Advertisement

Over the past year, I’ve tried to use the magazine to empower women. It’s a goal I actually wrote into our mission statement 11 years ago. But as we dive into that effort, something keeps weighing on my mind: Sometimes empowering women is seen as bashing men, which I would never do. I happen to like men. There is one man in particular who I like a lot.

My daughter recently sent me a video of a young woman talking about why she was not a feminist. (On a side note: My daughter texted, “I am not sending this to start a discussion.” To which I immediately replied and started a discussion.)

The young woman in the video was articulate and smart, and rather angry – but sensibly angry, not crazy angry. I liked her, even though I didn’t necessarily agree with what she was saying. She was passionate about not wanting the label, because she saw it as such a negative. I understood, because when I had those man-bashing thoughts creep up on me, I hated the notion someone might think about me that way. I didn’t want to be considered that kind of feminist.

When it comes to the idea of feminism, people have such diverse opinions – always very strong opinions, but always wildly different. The sad part of that is the message is being lost because of the negative associations with the word. That young girl in the video? I think she would say men and women deserve equal rights. In fact, she did say that. But she wouldn’t call herself a feminist (even though that belief makes her one).

I’ve been lucky enough over the past few years to meet and interview many incredible women, all kinds of women from all walks of life. What’s been really wonderful is telling their stories, and it’s even more wonderful when the story is about a woman who has triumphed or reached a high level of success. That’s what we’re bringing you this month: Women who are extraordinary.

In this special Women’s Issue, everything is in keeping with our mission to empower women. We feature a model with a bionic arm, Native American women who are trying to preserve their tribe, mothers of children who died from a drug overdose and female veterans of World War II.

On page 66, we announce the winners of our first Women of Excellence Awards. Readers submitted nominations for the awards, and a panel of judges chose our six honorees.

I wish you could read the entry forms for the other nominated women. Their stories were incredible and impressive too. (Actually, you may read about some of them. We tagged several women for possible stories later in the year.) Reading about these remarkable women showed me how hard women work, how much they have accomplished and how passionate they are about what they do. In fact, we asked the honorees what it takes to be excellent, and every one – every one – instinctively gave the same answer: Passion. Loving what you do was a common theme for all our honorees.

Our hope is that maybe a young woman (or even an older woman) reads someone’s story on our pages and decides that no matter what she’s labeled, she’s going to stand up and do something great. That work is what everyone here at SJ Magazine is passionate about. I think it’s what makes us excellent, and it’s definitely what guides us on our mission.

Check out the last page of the magazine to see how people responded when we asked them to define feminism. Guess what? The answers are all wildly different.

May 2016
Related Articles
Comments

Leave a Reply

Dr. Ali Houshmand on What Baffles Him About Women – 2017 SJ Magazine Men's Roundtable
Advertisement
WES2018_Button_600x500_600x500_acf_cropped_600x500_acf_cropped_600x500_acf_cropped_600x500_acf_cropped
Advertisement
TVShow ad
Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Advertisement
SHM-Financial-button-600x500_600x500_acf_cropped-1_600x500_acf_cropped_600x500_acf_cropped
Advertisement
Instagram ad
This is South Jersey at the Cowtown Rodeo
Advertisement