Why do I call myself a professional feminist?
I get asked this a lot. So let me tell you a short story.
A few years ago I was in a LGBT training called Safe Zone. The leader was talking about how fabulous he thought it was that as a gay man he was able to teach others about the LGBT community, etc. "I'm gay for pay!" I laughed sooo hard and thought that needs to go on his business cards. Around the same time a blog I read was asking people for their professions. A friend of mine, who was running a rape crisis center, said she was a professional feminist. Um, yeah! That is exactly what she was! She gets paid to be a feminist. How awesome! Wait...I get to do that too! OK, I'm not running a women's shelter, but as someone who works on education equity, specifically women's education equity in the science and engineering fields, I get to do feminist work for pay. Yup, I'm a professional feminist too.
Professional feminist is also a term used against feminists like Gloria Steinem and Jessica Valenti who make a living out of speaking and writing about feminism. I do speak and write about feminism, but my definition is about how my job, my career is about implementing feminism in every day life.Of course, I'm sure it is for Gloria & Jessica, but you know what I mean.
I also volunteer my time to feminist organizations. Heck, I see the world thru an implanted feminist lens. It does not come off.
Now I get paid to write feminist opinion pieces for blogs and websites. So I'm doubly lucky in the professional feminist arena. Can you be a feminist restaurant owner? Hell yes! As long as you are doing your job with a feminist awareness, I think you can be just about anything and be a professional feminist.A friend who is an employment discrimination lawyer is a professional feminist. A friend who teaches in high schools and tries to include women's history into her crowded curriculum is a professional feminist. The possibilities are endless!
And that's why I call myself a professional feminist.