I apologize for travelling along the third wave feminism road. It was the road called equality and it seemed to logically follow the road my mother and grandmothers fought for. I apologize for calling it equality and erasing liberation from the nomenclature of feminism.
I apologize for believing that in the 21st century women had a right to choose to sell her body. I apologize for thinking porn helped further sexual liberation. I apologize for thinking pro-choice = reproductive justice.
I apologize for thinking that women and men were wired differently and I somehow won the genetic lottery by earning the right to call myself a mathematician and an engineer despite being born female.
The road to my enlightenment was long and twisted and admittedly, privileged.
My privilege came from a mother determined to not award gender badges to her daughters. A mother who allowed me firetrucks and my sister cowboy regalia. A mother who encouraged a love of learning and a love of math. And a father who 'allowed' this freedom and even (gasp) changed our diapers in the late 1960s. A father who 'allowed' my mother to be the primary wage earner and he even cooked our family meals during the week and took us to lessons and medical appointments. There were no gender badges awarded in my family growing up. And when my sister came out as a lesbian in her early twenties in the early 90s, my parents embraced her despite their catholic upbringing and a church determined to erase her reality.And we did not seek to give her the gender badge of butch dyke or femme lesbian. She simply loved women and we accepted that without needing to label her beyond lesbian.
And now my privilege is being slammed because I also have the audacity of having a gender vadge. I am a female that calls herself a woman and I happen to also have a vagina. The fact that my parents tried so hard to eliminate the gender badge from my life - as did other freethinking parents who saw the harms of boxing in their children into prescriptive gendered roles while children - is now considered irrelevant and even dangerous to third wave feminists. Flaunting the fact that I have a vagina and others born with one need liberation is deemed cissexist. Saying that someone born with a vagina is more likely to be penetrated in a violent act whether for money or torture is called sex-phobic. Telling people that I want access to female only space is pronounced transphobic.
The only thing that seems to be relevant today is what gender badge you feel like you have and the quicker you identify your gender then the quicker your "problem" can be solved if you don't have the right body parts to match. The solution ultimately involves lots of drugs and genital mutilation surgery. But, if caught early enough, the gender badge will be awarded.
My vagina is not gendered, it is female. My brain is not gendered, it is human. My feminism is not gendered, it is about females. My privilege is not gendered it is about socio-economic class and education and race.
Ultimately I am sorry that it took me so long to wake up to our female born reality and what the true liberation of females entails. The road behind is only a couple of centuries old and I fear the road ahead is much steeper than it was before gender badges and gender vadges become priority #1 in First World Feminism.
The penance for my own third-wave feminism fiasco will be that for the remainder of my life I will cry every time I see another female shame another female for anything.
And I'm crying a lot these days.
A 46 yo women's liberationist.