I love to be feminine. I love everything girly and soft and pretty.
But lately I've been wondering if I am a feminist.
These thoughts have been triggered by a group of Mormon feminists who want equality and respect and even want to be able to wear pants to church, dang it! I have also been reading a lot of C Jane, who is one of my favorite Mormon bloggers, and she pushes feminism so strongly that it makes my uterus start to hurt.
If I were being totally honest with you I would have to admit that I don't much know what it means to be a feminist except for that you don't think men are any better than woman. I'll agree with that! Men are great. But there isn't much in this world that I would trust a man to do over a woman.
Growing up, there were some clear gender roles in my family. I remember being frustrated when my mom would call downstairs for me to come up and help with dinner while my brother was sitting on the couch watching TV right next to her. Couldn't she see I was busy? Why couldn't Reed help her if he wasn't doing anything? But it had to be me because I was the girl.
Once I explained these frustrations to Reed. He said to me, "Bonnie. Does dad ever make you chop wood?"
"When it's cold downstairs does he make you build a fire or does he come find me to do it?"
"Uh... I guess you..."
"And how many times did you mow the lawn last summer?"
Yes. The point was proven. Although clearly not the point that Reed meant to prove. He was trying to prove to me that he did just as much work to help out around the house, if not more, than I did. What he didn't mean to prove was that there were clearly defined gender roles in my family. I would have liked to have built a fire. I really would have. And Reed probably wouldn't have minded stirring the soup. But my mom didn't look to him to do that and my dad certainly didn't trust me to build a fire.
So then it's true. I am a feminist.
Now. People could argue that there are just some things that men are better at and there are just some things that women are better at. I don't know if I totally agree. I get a lot of satisfaction from my job. I enjoy working outside the home. I feel fulfilled by my work. Part of my fears of having a baby are that I will miss working outside of the home. I don't feel like I am a natural nurturer. Truthfully, Hubs is the much better nurturer in our relationship. He loves animals and babies and gives his love freely to any who will take it. I, on the other hand, turn up my nose and am bothered by anybody who is too needy or craves abundant affection and care.
I'm not really sure what any of that means. What I do know is that sometimes I feel like people feel bad for me because I work full time- like a woman shouldn't have to do that. I don't think that's right that they do that. They don't realize that I enjoy it and get so much satisfaction from it. Sometimes people look down on a man for being sensitive or tender and I don't think that's right either. Why must we have men roles and women roles?
In the same breath... I have no desire to join in on this little crusade and wear pants to church on Sunday. I don't need to wear pants to demand respect or to say I want to be treated as equal. A dress does not take away my power or respect.
So then it's settled. I want to wear a dress to church on Sunday. I am not a feminist.
But wait. What about this? I am currently harassing the administration for more women in leadership roles at my school. Our student government has two advisers- traditionally it has been a man and a woman. The woman currently in the position is leaving next year and they have just this week replaced her with a man. I am upset. I do not feel two men should do that job. Thus, I sent the following letter to my male principal, the male student government advisors, the three male vice principals... and the one female vice principal.
To whom it may concern,
I have heard through the grapevine that Mr. Aber has been chosen as the new student government adviser to replace Miss Vee. I am troubled that there wasn't an effort made to get a woman in that role. Our administration is made up of almost entirely men, and I feel that as far as leadership in our school goes, women are under represented. I would have loved to see a woman fill the hole that Miss Vee will be leaving. I have no doubt that Mr. Aber is capable of functioning in his new position, but the ideas and influence that a woman can have on such a group is entirely different than that of a man. As Mr. Rancy is currently representing the men by functioning as a student government adviser, it seems fair to me to at least try to fill the other role with a woman.
So yah. There was that. I am a feminist now?
I realize this post makes little to no sense. I think it is stupid to wear pants to church but I also think it is stupid to assume the woman is the best nurturer in the family. I think a woman should enjoy feeling pretty and dolled up, but I also believe an effort should be made to get more women in strong leadership positions. I believe men and women are totally the same and totally different. I believe a woman should be able to work full time and support her family if she wants and the man should be able to cook dinner and change diapers if he wants. I love celebrating my femininity- trying on new clothes and dressing up in high heels and donning bright lipsticks. But I also like to engage in intelligent conversations and be involved in politics and in making important decisions.
I want to be treated like a woman and in the same breath, I wanted to be treated like a man.
Figure that one out for me, will ya?