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9/9/09

this argument is stupid.

(note: blogger published this before I was done, make sure to read to the end.)

Look, everyone, I like to argue. I'll argue about anything. Is the sky really blue? Define blue. What you see is blue I see as......

Yes, my husband is a lucky man, why do you ask?

But sometimes, I get sick of certain arguments. There are just some arguments not worth having anymore. I feel totally fine telling you this, as I am an expert in stupid arguments.


One such argument that needs to be over?

Feminine versus Feminist.

It is better to be feminine than a feminist. I'd rather be a feminist than feminine.

This argument is stupid. You can be both.

I think a lot of people fear feminism, because they think it prevents them from living a certain kind of life. From what I can tell, this often, but not always involves staying at home with kids, making dinner for their spouses, not wanting to compete in the workforce, and wearing dresses.

You can do all those things, and be a feminist. That is the point. You can spend the rest of your life raising your children and never receiving a formal paycheck and still want your next-door neighbor to earn as much as her male co-worker at the fancy firm down-town. And still have time to make dinner.

I think people also fear feminism because they don't think they can be equal with men, and different than men at the same time.

Everyone is different. But I can view a working father with the same value as I do a stay at home mom. They play equally important, but different roles.


On the other hand, I think people fear femininity because they perceive it as weak, or somehow degrading. I'm still not sure what it means to "be feminine."

But if it involves accepting the parts of yourself that make you a mother, a wife, or a woman, (different, but equally important as men,) that seems like a logical thing to do. A logical thing to do that still leaves you enough time to be a feminist.

Those feminists were wrong about one thing, though: You can't have it all. Nobody can. But you can have both: feminism and femininity.

Like ice cream! You know how you can get those chocolate and vanilla swirl cones? Who says you have to pick! Take both.


the end.





































(I make a lot of food analogies for someone who doesn't cook.)


19 comments:

Michemily said...

Amen, sister, amen!!!!!! I feel like this is especially a problem with Mormons because they get scared and run away when they hear the word "feminist" instead of trying to understand that many of the ideals described by such a mindset fit what prophets have been allowing for women for many generations. That's why I wrote my Master's thesis on Betty Friedan and modern stay-at-home mothers who write blogs. Seriously. Seriously. Seriously.

MamaBear said...

you're right! i've also seen it put this way: you CAN have it all. you just can't have it all at the same time.

women who work are looked down on by those who think the best place for a woman is at home. that's not all women, any more than it is all men, or than the idea that men should all be high-powered executives (or aspiring to be such).

femi-nazis need to lighten up and realize that true feminism is allowing everyone to do what fulfils THEM, and treating them equally regardless of gender.

Pooh said...

I am a sometime lurker who is friends with Peachy Nicole. I am also nearly a decade older than she is, so I feel I can speak to this thing about fearing feminism.

The thing is that feminism means something completely different to you than it meant to my mom when I was growing up in the 1970's. As a SAHLDSM with a growing brood that eventually included eight children, she was made to feel that her efforts in the home were inferior to the efforts of those women who were fighting the feminist fight in the workplace. That, in fact, her efforts were DETRIMENTAL to the cause of feminism, because to feminists of that era, she, as a frequently pregnant homemaker, was actually PART OF THE PROBLEM. She was made to feel stupid, uneducated (NOT, actually, she was just a few credits shy of a degree in Special Ed.), and backwards, and it was assumed that she was some kind of submissive little sheep to her husband (also NOT. hoo-boy. really really NOT.).

I vividly remember those types of women, the bra-ditching ones who wore mannish suits (disclaimer: I love man-tailored clothing), slept around pretty much just because men could do it without the same stigma, declared that marriage was degrading and the world already over-populated, so why in the world would they want to have children. It really wasn't just about wanting to be paid the same as a man got paid for doing the same job (and without having to deal with the boss hitting on them all the time). Those women were trying to obliterate their femininity and BE men.

That's where the backlash came in with my generation. After seeing those women while we were growing up, the women who were suddenly sorry they never had children once their ovaries started to shut down (although I'm personally very grateful for the great advances in fertility medicine they spurred with their regret), my generation started to realize that being at home wasn't so bad after all. We started to realize that we WANTED to be women. We wanted to get married and have children and stay at home to raise them. And it was okay if we didn't use that college degree out in the workforce, because we could use those skills in our homes.

Your generation may not understand the conflict between feminism and femininity, but that's because of all the history that has gone before you. And that's as it should be. I am glad that the fight has been fought, and that young women now feel there is no reason why they can't get that Master's degree and then stay home with their children, fully expecting that someday, when their children have grown, they can re-enter the professional world and get paid what they are due. I am glad that those same young women can marry without feeling that it means submission, fully expecting their husbands to wash some dishes and change some diapers and consult with them as equals on all matters of import.

There is still much work to be done in the field of women's rights, but it is the generations gone before who have given us the opportunity to do that work. Let's not forget them.

I'm a notorious rambler. Sorry.

The Boob Nazi said...

I'm feminine but not a feminist. (Did that just make your head explode?) And I'm joking anyway.
I don't know women who are afraid to be equal with men. That hurts me inside.

Pooh said...

Also? I forgot to check the "email follow-up comments" box, but I really want to hear what other people have to say about this.

NIKOL said...

I think you would enjoy this article from Tomato Nation:
http://tomatonation.com/?p=677. if you don't like it, pretend like someone else sent you the link instead of me.

Hilary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hilary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elise said...

Thank you thank you thank you. I hate it when people are anti-feminist. Being a feminist doesn't mean you have to burn your bra or hate the male sex. It just means, as a woman, you can rock too.

Also, notice how members of the church are often VERY anti-feminist? grrr.

lifeofdi said...

