform, five feet off the ground, on her way to the circular slide.
I'd overheard so many parents telling their kids to get down, that they were too young, that it wasn't safe. So many eyes in my direction wondering where I'd gotten my parenting skills, no doubt from a Five & Dime that had gone bust?
But I had to fight my inner (paranoid) parent to let her.
So it was with interest that I read this about some emerging research on the benefits of risk on development.
Some of the points I found most interesting was that "safer playgrounds" weren't actually safer for play. The logic being the perception of safety actually made risk-taking seem less risky, and, therefore, injury just as likely.
Another point was that while many parents and some researchers expected childhood falls from high places to produce later psychological effects, such as phobias, the reverse was more true: Children who had engaged in the exploration of heights and endured childhood falls had fewer instances of phobias.
I suppose the obvious question for me is this: How do we, as parents, get over our own fears of emergency room visits?
I'm one of those moms people keep talking about. Kind of. ...
I'm the kind who can picture themselves dealing with a missing child. Or not dealing with it. Picturing themselves, instead, not coping at all.
But I couldn't bear to watch the media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial. I couldn't stand to see all the law-abiding citizens lining up for a chance to gawk, rationalizing their behavior as anything other than morbid fascination and mob mentality.
I couldn't stand the presumption of guilt.
And then she was acquitted, stunning pretty much everyone except, it seems, folks who believe evidence should weigh more heavily than the circumstances surrounding that evidence. More heavily than emotion. Especially when first degree murder is charged.
I can understand the shock. I can understand the anger being raw and natural. But I had to admit I was proud of that jury. Proud that they came to such an impartial judgment based on law for an otherwise unlikeable woman.