Happy Father’s Day! In honor of Father’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to write about—yes, you guessed it—fathers. Not just fathers, but my father in particular.
If someone were to ask my father if he were a feminist, I think most likely he’d say yes. He supports a woman’s right to choose, equal working conditions, and egalitarianism in Judaism for those who wish for it, among many other things. That being said, feminism is certainly not the first thing anyone would think of when they think of my father; unlike me, he does not spend the majority, or even a large part of his time, talking about feminist issues. He reads this blog because, and only because, I write it (but he does dutifully read every post and email me comments with his thoughts.) He was also raised in Argentina, with its more traditional familial and societal standards, and so it would be hard to say that he was raised into the feminist movement that I know today.
While my father may not be a traditional feminist, he has always made it clear to me that he thinks that women can do just as much as men. In particular, he’s taught me to think that I, as a female, am just as capable, if not more capable, than the males around me. For that I am grateful, because he has made me truly believe that more people believe in this whole equality ideal than the women who are struggling for it—that men can care, too.
More important than other things, I think, is the fact that my father has taught me respect, something extremely important both in the feminist world and beyond. He has shown me his deep respect for women, exhibited from the stories he has told me about women he dated when he was young to the way he talks about women in his workplace. But he has also taught me a respect for other people and their ideas—he has instilled in me an awareness of the fact that while I do have things to say, I must always remember that there are people out there who will disagree, and that those people are educated and intelligent and deserve to be listened to and respected. He continually urges me to keep respect in mind as I interact with my friends, with my teachers, with people I meet at dinner, and in this very blog. And while it may be annoying at times, it is also very important: I think all people need to remember respect in order to keep things in perspective and keep themselves and their struggles in check.
So, this Father’s Day, in the tradition of the Torah, I would like to pay some respect to my father (and mother, but father in particular because of the day). He is a strong and important role model for me as I write this blog and grow as a feminist, but also as I grow as a person. And I would like to encourage everyone to pay some respect to your father, maybe about feminism, or maybe just about something he has taught you about how to live. Fathers, like mothers, may not be perfect, but they certainly do and teach a lot.