How My Father Inadvertently Raised Me To Be a Feminist


fatherErin Bagwell, 26Brooklyn, NY

When my mother was pregnant everyone told her that her first born would be a boy. The doctors, the tests, all signs pointed to male. However, when I was born on May 11th, 1987, I was (as i still am) quite the lady. And whether or not it was a conscious decision or not my father continued to raise me 'like a boy'.

He taught me how to properly throw a baseball, was adamant about me learning how to save and handle money, and held me to the same principles and standards as my little brother. If anything, being the firstborn held me to a higher standard of how I was to act and behave: I set the example, I was the leader of my sibling clan. In a sense, my father didn't recognize gender in the way I was raised, he just wanted me to be the best I could be as a person. I was never told I couldn't be or do anything I wanted to be, whether it was on the soccer field or in my tap class. My father, the conservative army officer, raised me 'like a boy', he raised me to be a feminist.

While I doubt this was his initial intention, the notion of sportsmanship and sisterhood were embraced and encourage throughout my youth. Being a big sports fan my dad would take me to women's basketball games and encourage me to play sports in elementary and high school. I didn't realize as a five year old that going to a woman's basketball game with your dad was empowering, but it totally was. It was also an awesome way for us to bond.

Out of college him and my mom supported by dream to start a production company and helped me fund the video camera I still use today on set. When I wanted to move to NYC because business in Buffalo wasn't working out both my mom and my dad were on my side. Even though I had no job, no friends, and was living with complete strangers in a totally new place, they supported me. Taking risks and starting new adventures never scared me because I was never told I wouldn't or couldn't succeed. I was given the same faith they gave to my brother when he picked up and moved to Chicago.

I am super grateful for the open mindedness of both my parents. I know it’s not easy having an opinionated, tattooed, feminist blogger for a daughter, but whenever they get on my case about it I just smile and remind them that this is their fault. They raised me like this. :-)

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