I have often said semi-jokingly that I am not a feminist, I am a humanist. In part, that is true. I care for all things human, yet I also care for all things animal, and all things natural. So maybe I am an omnibiotist? I think - where it is true that women have yet a long road to travel to be treated equal, to be empowered, to be raised to the status they deserve - men have quite a few boundaries to cross too. I also think there a huge steps to make for how children are treated, indifferently of their sex. And then I'm not even speaking of the way we treat nature.
But does that mean I am not a feminist. No, certainly not, for amongst all the things listed above, I do care for the sort of women. Women are the source of all human life on our planet, so maybe it's fair game to start there. And we still have such a long way to go. How could I not be a feminist.
Maybe I should explain why I used to distinct myself from feminism. Where I come from (I.e. Belgium, a rather backward country with no government) feminism is still stuck in an "all women must have a career" and positive discrimination kind of mindset.
And although I get where that's coming from, I don't think that's the way freedom of choice for women will be created. Nor do I think that will acquire a lot of sympathy for the cause.
Actions like the zipper principle (does that exist in anglophone countries? it basically means political parties need a woman for every man on their list), they are in fact reverse sexist, since we are not concentrating on the candidate's capacities, but only on his or her sex.
Isn't it odd to try and overcome sexism by the same means as the ones we are trying to eradicate?
Moreover, the type of feminism I am talking about - the type that repulses me and makes me say I am not a feminist - it's not really friendly towards women. It only glorifies a certain aspect of choice (the freedom to have a career and to be treated equal therein) and annihilates all other possibilities.
It belittles women who choose not to go down that road.
It denounces or diminishes the virtues of motherhood.
It's not even a battle of men against women.
It should be an attempt to overthrow kyriarchy (*).
* the term was introduced by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, based on the Greek terms Kyros (master) and archein (to dominate) as an adaptation of patriarchy (which is the domination of the father/male), so it diverts the notion of sex as part of the ruling class.