Tuesday, September 9, 2008

feminist?


With the recent Sarah Palin selection, there has been a lot of talk about "feminism", a renewed interest and debate. I'm not even sure what it means anymore, it's gotten so confusing. I have always defined myself as "feminist with a small f." To me that meant of course I believe in women's rights, am staunchly pro-choice, appreciate the women who have paved the way before me which allow me to have the freedoms I now enjoy. I am horrified by the injustices and abuse of women everywhere, and in my small way help whenever I can. I raised three girls to become strong women who grew up believing that they were just as good as any boy and could do and become anything they wanted.

However, I am not a member of NOW, though I have dear friends who are and I admire and respect them for it. I don't subscribe to Ms magazine and I have no desire to burn my bras. I like for men to open doors for me and am not above using my "feminine wiles" to get what I want on occasion. I love make-up and sexy lingerie, pin-ups and yes, even Playboy. I believe that whenever possible one parent should stay home and raise their children and in my family I was the best qualified for the job, so that's what I did for 15 years. I love being home, cooking and baking and decorating gives me a feeling of satisfaction that's never been replicated in the office. For me, it's truly where I belong and if I was able to I'd stop working again tomorrow, return to hearth and home where I feel the most content.

When Kali was in high school she became the president of a "feminist" club called AWE - Appreciating Women Everywhere. I was incredibly proud of her, and stunned when she invited me to be a guest speaker at one of their meetings. What? Me? A homemaker who helps her husband run a small business? Me, the mom whose biggest contribution toward feminism is the baking of cookies and cupcakes for your meetings? Yes, she said, assuring me that I was most certainly a "feminist" because I stood for what it really meant: Choice. We women have choices now - to stay home and raise our families full time, to work outside the home, or a combination of both as I was doing. Wow. I had never really thought of it that way, but when I sat nervously before that group of teenage girls as they threw questions at me, I felt....proud. Admired. Strong. And every bit a feminist... with a small f. And that works just fine for me.




p.s.In case you didn't recognize her, the pic above is of Ms. Gloria Steinem, from her brief days working "undercover" as a Playboy Bunny.

8 comments:

Deb said...

Great post, well-written! I agree whole heartedly with all points - and choice is what it is all about!

Susan said...

Hey, M ~

Great post - as I continued to read, the words "choice, choice, choice" were echoing in my head... and that's exactly where you were going!

I'm a self-admitted Feminist with a Capital F probably because I'm a decade older than you and worked hard (on the protest lines, in the voting booth, etc.) to make sure many of these choices came to fruition - I'm forever grateful to those who came before *me*...

Many people don't remember when there were actually Help Wanted Male and Help Wanted Female ads in the newspaper... and when flight attendants had to quit when they got married - yikes!

Love the following song by Ani DiFranco, which describes it all so much better than I could - "the coolest f-word ever" indeed... :-)

http://www.danah.org/Ani/EducatedGuess/GrandCanyon.html

Jen said...

Great post! I love that feminism has moved on--the later stages are more about allowing women to be supported by society for their choices--whether at home or in the work force.

Rapunzel said...

Thank you, Deb! That word, over & over: Choice. It surely is what it's all about!

Rapunzel said...

Susan, you know that you have been such an inspiration to me in such matters, remember the day I read the Feminine Mystique? I showed up at your doorstep and threw the book across the room, I was so enraged! LOL Good times. :-)

Rapunzel said...

Jen, I agree! I watch carefully as my daughter begins the process of balancing career & marriage, and as she ponders what will happen when she and her husband start a family. It'll be interesting to see this new generation handles it, you know?

Helena S. said...

Interesting post. Yes, feminism can be very confusing. I consider myself a feminist but if I try to talk to one I usually end up having an argument or rolling my eyes. There are many different kind of feminists out there.

But Sarah Palin scares the hell out of me. Every time I see that Miss Alaska smile I think I see the Devil smirking behind it. How on earth can a civilized person deny the facts about global warming? And how can she judge rape victims for having abortions?

What do you think of her?

Rapunzel said...

Helena, though I admit to being rather uninformed on politics in general and Ms. Palin specifically, what I do know scares the hell out of me as well. I am usually a "one issue voter" and in this case she definitely lost me due to the aerial wolf hunts in Alaska. Sickens me and infuriates me, can't imagine what other havoc she'll allow to be wreaked upon the earth. :-/