In 2008, I was one of the young feminist whippersnappers who voted for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries - or as many of my older counterparts called me at the time, a traitor.
Feminism isn't simply about being a woman in a position of power. It's battling systemic inequities; it's a social justice movement that believes sexism, racism and classism exist and interconnect, and that they should be consistently challenged.
Hearing the Beastie Boys speak out against sexism made me feel like if these men who had once sung about getting girls to 'do the laundry' and 'clean up my room' could understand, maybe the rest of the world would follow suit. It made me hopeful in the best way.
Bra-burning never happened. It was completely made up by the media. A couple of women protesting a Miss America pageant threw some bras into a garbage can, and somehow that became this longstanding idea of feminists as bra-burners.
The truth is that we don't need everyone to like us; we need a few people to love us. Because what's better than being roundly liked is being fully known - an impossibility both professionally and personally if you're so busy being likable that you forget to be yourself.
As I grew up and began identifying myself as a feminist, there were plenty of issues that continued to make me question marriage: the father 'giving' the bride away, women taking their husband's last name, the white dress, the vows promising to 'obey' the groom. And that only covers the wedding.
My problem with the wedding industry started when I studied in college and liked to have the television on in the background, and 'A Wedding Story' on TLC always came on, and I'd get irritated that the story of two people making a lifelong commitment to each other could be encapsulated in a half-hour show about the party they throw.
When I started blogging in 2004, I responded to every comment no matter how nasty the reader was. I was generally polite, believing that these critics would be so charmed by my professionalism that they would see the error of their misogynist ways and swiftly run out to read a bell hooks book. Ha!
The implications of likability are long-lasting and serious. Women adjust their behavior to be likable and as a result have less power in the world. And this desire to be liked and accepted goes beyond the boardroom - it's an issue that comes up for women in their personal lives as well, especially as they become more opinionated and outspoken.
Dismissing socialization and gender roles as piddling compared to this amorphous idea of 'maternal imperative' is part of the reason progress is stalled for family-friendly policies.
I revisit old favorites like 'Buffy' and 'Battlestar Galactica' when I'm bored. I am obsessed with 'Scandal.' I love TV.
A huge part of keeping women in their place has to do with creating a really limited definition of what a 'real' woman is like. And a ton of that what-makes-a-woman nonsense is attached to motherhood. Apparently, by virtue of having ovaries and a uterus, women are automatic mommies or mommies-to-be.
People ask me a lot, 'Well, can you be pro-life and be feminist? Can you be conservative and be feminist?' And I think that, yeah, maybe personally you can be those things. But I think if you're advocating for legislation, or if you're fighting to limit other women's rights, then you can't really call yourself a feminist.
My parents have a wonderful marriage, but they have been together since my mother was 12, married when they were just teenagers and are barely ever separated. They even work together. As a result, I have always thought of marriage as involving the loss of a certain amount of autonomy.
I grew up in Long Island City. When I was growing up, my parents owned a women's clothing store in Queens. It was for older women. I got my bras there, until I realized I didn't want those huge, taupe bras. Everything was beige, with massive amounts of hooks.
I hope that by modeling feminism in my own life, work and relationships that it will haut become an organic part of my daughter's life. But I'm also fully prepared for her to become a Republican as a way to rebel as a teenager - that would be just my luck!
Wanting to be liked means being a supporting character in your own life, using the cues of the actors around you to determine your next line rather than your own script. It means that your self-worth will always be tied to what someone else thinks about you, forever out of your control.
I think day care is terrific. Kids get to be around other kids, and they're playing, and they're teaching each other. When I was in college, my summer job was being a preschool teacher. I loved it, and after that experience, I said I can't wait to put my kid in day care because I could see how much they loved it.
Whether it's repro rights, violence against women, or just plain old vanilla sexism, most issues affecting women have one thing in common - they exist to keep women 'in their place.' To make sure that we're acting 'appropriately,' whatever that means.
There have been women who stumbled across Feministing randomly, through a bizarre Google search or something, and had no idea what feminism was. They thought it was something older women do, or bought into the hairy bra-burning man-hating stereotype 100 percent. Anything that deviates from that is very exciting for them.