I’m not fill-in-the-blank, BUT

Charlene Norman
4 min readApr 1, 2024

Do you remember the 80’s and 90's? There were certain rallying cries many professional women made. ‘I’m NOT a feminist, BUT I do believe in equality.’ Maybe you heard, “I’m all for equality; I’m NOT for burning my bra.” Or perhaps you heard or even said something along the lines of, ‘I’m not a man-hater, BUT I absolutely detest how that SOB takes all my ideas, claims them as his own and gets a fat bonus.’

And for those of you who say, “ I wasn’t alive then, but man, things haven’t changed much since then,” read on.

Have you ever wondered how, since forever, we seem to contort our beliefs into something more palatable or politically correct for our audience? It’s almost like we’ve fallen into the corporate trap of making everything beige so that we don’t offend, put off, or, heaven help us, engage in a deep and controversial discussion.

For far too many decades, I said, “I am NOT a feminist. I don’t believe in burning my bra, BUT I do believe in equality.


I’ve been a feminist all my life. I have ALWAYS advocated for women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes. What I WAS was overly concerned about was my language and that I’d greatly offend the other party. (Faint-hearted is the best expression I can come up with.)

This came down to a classic mix-up that we all do. We think first about the less polite tactics (political or militant activism, outspokenness, in-your-face attitude) instead of the overarching strategy. (We live in a world where all humans are equal and deserve respect and dignity.)

I was reminded of this during the last two weeks while editing two upcoming podcast series.

The first time was during a conversation with this week’s guest on Plastic as Art. During his rant, he said, ‘Y’know, I’m not a Greenpeace kinda guy, and political activism is not my jam, BUT, we’ve all got to do something and sooner, NOT later.’

The second time was my next guest ranting about how much time was being wasted trying to come up with a more palatable term to describe the precarious precipice pertaining to climate change or sustainability that we all stand on.

She said, “If your house is on fire, would you spend time waxing poetic about the flames or yell at the top of your lungs, everyone get out of there? Because that is what we are doing with the whole climate change narrative. Instead of yelling, it’s time to stop doing many things. We’re wasting valuable time and energy in coming up with new ways to frame the problem. Call it what you want. This problem is NOT going away with a better, more egalitarian name.”

Here are some hard, cold data factoids that have recently been released.

By the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Full male/female equality here in Canada will not happen within the next two hundred years. That’s painful. Women have been pushing this rope up the hill for 150 years already, and we still have 200 years to go. The best part is for those women in tech. That will take THREE hundred years to reach parity. This means all the hard-coded biases built into products that automatically eliminate the woman’s point of view will continue for another 300 years.

By the World Wildlife Foundation

(These are the people I affectionately call the Panda People.) Within twenty-five years, there will be a population explosion of plastic — so big that plastic will outnumber fish and sea creatures in all the oceans, lakes, and seas worldwide.

THIS is what making our views more palatable and politically correct has done to us. THIS is what confusing tactics with strategy has done to us. Obfuscated and conflated the truth, delayed progress and accelerated our decline.

I lost all traces of faint-heartedness years ago. I am staunchly feminist. I am just now accepting that my heart needs to be tuned into activism. And activism of any stripe can take the form we decide best suits us.

I don’t believe one person can do much of anything alone. However, a bunch of ordinary people who band together can accomplish the extraordinary. The world needs more of us to stand up, stand together, and make our voices count — TODAY.

We can do it together. By shining the light. Because the whole world is counting on us.

Tune in and listen to Roger Brenninkmeyer’s journey from business person to plastics artist. It is a fascinating listen. For a guy who vehemently says, I’m not a Greenpeace kinda guy, BUT …



Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.