Am I a feminist?

I am invited to a discussion by the magazine Die Furche about women’s identities in today’s society. The occasion is 70th birthday of Johanna Dohnel, Austria’s first minister for gender topics. They heard about "From Barbie" coming out in May and find it very interesting. I am discussing with one young Muslim woman and one leader of some feminist society. Well, well – once again I may represent the golden middle. I had a similar discussion a year ago on Okto TV where I faced a woman who explained that we all have a man inside of us. I don’t like this theory. “I am a 100% woman, I replied” and made her my enemy the very instance.Knowing what I am to expect, I decided to clear my thoughts about the topic – and while doing this, to write down my own position on all of this. I wanted to do this few months ago, after I received an e-mail by a reader saying that “It looks like you defend feminist positions in your articles, but I wonder why you decided to be naked on your website (which is nice for my eyes but contrary to feminist position).” Let me start with this – I am not a feminist. I (almost) live the life feminists fought for. Theoretical dealing with feminism never was my intention. I wrote a book based on my experiences with the intention of painting a portrait of my generation. I wanted to show that we are emancipated, ambitious, determined, independent and ready to use the freedom and the rights given to us by our mothers and grandmothers. But I also wanted to show that in the same time, those young powerful women are lost, are going through painful lessons, feel unprotected and insecure and are still unfairly treated. And yes, we are still searching for the perfect man. Our Mr. Right. We need a man - so that we can be a woman, a wife, a mother. And he still has to be strong, to protect us, to believe in us, to inspire us (ugh and I must say this ……also to….fuck us.) We want men to be men. We don't want to rob them of their manhood, just as we don't want to give up our femininity. We want a partnership of two poles of same strength which accept and value their differences and jointly profit from those differences – so that they can raise a healthy family and become a healthy base for a healthy society. To reach harmony, ying and yang must be of same size. And they must stay positive vs. negative. Vive la difference! I have an urge to scream this over and over again. I was first stamped as a feminist by Frédéric Beigbeder who in his review called my book “feminist”. I was so excited about receiving a review by a writer and a man who is so famous and whom I admire so much that this excitement shaded the fact that something important has happened – I got labelled. Then came the interviews and they kept on asking “Are you a feminist?” I hated this question. I hate labels and I hate categorisations and I never wanted to proclaim myself as this or that. I am a woman writing about what I see and what I experience. My writing is not a construction and there is no strategy behind it. I simply I write about topics that touch me and move me. This is why I write about the bad influence of media’s artificially über-sexual image of women. Now, I notice same process happening with men and I am planning to write about that – so does that make me a hominist? I write about the fact that in Austria, women still get paid 20% less than thier male colleagues for the same job and occupy only 6% of top managerial positions. But I also write about the danger of the virtual feeling of choice created by internet networks and about horrors of war and about the financial crisis. I write about aspects of our society which I believe systematically endanger us as humans in our basic rights to be happy and free. If you need a label, call me a “humanist”, for heaven’s sake! And a “humanist” movement is what we do need right now (as the crisis is proving). We got very far with our rights and freedoms as women (yes, I am speaking for western societies). On paper, we are equal and, most importantly, we have the freedom to shape our life the way we want it. But not in real life. What is still hindering us from equality with men is the fact that our society is focusing on the profit and not towards on the human being. As long as our world continues turning around profit, women will not be equal. Because women – if they want to have a family – cannot sacrifice 90 % of their energy to their work. They have to be pregnant, take care of their babies and later raise their kids. To achieve equality, we have to make sure this unchangeable fact doesn’t hinder them, which means that men should also be allowed (or forced?) to spend 2/3 of their energy on their private lives. It is easy. It might sound silly, but if all offices closed at 17h, there would be no danger that your male colleague will steal your project while you’re picking your child up from kindergarten. And what about the possibility to do every job, on every level, as part time? I still don’t understand why am I not allowed to be a part-time marketing manager. Women of my generation have proved that we are able to have it all – now we need the support of society and of men to make this a reality. For this, our focus has to turn away from the business and the profit and making money and turn towards the human - men and women and children - and our happiness and fulfilment.