I don’t consider myself a feminist.
I do believe that woman should have choices, be paid the same, and are worth just as much as men.
So, in that sense, I agree with feminism. But that isn’t how I see feminism.
Here’s what feminism means to me, a woman in her mid 40’s. A woman who was a child in the 70’s and 80’s, who really came of age in the 90’s and became a wife and mother in the new millenium.
I see, and have always seen, the loudest voices in feminism as the embodiment of mean girls. The loudest voices aren’t about making the world equal, it’s about hating the women who do things different. There is no lifting up other women, supporting each other, making us feel better about ourselves. It’s about tearing each other down until we’re broken and can be built back up in the feminist model.
It’s not about empowerment. It’s about hating that every woman doesn’t live like they do.
There doesn’t seem to be choice in feminism. It seems that if I choose to embrace a traditional role of wife and a mother who stays at home, goes to church, cooks, etc. then I’m not, I can’t be, a feminist. This is where they lose me.
It seems to me that if I love men and want a traditional marriage, well, then, I can’t be a feminist.
Let me clarify my stance a little. I consider myself a libertarian. I don’t care who you marry, I don’t care what you do behind closed doors. I believe that a family is a family is a family, and if you can show a child love and give it a good home, then do it. I believe that a mother should do what they believe is best for their family (and let’s face it, in some ways we’re all going to wrong and we’re all going to do right in this child-raising thing. None of us are perfect, and we won’t know what works on our children until they can complain to us in their 20’s and 30’s), whether it be working, staying home, having dad stay home (yeah!!), having grandparents around to help (lucky you!), or doing some combination of the above. It’s your call, your choice.
And I believe that if you don’t want to have children, than you shouldn’t (we’ll save the abortion argument for another day).
I don’t believe most of today’s men think less of women (I know there are some). I do think that women should be paid equal for equal work.
But I see most feminists, the loudest voices, as those who want some sort of revenge. This makes them the worst sort of mean girls. They want everyone to see the world the way they see it, and this isn’t open-minded. They want a world different, but they want it to be their vision, their way.
There are some very strong, very fine conservative women out there (and yes, I am a conservative; No, I don’t agree with all of them). But I see feminists as dismissing them because they don’t follow their train of thought. Many are in government or heads of companies, but they can’t be feminists. This confounds me. Shouldn’t part of feminism be that we have the choice, that we don’t have to toe any line that we are given? That, as strong, smart, educated women we should have the choice?
I wish that feminism could be about embracing all the choices out there and supporting each other, but it seems like feminists and non-feminist women cannot get above the petty, name calling, angry bitterness that has engulfed us since the third grade (that’s the first time I had problems with other girls).
I guess I want feminism to be about respecting other women (and men, really). We worked so hard to get the vote, to get into the workplace, to be a voice. Shouldn’t we allow every voice to be heard?
I don’t know what I call myself. There is no label, I guess. I’ve got a lot of labels. Wife. Mom. Boardmember. Catholic. Daughter. Friend. Writer.
Maybe you could just support what I do, what I say. We don’t have to agree. I’ll do the same for you.
That should be feminism. But it’s not, and that’s why I don’t consider myself a feminist.
And now,The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.
Note: I read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher. The Boston Girl will be available for purchase on December 9th, 2014. Pre-order it now! It’ll be worth it!
Addie is born in 1900 to newly immigrated parents who are unsure of America. She is the youngest of three daughters, with one sister hellbent on experiencing America and the other sickly and shy, beautiful and dutiful. Addie fits somewhere in-between the two, trying to be dutiful but feeling the pull of women’s liberation and a world beyond the sweatshop.
Addie’s life begins at age 15, when she joins a neighborhood library group with women who will change the shape of Boston and Addie’s life. She learns about life, and begins to realize that her dreams of going to college may be attainable. Addie works a myriad of jobs in her life, has some incredible experiences, and watches Boston and its surrounding areas metamorphize with growth. Addie lives through World War I & II, and through disastrous love affairs and a love for the ages. She learns what it means to be Jewish and what the world holds for her.
The world changed in unimaginable ways in the 20th century, and Diamant, through Addie, does an admirable job of recounting these miracles. Addie embraces and loves the changes and the possibilities they hold, but also holds onto the traditional.
The Boston Girl is a wonderful story of a truly 20th century woman. An epic book without epicly bogging the reader down. Addie the woman we all wish we knew, and her ability to embrace life is one we hope we have instilled in our daughters.