AMEN!

Lena said...

I love when you talk about feminism. And I agree with you. I also think that the primary purpose of being a Feminist is that you had the ability to choose what you wanted to do with your life. If it was career, great, treat me like you treat everyone else. If you want to stay home and be a mom, great, treat me like everyone else. I think you are just as much a feminist as a stay at home mom as you are in the work place.

Plus, I still want guys to do the heavy lifting.

Talina said...

I have to agree with Pooh and Hilary. I always thought of myself as a feminist. I think women are capable of doing anything they set their mind to. I believe strongly in equal opportunity (but not necessarily equal outcome. . . though that's a whole 'nother debate). But after I got married I got sick and tired of people telling me I HAD to do certain things or I was a bad person who was single-handedly obliterating 50 years of feminist progress with my decisions.
I have a Masters degree as well. I always planned on pursuing a graduate degree and making a difference in the world. I don't have children yet but I honestly feel that the greatest difference *I* can make is to raise good, honest, educated, contributing members of society and so when I DO have children, I plan to stay home with them as much as possible (notice I said *I*. I don't necessarily believe that this is the right choice for everyone. I do believe that as a woman I have the right to choose for myself and so do you).
Sounds simple, right? And yet, people who don't even KNOW this plan of mine have told me that if I choose to stay home, I will be letting women down EVERYWHERE. That seems harsh.
So I have a hard time saying I am a feminist without quickly defining what I see feminism to be. I believe woman should have access to the same opportunities as men. I believe that everyone has the right to better themselves through education. I believe that women should be valued for their contributions to society (whether at home or at work) and not by how large their paycheck is.
And sometimes I like wearing dresses and I really like bras. . . though I prefer tennis shoes to high heels anyday! ;)
Now I'm going to go get me some swirl soft-serve ice cream. Yum!

Flo said...

i.love.your.ideas
You are one out-of-the-mold mormon and I think it's great.

L.Maughan said...

The expert feminist in my life is a punk rock singing anarchist that I taught and saw baptized when I was a missionary. (I find her my expert because she actually DOES thing about her beliefs to bring about change).
I learned so much from her because she saw the world in such a different way. Since knowing her I have been more careful about the stipulations I put on myself and others...but that isn't really my point.
My friend, with her completely unique atypical background (would you feel unique as a vegan, Mohawk sporting, tattoo displaying woman in an lds church?) found friendship with MANY of the woman in the church because they WERE feminist.
Perhaps many of you run into the few who get freaked out with the word, but the church is not (Now) the brewing grounds for anti-feminism.
Going to relief society and sitting between well known political journalist and a homemaker of six kids who just so happen to be best friends always made me feel more empowered as a woman and in my own contribution whatever it may be.
Good conversation though. I liked your thoughts and I also liked Pooh's. (I forget that the word feminism has undergone generational transformations!)

Mrs. Clark said...

You've made the definitive argument. Thanks!

Pooh said...

Elise:

As far as Mormons who are "anti-feminist," I think you will find, if you ask them, that their idea of feminism is bred from experiences like my mother's. I HIGHLY doubt that they believe that women are inferior and should be treated as such vis-a-vis paycheck and promotions, or that they believe women should be denied education or other opportunities to improve themselves. Those "anti-feminist" Mormons you speak of most likely just feel they are defending the values they hold dear because in the 1970's, feminism = anti-family, anti-morality/chastity, anti-religion, etc. But I suggest you ask them, with an open mind, realizing the generational differences I spoke of earlier.

Rynell said...

We speak the same language.

Brooke said...

Two thoughts:

I'm really glad I didn't live in the 1970's. But I'm kind of jealous I wasn't around to see the change.

I thought I was cool stuff because I was a woman and going to law school ... specifically BYU law school .. a program funded by a church that some have characterized as being anti-feminist. Then I got here. Half of my classmates are women. Many of the faculty are women and, while I don't have hard proof, I have a hard time believing their pay is any lower than that of their male colleagues. Professors are referred to by their accomplishments, not their gender or gender-based characteristics (i.e. you never hear someone say "She's such a sweet lady." They say "She clerked for the Supreme Court.") They are also working moms. So it turns out I'm not that unique or that cool and I haven't been for about a generation and a half. Thank goodness! I'm old news and I think that's pretty neat. Fantastic society could come that far in just a few decades.

P.S. Thoughts for future posts ... what's the difference between feminine and domestic?

Nicole said...

I've been really lurky and not very comment-y lately, but I loved this post.

My grandfather, whom I love dearly, still uses the phrase "femi-nazi" (thanks again, Rush D-bag), but I like to tell myself that he is referring to the same kind of stuff Chrysta (Pooh) commented about. It really must just mean something different to different generations, because for all his talk, my grandpa pushed all 4 girls to get as much education as we could. He likes that our husbands cook and clean and change diapers. And he has nothing but words of encouragement for me when I talk about what I'm going to do (career-wise) in another 2 years when my kids are all in school full time.

In any case, I am grateful for the change that seems to have taken place in many minds in regards to what it means to be a woman (specifically, that you can be whatever you darn well please).

I also have to say that I think you CAN have it all, just not at the same time. I have good friends from high school/college who struggle with putting their kids in full time daycare who feel like they are "missing it", and friends who stay at home and feel isolated and worthless while they watch other women go off to work everyday. My mother in law, however, stayed at home with 3 kids for 10 years and then went back to school to become an occupational therapist. She now manages an entire rehab clinic in Seattle and makes more than her architect husband. I love that part.

I'm not saying her path/decisions were any better than anyone else's, but it does seem to me that she got the best of both worlds (and a husband who does dishes to boot).