"Are you a feminist yet?" I know, what the heck kind of question is that? My 18 year old cousin returned to Wichita Falls this summer after her freshman year at an all female college in Philadelphia. I'm so fascinated with her decision to attend a liberal college from her very religious small town back ground. As an active member of her baptist church, she spent most of her high school years going on mission trips, singing in the church choir and teaching bible school on Sundays. Don't know if she had a boyfriend or was popular but I do know her world was perfect in her eyes...that really is all that mattered.
So when my cousin decided to hit the road for college and move to Philadelphia...not to mention that she would attend an all female college, I couldn't help wonder...how would this change her both from her baptist views of the world and her life in a small Texas town. She was conservative because she didn't know any other way.
After six months at this college, she came home from Christmas break. We had our usual family gathering and I couldn't wait to ask, "Are you a feminist yet?" She immediately said "NO!" and proceeded to follow it with look that meant I was crazy for asking.
Hmm. No change so far. I believe Philadelphia was voted most liberal city in the United States not to long ago. Okay, she's got time, I mean she's only spent six months at school, what should I expect. Especially as a freshman, I can't even remember my freshman year of college.
So three more months pass, she now has a myspace page...cool...I'm so out of date, I can't figure out how to find the damn thing. Prince Charles and Carmela visit the college and she is elected to represent and give them flowers upon their arrival...that's pretty big stuff.
Two more months pass, she has a entry in her department's fashion show, wins a category for her work...very cool. Seems acclimated to the college and doing well. Good.
Two days ago, after one full year under her belt, I asked the question "Are you a feminist yet?" "Weeeelllll, what do you mean by feminist?" Wow, she didn't say "NO!" Not only didn't she say "NO!" she continued on for 20 minutes about her views of strong females and the hope of equality and "her professors are homosexuals and some of the most loving people in the world."
Maybe someday she'll realize that my question has nothing to do with being a feminist, it has everything to do with having an open mind, a strong heart and the will to dream.