To me, feminism is validation. I speak for myself when I say that I feel empowered to do what I want, when I want, and how I want. I speak for Americans when I say that as women, we seek more. We wish for equal pay, equal rights, equal opportunity. Our voices rise in new ways with passing time. We venture out into the world of men and we tear down the walls of normal with our manicured hands, or our dirty hands, or our hands tired from caring for our children and the children of others.
To many women across the world, feminism is the idea of being protected from rape and murder, from having their breasts, rich with milk, removed from their bodies by members of enemy tribes. Feminism to some women means bearing children that will have a lifespan of more than five years, or ten years, or twenty years. Feminism in and of itself is indicative of power, whether it be the power to break the glass ceiling of corporations established in capitalist countries or the power to marry the men we love, bear children gloriously and without fear, or conduct daily life without the fear of forced entry into and mutilation of the very essence of who we are as women. I got a letter from a woman in Mombasa, Kenya, that stated matter-of-factly, 'God blessing, all of my children are alive'.
In a realized America, there is still work to do, and stereotypes and bigotry stand in the way of ultimate equality in a democratic nation. In a realized world, however, I am a woman rich with power. I am peaceful in my gender; I feel respected and safe in my progressive environment. My time is wasted in focusing on the marginal issues affecting my native country.
My manifestation of feminism is reaching out beyond the borders of my land and, in whatever way I know, empowering women in peace. If equality is entirely too much for other women to hope for, peace and safety are the ways to break trail.