For the month of March, Common Room is hosting an event: International Women’s Month! March 8th marks International Women’s Day, and the ladies over at ComRom decided to take the whole month to celebrate women! Take a gander at the awesome themes they have lined up for the month, and write up a post to join in if you wish! As for me, I’m being a bit of a rebel gal, and going off theme for a personal post about myself and feminism.
Feminism isn’t something I’ve really ever talked about at length on the blog. And I think it’s because for a long time, I didn’t really know how I identified as a feminist. In fact, for a long time I was pretty sure that I wasn’t a feminist.
I’m aware that sounds a bit odd. But from a decently young age, I’ve had an idea of what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to be a mom. Even as a teenager I knew without doubt that I wanted children. It was the only thing I was sure of. I didn’t have outside influences for this. I come from a family of working women (my grandmother was a door-to-door lightbulb saleswoman in the 1950s while taking care of two kids while my grandfather was away in the military!) and I grew up with a focus on education and creativity thanks to my parents. Both my parents did a damn good job of making sure that I know I’m a smart gal capable of achieving anything I put my mind to.
But even through high school, and college, the only ‘career’ I really and truly wanted was to be a stay at home mom.I had other jobs in mind, but nothing that sprung the word passion to mind. Other than the idea of someday being a parent. I wanted to raise my children, I wanted to take care of the house, I wanted to cook yummy food, I wanted to bake cookies. And according to the (limited) information I had at the time, this made me a ‘bad feminist’.
My idea of feminists when I was younger can be summed up as a really bad stereotype: man-hating women who don’t shave and swear a lot. I’m not kidding. It’s embarrassing. But that’s what I had to go on. And it’s because that is often how the media portrays feminists. They show the extreme but present it as the norm. I assumed that because I didn’t hate men, didn’t harbor an innate desire to ‘rise above’ men (Equal? Yes. Dominate? No.) and because my life goal was to be a mom, I couldn’t possibly be a feminist.
Today? A hugely different story. I know I’m a feminist. And one major event sparked that change. The birth of my daughter. I find a lovely sort of symmetry in the fact that having a child, one of the things that originally made me question my feminism, is what brought about the strongest change in identifying with myself as a feminist.
Having her made me realize that I never want her to grow up in a world where she may be overlooked or judged as less because she’s female. Or where she may not think she can do things because she’s a girl. I also don’t ever want her to question her choices solely because of her gender. Because to me, along with equality, that’s what feminism comes down to. Choice. Not feeling like I have to do anything because of my gender. Not feeling like I can’t do something because of my gender. It’s the freedom to choose what I want for my life, regardless of gender.
Back in 2014, I found this gem of an article, titled I Can Cook For My Husband & Still Be A Feminist. And I seriously wanted to cry when I read it. YES! THIS IS ME! I already identified as a feminist, but to find someone else who shared the exact views I did was so validating. It was like a weight off my shoulders, to find more people in the world who chose the same path I did and still call themselves feminists.
I know the extremes exist. I’ve personally been told that I can’t be a feminist because I’m a stay at home mom, and that I’m contributing to holding women back. But now, that no longer bothers me. Feminism comes in so many forms, whether you wear pink dresses and do your nails every day or wear nothing but black and never want children. I am a feminist. I chose the life of being a stay at home mom and raising my child, taking care of the house, and making a damn good chocolate chip cookie. That’s my feminism.