The F-Word and Me

The F-Word and MeFeminism.? That one word holds enough weight to tip over the world, but what does it mean?? The connotations of feminism run the gambit, but the word, the movement, always elicits an emotion.? Many men (and women too) think that feminism is about hating men, but that just isn?t true.? Feminism is about equality between the sexes.? Not that we are the same, but that our differences don?t make women less than men.

Now, many people may question my belief in feminism because I?m a stay-at-home mom.? Of course, those would be the people who do not know me.? I chose to stay home with my children because I wanted to be the one to raise them, I couldn?t stand the thought of leaving them, and it felt like the right thing for me to do.? I was lucky and blessed enough that my husband made enough money for me to make that choice.? Notice the use of the word choice.? That is a large part of what feminism means to me; women have the right to choose whether they want to stay home solely to raise a family or balance family and work outside of the home. ?They?shouldn’t?be forced to stay home as if it?s the woman?s place to be nothing more than a brood mare, housekeeper, cook, and nanny.? ?I also believe that men should have that same choice, whether to work outside the home or stay home to raise the kids if that is a better option.?? There shouldn?t be a stigma attached to the male who is the primary caregiver any more than the stay-at-home mom.

My children are growing up in a household where men and women are equal.? My husband is just as likely as I am to load the dishwasher, and I?ve been known to take out the trash.? Now, he IS the master spider killer, but I mean, come on!? Have you ever seen a spider?? Those suckers are creepy!? And I?m not taking any chances that it?s going to touch me with its disturbing little legs.

My son and daughter are not treated differently because of their genders.? My son helps me bake cookies just as much as my daughter does.? However, they are treated differently because of their ages and preferences.? I didn?t blink an eye when my son wanted to play with dolls as a toddler.? I got him his own so he wouldn?t fight with his cousins over their ?babies?.? My son loves other kids and, at almost 7, he is the best at playing with his younger cousins and any babies that are around.? He gave up playing with dolls and now plays baseball and loves throwing the football.? I bought my daughter cars and trucks as well as dolls; she just prefers the dolls.? She also prefers to dress up like a princess and walk around in what she calls ?high shoes?.? But she plays in the dirt and is twice as likely to be caught fighting as my son.

Parenting as a Feminist isn?t all that difficult for me.? In fact, I?ve never really thought about it that way.? I do my best for my kids and treat them as equally as I can when there?s a three-and-a half years difference in their ages.? They see their father and me sharing chores and making decisions together.? I?ve had to correct some of my husband?s phrases from time to time, mostly when he says something is for girls.? I?ve also had to voice my opinion when the t-ball coach says something about hitting or throwing like a girl.

Feminism isn?t a bad word.? Equality is the key.? We should treat people as people and not as gender stereotypes.? Both our sons and daughters need to be strong, self-sufficient, and know that if you need to cry, it?s OK to do so.?? We aren?t all the same in this world, but we should all have the same opportunities.? We should be allowed to be who we are meant to be without fear of judgment.? We all need to use our hands to help each other up, not hold anyone down.


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2 Responses to The F-Word and Me

  1. kristinherdy March 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    I really liked what you said about giving your children a choice from the get-go. I’m raising two daughters, but the variety of play available to them knows no gender lines, and I wouldn’t want it to. I don’t nod approvingly when they choose the “right” toy or try to steer them toward a certain aisle in the store.

    I hope and pray that they find their course and stick with it, but for now, exploration is key.

  2. Melinda March 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Thank you, Kristin! I agree wholeheartedly with you about exploration. Kids need to find out for themselves who they are and how can they do that if we limit their possibilities?

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