Thoughtful Thursday: The F Word
June 23, 2011
Building off of another Prompt-ly discussion… Esperanza from Stumbling Gracefully blogged about whether we want too much. On the Prompt-ly list, Schmoopy posted an article from The Guardian about feminism being afraid of its flaws. Keiko from Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed blogged about feminism and shaping a just world.
I am a feminist, no question. Feminism to me means equality: in the workplace, in the home, in society. Sometimes it even means going the other direction to offset longstanding gender patterns. Through most of our marriage, my career has taken precedence over my husband’s. If anyone in our house is going to change a tire or fix the plumbing, it’s going to be me. (If anyone is going to bake a pie, it’s also going to be me.) My husband and I are equal partners and make all decisions together. Even the decision to get married was made together: no patriarchal proposals for us.
Even so, having my twins has actually made me more of a feminist. I have always had my sights laser-set on my career and achieving my goals. Even during all of the years of infertility, which certainly consumed plenty of time and energy, my career was still #1. I just didn’t understand my friends who took months or years off from their careers to be with their children. When I had to quit my main job and do my other job unpaid due to the pregnancy complications and upcoming arrival of the twins, I was still working on other stuff as much as my body would allow, on bedrest at home and even in the hospital. Once those babies arrived, though, nothing else mattered. I tried to squeeze in as much work as I could (which some weeks meant that I opened my email once, and other weeks meant I dragged myself to the office to try to catch up) but it took four months for me to start giving a shit, and six months before I started working for pay again. Finally I understood my friends who wanted to be with their babies rather than go right back to work. Personally I would have loved to do more work outside the home when they were little, if only I could have gotten my head together (and if someone had been paying me), but I finally understood and became less judgmental of the women who chose to prioritize career below family. I have also come to understand that having it all is much harder than it looks.
The other way that Burrito and Tamale have made me more feminist is by being boy-girl twins. Having a son and a daughter who are the same age really brings home all of the insane gender politics of childhood. They do dress in gender-typical ways (mostly because those are the hand-me-downs I received), but the clothes with words like Princess and Little Hero are banished. In other ways, at this age, I am aiming for gender-neutrality. They both play with dolls, and they both play with trucks. Books with strong messages about what boys and girls should do go straight into the donation pile. There are no rules in our house about what boys or girls are supposed to do or say or be. All of the gender politics will come with time, but I will aim for neutrality as long as I can. I will aim for equality all their lives.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?