Monday, October 08, 2007

deep thoughts

OK, I usually don't delve this deeply here, but my brain's been whirling since I threw the feminism thing out the other day, which became hurricane force winds after reading all of the very thought provoking comments.

I have to say, my definition of feminism is constantly evolving.

I think, if asked to express it, before I had children I would have given a pretty pat answer. Equality with men. Equal opportunity. Equal pay. The power driven point of view.

Since I've had kids and made the decision to stay home with them, at least for a bit, those views have definitely been altered. I've run smack into the mommy wars and was shocked to find myself under fire. I'm constantly wondering why women, instead of finding ways to support each other in their choices, constantly find ways to undercut and undermine. So much judgment flying around on so very many topics. I have to say, being told over and over again that I am not only letting down previous generations of women, my daughter and myself by staying home has been the most alienating of all. If being a card-carrying feminist means I have to be in the boardroom seeing my kids an hour a day, hiring out the care of hearth and home...not interested. You might be, and good for you. That model works for some. It doesn't for me.

However, I don't see things in such monochromatic strokes.

Shouldn't the heart of feminism rather be finding power and worth in whatever roles women choose to hold?

Is it really all about taking over "the old boy's club"? Isn't part of the equation also bringing worth to nurturing?

Should every woman have to strive to be a CEO, shatter the glass ceiling to prove herself worthy? Shouldn't we rather be bringing attention to the value and power women carry within themselves in any role, be it news anchor or gardener or mother?

It's a complex issue, and I don't pretend to have the answers...I'd just like to expand the list of questions.


Anonymous said...

Yow! My goats (okay, yes, just after being in heat and sniffing a buck-scented paper towel like there's no tomorrow) and I salute you! Go and be feminine, you non-apologetic goddess, you!

Miss Violet said...

OMG...I so totally relate to this post.

When I was first married (which is a whole whopping two years ago now) and trying to reconcile this whole idea of Wife, and more specifically, HOUSEwife....the amount of commentary people felt it necessary to make about my choice was staggering. And confusing. It was like I'd have to make a choice between my life and setting my sisters back fifty years or something.

It's been coming up again a lot again recently. Not the commentary as much as this whole Wife thing. People can understand, if I've got kids or something (which I don't, yet. And I'm losing time by the day in the respect, being 36 now...), but to be at home with no kids? You'd think I had three heads. There's nobody out there blogging about it, really, that isn't either uber-Christian (which is fine with me, but isn't really something I relate to) or uber-Right Wing (which I'm not really okay with, since it gets my undies in a bunch, but live and let live, y'know?) I was thinking there has to be more of us out here, but we're sorely underrepresented or something.

Sorry. Long comment to just say "Dude, I relate." But...well...dude, I relate.

Elspeth said...

I agree too. I hate to read the parenting magazines because it seems like all they do is justify why it's okay to go back to work, but we never get our due for having kids and not outsourcing the care of them to someone else. I thought that feminism was so that we could have choices, not so that we could all work rather than do what is right for our family.

I've started looking for a job after my 8 year absence and I'm sadly beginning to wish I hadn't left the job force - it seems like it will be impossible to get something now that I'm not in a job. Someday we'll have true feminism, where we can do what is right for us, and we won't get berated by other women (and men) for it.

Tiffany said...

I completely agree. I feel that I am a feminist because I have the right to make choices. I chose to get my college degree. I chose not to do anything with it and remain home with my children. I've worked full time and stayed home full time. I prefer to stay home, but I also understand the realities of needing to help support my family at the same time.

I hated that feeling that I wasn't good enough that I got from SAHM's when I worked, and now I hate that feeling I get that I'm just not doing enough for my children even with staying home. I've got to remember that I can and will do what is within my power to do and to compare myself to no one but myself. My daughters and my husband love me and I owe it to myself to love me just as much.