A couple of my friends have been blogging anew, and I feel a bit inspired. I also feel inspired by something that I haven't fully defined for myself, and I hope writing about it will help me evaluate my feelings a little more.
Strangely, this has always seemed a little like a dirty word to me - but not for ANY of the reasons that a person would initially think of when someone says something like that.
I'm not at all religious, well that's not quite correct because I have a totally individual view of religion and spirituality. I am horrendously offended by anyone who takes religion lightly - either take it seriously or don't take it, but religion is just not something you should be half-assed about. I consider myself to be very spiritual, I have a GREAT relationship with G-d, and I firmly believe in Spirit and G-d and a lot that goes with that. I also believe that Religion can serve a very powerful purpose in assisting people to build a strong and supportive relationship with their own spirituality. I am so unbelievably okay with people having a completely different spiritual path than me that it's almost comical - I seriously do not care if you blather on about Krishna or Jesus or the Equinox. Only two things are offensive to me - blatant hypocrisy (not accidental, but actually choosing to be a giant douche hypocrite) and proselytizing.
I'm in my 40's - so I'm not so old that feminism is an alien idea.
My mother worked. In fact, my grandmothers and my great-grandmothers worked. Women in my family have for many generations gone to college (or the equivalent). There is not a woman that I am related to that I would think of in any way as being weak or incapable of any task that she set her mind to.
I think it may be part of being "A Woman of the West" - a phrase I have found myself using a lot the past several years. You see, here, in Colorado, (before the Californication of our communities) we don't really judge people based on race, religion, gender, ancestry, etc. In fact, I really only remember people being genuinely looked down upon for a couple of things - not working hard, and judging others. Oh sure, there will be people who disagree - they are probably armed with tales of how they knew someone right here in Colorado who experienced discrimination because of some factor or other. So to be clear - in MY experience, growing up to become, and as the daughter of generations of, a "Woman of the West" - I experienced very little discrimination. My parents had friends of all different classes, faiths, colors, and even gay friends. I can't speak for my siblings, but it never occurred to me that the two gay guys on my dad's bowling team were anything but gay, it also didn't occur to me that it mattered or was actually any different. Eventually, I realized it was pretty cool that my dad hung out with gay guys and my mom had lesbian friends way before most of my other friends' parents would even acknowledge that homosexuality existed. (ps. My parents never spent one breath explaining it - it just was, much like there was just milk in the refrigerator or you had to vacuum carpet). We did grow up in a predominately white, middle class neighborhood - but my parents never batted an eye about going to eat at Daddy Bruce's barbecue or Patsy's Italian Inn or having beers at the Globeville Inn. Again, it just was.
So if Dad was out of town and some "manly" chore needed doing, my mother would either assign one of my brother's to it -- OR one of us girls -- or do it herself. Don't misunderstand, there was definite division of responsibilities in our house that ran along gender lines. Boys seldom did things like clean china closets and hang new drapes and girls seldom did things like wash out trash barrels or repair roofs. However, there was never any question about our capabilities. I have brothers who sew and cook and my sisters and I can work on cars and gut fish.
My mother was glamorous, and feminine, and very ladylike. She also drove race cars, welded, did some masonry projects, was an expert markswoman and angler. I guess we were lucky to grow up like that, but while we were growing up, it never occurred to us that it was any different than anyone else. My aunt's were bad ass - and feminine. The neighbor ladies shoveled snow and pushed cars out of ditches and cleaned and cooked game meat - and they were all lovely lady like women. Aside from one neighbor up the street - who constantly used her womanly wiles (how's that for old fashioned) to get men to do her bidding - I can't think of a single woman on our street that I thought was any different than my mom.
I think that my problem with the word "Feminism" is just this. Why is there even a need for such a word. Can't we enjoy our gender differences and still know that we are all capable of greatness in anything? I wish you could ask my kids or my family or my friends - I'm not just blowing some sort of lala sunshine here - I don't get it - I don't see the need.
My bigger problem is that the word makes people angry.
There is no reason for women to be posting things like 'Raising Daughters in a World that Devalues Them'. You know what devalues our daughters -- constantly fucking focusing on stupid shit like that. Society doesn't give a person their value - that comes from within and is cultivated in the way we treat them as they grow and develop. Stop looking for reasons to hate 'the other' person - and please, please, please stop hating hate. You just give it energy. Just fucking ignore the hate and move on. Don't give it any power or energy by butting up against it. No one ever won a fight with a bear by trying to fight it - they won by getting the fuck away from it and leaving it there wondering what happened. Stop teaching our daughters to feel that they need to "stand up for their rights" - you don't need to stand up for something you already have - just use it. Stop preaching at our sons that "women are their equals" - just fucking act equal - they'll follow along just fine. The only way a three year old boy would ever tell you his mommy "can't" do something is if he already heard it somewhere.
I am a woman, I expect men to hold the door open for me, to walk on the outside of the sidewalk, to stand up when I come to the table, to hold my chair for me, to assist me with my coat, and to make sure I'm safe. I also expect the men in my house to take care of manly chores - the lawn, the car, the structure of the house, the trash, the pest killing, etc.
I can and will change the oil in the car, fix the fence or the roof when needed, kill anything that needs killing, mow the lawn, gut fish, drive fast, drink whiskey, and cuss (probably more than my husband does) - and I might do any of the above wearing a skirt and heels.