“Swearing isn’t very ladylike.”
“Stop being so dramatic.”
“Do you have a warm hole I can stick something in?”
“You should probably have a guy help you with that.”
“Girls are just better at those things.”
“You’ve got plenty of time to learn how to cook.”
These are just a select few remarks I have heard or been asked firsthand over the past few years. They were made by strangers, coworkers and friends. Though I resent comments such as these, I am glad that I can at least recognize them as being sexist because not everyone seems to. I have witnessed females of various ages be on the receiving end of these types of remarks without so much as a frustrated sigh; as if it was a completely acceptable thing to say to another person. This is disconcerting to say the least.
I look back on my days as a young, impressionable girl and I am grateful. I am grateful I had parents who raised me to give respect and demand it in return. I am grateful they ingrained in me the idea that being female does not inherently bring with it limitations of what can be achieved. I am grateful they taught me my sex does not make me better or worse than anyone else. While the term “feminism” may not have been explicitly said at the dinner table when I was growing up, my parents absolutely taught me to be a feminist. They were and continue to be two of my most prominent examples of feminism.
My mother joined the Detroit Police Department in the early 1970s, a time when blatant sexual harassment and discrimination were an everyday setback in an already demanding and dangerous job. She did not only endure these obstacles; she conquered them. Before retiring from Detroit, she turned down a promotion as Deputy Chief, the third highest rank in the department. She went on to serve as the Chief of Police for the City of Walker, Michigan. Spanning more than 40 years, hers is an impressive career even without the added challenges faced when you are a female in a male-dominated field.
My father also retired from the Detroit Police Department after nearly 30 years. He also rose through the ranks by working extremely hard and overcoming his own challenges. He has been partner to my mother throughout her professional and personal life, and he has supported me and my two sisters in all of our endeavors. He is as much of a feminist role model to me because he has always enforced sexual equality.
My parents are the reason I am proud to call myself feminist. While I do not believe a person must necessarily take action, in addition to holding the beliefs, to be considered a feminist, I do believe a person must take action if they truly want things to change. That is why I will do my best to continue the examples set by my mother and father. I will not be silenced when I or anyone else has a sexist remark thrown in their face. I will continue the fight against sexual inequality.
Ms. Lindstrom currently resides in Chicago, Illinois where she works in the Department of Research at the Radiological Society of North America. She received her Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University.