Name: Jessica Longfellow Erickson
How do you define feminism?
I’ve been struggling with this since I don’t like labels. I especially don’t like labeling myself but I guess if a label fits, feminist would. The Websters definition is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” And when I think about this my thought process is that we are all equal and we should be treated as so. I feel lucky that in my world that seems to be the way it is.
When did you first identify as a feminist?
As long as I can remember. I was an only child so there weren’t many gender issues in my house – my parents both worked and supported us, my father never treated my mother any less. Though looking back there are clear roles divided at home, though it wasn’t so because “that’s a women’s work.” My mom worked evenings so my dad got me dinner and put me to bed and did the dishes after dinner etc. That’s not so much in my own household. I’m not sure I ever saw my father vacuum but I’m certainly not the only one capable of vacuuming in my house. I never thought of my strengths or weakness in regards to being a girl. I never thought I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.
Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How? I don’t know if my definition changed but I did become more aware if it when I became a mom. I was not going to be the only person in the house that could soothe the crying baby, change the diapers, or wear the child. My husband was going to be as involved as I was. When we became home owners it was clear I wasn’t going to do all the house work and my husband wasn’t going to do the man jobs. I was as likely to jump-start the lawnmower battery and mow the lawn. I don’t chop wood because my upper body strength isn’t that of a man. I’m sure I could – I work hard and make it that way but I’m okay with it. Now that we have a child and my husband “works ” outside the house more then me, I struggled with my identity as a person. For some reason I had something stuck in my head that I needed to be the worker bee and it was okay to be the queen. I’m babbling.
Have you ever experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist? If so, why do you think that is and how do you handle it?
I don’t feel I’ve ever met an resistance, which i guess is a blessing for the person that would resist me.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I’m frustrated that there has to be a future and we cant all live as equal, but i know we cant yet. “women’s” work is essential and it doesn’t really matter who does it, its got to be done. Though I do believe there are things that each gender are designed for, that doesn’t mean we cant do it and do it well.