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    Peaceful Action, Open Heart - Thich Nhat Hanh*** Eat, Pray, Love*** Peaceful Living - Mary Mackenzie(daily reader)*** The Vein of Gold - Julia Cameron (this is a read a chapter a week type book)*** Dubliners - James Joyce*** Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring - Jean Watson*** The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Volume I***
  • Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.
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Soliloquy on Feminism

A recent discussion has led me to ponder on feminism and what it means to me. So, in attempting to better understand my own position, I thought a discourse here would me most useful.

 I am a feminist. I have long thought of myself thus, but I guess I part of me has felt like I was largely a perimeter feminist – meaning that I am not engaging in rallys or active in feminist organizations. The other part of me is wholly feminist and it shows in everything that I do. and knows that I don’t have to be on the ‘front lines’ in order to be a feminist. Some might say, how are You a feminist, you who are in a traditionally female role as a nurse., when feminists have been fighting for decades to move women beyond roles that have been strictly delegated as “women’s work”. And I say that it is in this role, as well as in the other roles of my life, that I feel most feminist. It is here that I get to be a humanist – to treat all others with the respect and dignity that they deserve, and that is really (for me) what feminism is all about.  I also seek to expand the nursing profession and to broaden and dispel many of the myths of the “handmaiden” nurse through my educational process and through my daily interactions with patients and fellow nurses.

It is feminism that allows me to do this, to not accept the traditional role of the ‘handmaiden’ to the (male) physician, to seek to understand and to better the human condition through theory and research and evidence-based nursing (as opposed to medicine).  Beyond the work setting, it is feminism that gives me such a great relationship with my husband (who would not define himself as feminist I think merely because of the inaccurate societal connotations of the word but who I definitely think is humanist which almost amounts to the same thing) – a relationship of mutual respect and love where we can encourage and support each other in seeking personal and professional excellence and not limit ourselves by historical gender-based roles and expectations. Not to say that these expectations don’t arise – in the society in which we live, I don’t think we would be ‘normal’ (whatever that is) if they didn’t – but we are able to work through them and not allow them to burden us for long with their weight.

Feminism for me also means more than that. It means not accepting violence into my life just because I am a woman. This includes violence against other women – in the media and otherwise. It means not accepting less personally or professionally just because I am a woman. It means embracing and loving my womanhood and the nurturing, loving, and empathy that that entails for me. It means learning to value myself and to make choices about my life because I want to, and not because society expects me to, whether or not those choices are ‘traditionally’ female or not. It means spiritual freedom. It means accepting my body and its feminine processes without shame. It means not accepting the myth of original sin. It means questioning the patriarchy. It means making decisions for myself and forming my own opinions instead of just accepting the opinions of others. And yes, it means getting a little ticked off by religion, literature and media, especially the literature that much of our society is based on that excludes women. It means this and so much more for me.

And lastly, to speak on feminists as man-haters. I think that this is one of the biggests misconceptions about feminism. The way I understand and apply feminism to my life, this ideal is inc0nceivable – because feminism for me is not really about men at all. It IS however about acceptance and equality. I will say that I did go through a man-hating phase in my life -but that came from a place of woundedness, not feminism. I also think that it was a necessary process for me to arise from that place of woundedness to a place of loving acceptance. I love the men in my life, and know that life is about balance – yin and yang, male and female.

And yes, I do think that women are great! Yay Women!


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