Feminist is not synonymous with Bitch.

I was going to post today about my crocheted pillow cover. But instead I got drawn into a Facebook battle (isn’t that always the way?) that I’m having a hard time getting off my mind. I guess the pillow can wait. 

It started innocently enough. A friend of mine posted a video on facebook this morning with a note about how this is something she spends a lot of time worrying about. She isn’t even married yet and she is still in grad school, but she spends a lot of time worrying about how she is going to do it all. How she can be a rockstar in her chosen field (construction) and also raise a healthy and happy family. The video wasn’t about accommodations, it was about what we as women can do to not undervalue ourselves. To believe that we CAN have both, and we are not “less than” because we are women. 

But the first thing that struck me was that my friend started her comment on this video with “I don’t consider myself a feminist but…”

And it struck me because it is something I’ve said myself. Many times. Because feminists are those women. The angry man-hating bra burning bitches. We don’t want to be that woman. We don’t want to make excuses or complain because we don’t want to be seen as weak or not team players. 

And then a guy, who to be honest I dislike as a person anyways, commented on her post saying essentially that this was a frivolous problem to worry about and the only way that women will ever be equal is if they start getting weekly injections of testosterone (ha ha ha). Except I didn’t think it was funny, I thought it was rude. And kind of exactly the crux of the problem so many women have with work/life balance: It’s a punch line. 

And then I called him a douche. Which was not my finest moment. But damn if it didn’t feel good (since I’m being honest here). I don’t usually (really ALMOST never) resort to name-calling over passionate and respectful discourse, but I didn’t care about him enough to lead him through the error of his ways and every once in a blue moon being really inappropriate and juvenile is sort of an indulgence. 

Still, this topic of feminism has been rattling around in my brain for the last few hours and I’ve realized a few things… primarily how complicated this whole topic is. Here are (some of) the things I don’t know, or haven’t decided about yet: 

  • Can women really have it all? Can we give of ourselves fully and fairly to our chosen career and also have enough time at home with our kids? 
  • Is it fair to our kids if we do? Does the example we’d be setting for them as not just mothers but also strong women cancel out the lack of time we would have for them?
  • Should accommodations be made so that people (both men and women) could have more time with their families and not pay for that privilege with the foreclosure of their career advancement options? 
  • Would it be unfair to those who choose not to have families to make such accommodations? 
  • Should women try harder to play in a “man’s world”? Or should we fight harder to change the world we live in? 

And quite honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know that I’ll ever have to find out because I’m lucky that my personal career aspirations are not so ambitious to WANT to become the partner of a large law firm or the CEO of a company. And not just because I think I’d want more time at home with my eventual children, should I choose to have them, but because I don’t personally have the sort of ambition or demeanor that craves that brand of success. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think women who DO want that sort of success should have to give it up if they also want children. And here are the things I DO know: 

  • Asking questions is good. Discussing this is good. Recognizing it as a complicated issue that needs to be acknowledged and debated is good. It does not lessen us, it does not make us weak, and it does not make us whiners.
  • Some men will insist on minimizing the issue. They are douches. Ignore them. (But probably don’t call them that out loud).
  • The definition of feminism is believing in equal rights, opportunities, and respect for women. It has nothing to do with hating men. 
  • Being a feminist does not mean being a bitch. It is not a pejorative term. It is a badge we all (men and women) should wear proudly. 

So, that is my soap box for the day. Stay tuned for crafty yarn-works tomorrow! 

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2 thoughts on “Feminist is not synonymous with Bitch.

  1. With the current model in this country it is impossible to have it all. We have one of the worst maternity policies of the developed countries worldwide. Until we develop a system more like Canada, France, Switzerland, etc, I think that it would be damn near impossible to have a family and work life that is balanced. Have you seen this article? http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/

    It was recently sent out through work and I was really happy that we are starting to have these discussions but I just wish that there was more change actually happening rather than just talk. At least something is happening.

  2. Thanks for the link Amanda! I read part of it, very interesting. And I agree. I don’t think that America really values family at all. Wanting to spend time with your family (for either a man or woman) = lazy/unambitious. It’s really sad.

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