img src - Library of Congress

This is probably a bit weird, but I really struggle with feminism.  There’s something deep inside of me that is extraordinarily independent and demands to be treated as an equal in all capacities, but I know that there is no way physically that I can compete with the male sex.  I also know that I like to put on pretty things and be domestic and very nearly cling tight to my female gender role, but on the other hand, when talking about that with some of the other females I encounter at university, the question always comes up:

“And you’re okay with that?”

The answer to them is always “Yes.  Yes I am.  Because if I wasn’t, then I wouldn’t do it.  And if I’m not okay with it at some point down the road, you can bet your boots you’ll know.”

I don’t see etiquette as something inherently linked to feminism.  Etiquette to me is doing what is best for the situation at hand.  If that situation is that in my every day life I take on more female associated work, then that’s fine.  If my dad calls me and needs me to help pull out a tree from their backyard’s forest, I will happily don my overalls and jump on a tractor.  Etiquette is a frame of reference for how you will conduct yourself.  Feminism is a socio-political movement that works to defend the rights of women.  And even though many of the etiquette books call for a gentleman to hold open a door for a lady, it does not mean in any way that your rights have been stomped on.

At the same time though, today it is very difficult to disentangle ones self from gendered social stereotypes, stigmas and expectations.  In my world, feminism is one of them.  Subsequently I find it very difficult to explain what I do and how I do it without using the “f-“word.  The best advice I can give to you though, if you yourself struggle with it as well (regardless as to whether you’re male or female.  Gentlemen, you have your masculinity issues too) is to be honest with yourself.  When you’re honest with yourself, you can be honest and genuine with others.  And honesty and genuineness are features that define a true lady.

In no way however do I mean to put feminism in a poor light.  By proxy I am a feminist knowing on a personal level the trials and tribulations of women, but by choice I define myself as an equalist.  I choose to defend the rights of individuals regardless of their gender.  And I choose to defend them by using the polite and kind virtues unearthed to me by my work in etiquette.