When I was about ten, I began to notice that my father would leave the table after dinner, assuming my mother would clear the dishes. As we grew older, my brothers did the same. I thought this unfair to my mother, whose chores seemed never to end. As the only daughter, I faced a dilemma: Should I show solidarity with my mother by helping her clean up or claim equal status with my brothers by leaving her with the drudgery?
In due course, trying to answer this question led me to feminism. Somewhere between the sullen, sapphic-tinged Riot Grrrl celebration of femaleness and the lucid rationalism of Simone de Beauvoir, I glimpsed unimagined worlds in which women were creatures in our own right, rather than second-class support humans.
I also learned that membership in the feminist club comes with small print. You cannot pursue feminist goals without signing up to a larger bundle of commitments under the banner of “progress,” such as climate justice, racial- and gender-minority rights, wealth redistribution, and so on. Reject those, and you will be excommunicated from the coalition of the righteous.