I was at a call this morning and a bystander in the crowd congratulated me for being a feminist. Perhaps this gentleman was paying me a compliment but to be honest I was taken aback.
I've never thought of myself as a feminist. I've never thought that by being a female firefighter I was different or making a social commentary. I became a firefighter because it's what I love and everything that I've ever wanted in a career. I didn't take this job to prove a point.... I simply wanted this job because that little whisper of a voice inside me started to shout and tell me that I can do this because it's what I was made to do. And there wasn't any doubt that I could do it well, female or not. There are days at work that I forget that I am a woman, because the lines have blurred with familiarity and I'm just another one of the hundreds of firefighters on the department.
I've always associated feminists as the long-haired-placard-waving-hippy Gloria Steinam types of the '70's who fought for equality and causes they believed in. Me, I've always just flown by the seat of my pants doing what my heart told me to do along the way without thinking things through too much and as a result forged my own path.
So I'm not sure if I would define myself as a feminist in the traditional sense. But as a child growing up in the seventies, maybe I did pick up on the 'movement' subconsciously because I never thought that there wasn't anything I couldn't do based on my race or gender. And because of these women I have reason to give thanks for being able to hold down the job that I have and raise a family at the same time. And for not having to make a choice between the two. Or being criticized for making the choice. And getting paid exactly the same as the guy sitting next to me on the truck. And I should also give thanks that my beautiful, wide-eyed daughter will have the opportunity to make the same choices and be anything that she wants to be without anyone or anything holding her back and grow to be that fearless warrior that each and every woman has inside of her. xo