“It’s like I’ve been kicked out of the feminist club.”
By definition feminism is the belief in equality for both sexes. It’s the belief that women and men are created equal. As a feminist, I believe women should be given equal rights in all aspects—personally, professionally, everything. We should not be judge based on our sex. But in this day and age it seems that feminism has taken a turn. Most women of today feel in order to be a feminist, women need to ignore their femininity. We must not play into the stereotypical roles that for so many years were forced upon us. For instance, a women should not be a house wife or just a stay at home mom. We need to be more than that. We need to be career driven, educated, and we need to be business women. In order to be empowered and independent, we must abandon the the box we were put in. We are more than wives and mothers. We can do way more than cook and clean up after our families. And, I believe in that very much. We are very capable of achieving just as much as a any man, if we so chose to. But we can still be feminists no matter which of the two we choose. Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom, a house wife, or something in between, that’s our right.
I have faced a lot of criticism for becoming a stay at home mom or a house wife, depending on your choice of title. It’s like I’ve been kicked out of the feminist club. Before I made the decision to become a stay at home mom I graduated from college, had a job, and was on my way to having the career of my dreams. I too, was raised to avoid stereotypical roles for women. It was never my intention to be a stay at home mom or a house wife but it was really difficult to find balance between family and work. In our society it sometime feels like we must choose between the two. I was very career driven and was a business owner right before I found out I was pregnant. I worked demanding hours.
I had a rough pregnancy and ultimately I decided to put all of that on hold because I wanted to take care of myself and my daughter. I believe true feminism is having that choice. Feminism is having the right to chose what we want to do, where we want to work, what kind of careers we want to have, and what roles we want to play, and not being told “no” based on our sex. But on the other hand, I shouldn’t be fearful when choosing between paths as if I am sabotaging all the strides that women have made, if I choose something “too feminine”, like a secretary, a maid, a house wife, or like me, a stay at home mom.
As of right now, I guess you can say I play into the stereotypical role of a house wife, I am the one that does most of the cooking and cleaning and I care for my daughter. It may sound like a 1950’s nightmare to some, but it works for me. Yet, I have been judged harshly for living like this. People assume I am lazy, unmotivated, naive, or weak. People assume I’m uneducated, unsuccessful, and powerless. Or that I’ve given up my rights or my voice, that I have been silenced. We are sold this dream that we must have it all–the career and the family, not one or the other. Being a stay at home mom or a housewife is seen as me taking a huge step down.
“I may not be “bringing home the bacon” but someone has to cook it. And I’m totally fine with that being me at the moment.”
I’m not asking to be praised. I know many women cannot stay home with their children for financial reasons or perhaps because they simply don’t want to. That’s their right. Just as it’s my right to choose this lifestyle that works best for me and my family. One day perhaps, I will return to my career and I will continue on that path. But as of right now I’m focused on my family.
I don’t lay around all day. I’m constantly on my feet. I’m never alone and I never get a break. My office is the bathroom and I’m always on duty. I’m a chef, a maid, a nanny, and a secretary just to name a few, I wear many hats. I may not be “bringing home the bacon” but someone has to cook it. And I’m totally fine with that being me at the moment. I may not be taking advantage of all of my career opportunities but I believe I can always do that, later. I will fight for women to have the right to be whatever they want to be. And part of that fight is allowing us to be whatever we so chose.
A woman’s strength is not determined by her career title or the degrees she has. We should not measure how much of a feminist a woman is based on how far up the corporate ladder she’s willing to climb or how much she deviates from stereotypical roles that women are told to play in our society. Feminism is the idea that women have the same rights as a man if she chooses to do so, not that she needs to abandon her position as a mother or wife, or whatever is “too feminine”.
Just as we should not be told to choose from a small list of careers or lifestyles because of our sex, we should not be told to avoid certain lifestyles in spite of it either.