Friday, July 11, 2014

Feminism



jane austen
(For those of you who are unsure, yes…this is Jane.  Jane believed that women should be given the opportunity to be independent, self-reliant, and own their own property.  Unfortunately, she had to be satisfied with promoting the ability to choose their own husbands, instead of marrying the person who could best help the family.)

For the record: I chose my own husband.  The rest is debatable.


Lately, there has been a lot of talk in the news regarding the role of women.  Fox News has the “Princeton Mom” espousing the idea that women should spend 75% of their time in college finding a suitable mate, because if you’re single in your mid-thirties, your time is up.  She also wants us to quit being entitled princesses, and start being nicer to our husbands.  She believes that feminism has gone too far.

In a related event, some guy at Fox named Steve says that we should talk softly (but not too much) and wear well-cut jeans and a colorful top in order to please our husbands.  (As opposed to…?  Making him cookies?)

Meanwhile, over at PepsiCo, the female CEO, Indra Nooyi, has made it a point that she doesn’t believe women can have it all.

So, after digesting all this, I have reached the conclusion that NONE of this matters to me.  I found a husband after college, but not long after---I was still cute, and therefore I had a little bit of power.  I am fortunate that he is a nice guy and relatively easy to get along with.  We rarely (and I mean that TRULY—maybe two or three times a year) raise our voices, and a lot of our ‘nagging’ (if you can call it that) is silly and full of humor.  I don’t feel at all entitled, and if I feel like splurging on myself, I use MY money. (Last year I bought the first new car I have ever owned…with MY money.) Could I be a better wife?  Sure…I can think of things that I could improve, but I’m afraid that perfection would intimidate my sweet DL.  So I’m actually doing him a favor by not being perfect.  I will never be a CEO, so I don’t have to worry about having it all, and I wear jeans and shirts when it’s appropriate.  I also wear dress slacks and cardigans and skirts (occasionally) and I own one dress that currently fits. 


None of this matters to me.


But this stuff DOES matter to my daughter.
Does she need to hear that she has lost the opportunity to find a husband because she didn’t find him in college?  If she continues on her career path, will she be giving something up?  Does she have to decide now?  She’s 24, and these things matter.


What message are we sending young women?  ‘Don’t speak your mind, or guys will resent you?’  ‘If you choose a demanding career, be prepared to pay the price?’  ‘Your jeans better fit and your top better be colorful or you’re a loser?’  ‘If you’re not married by 30, you will be a crazy cat lady?’

I can’t believe it’s 2014 and we’re still talking about this.  Every young woman has the right to do what is best for HER…whether it’s marrying at 22 or 42, wearing corduroys or a ball gown, focusing on career or family…can’t we just present all the options and let these young women choose for themselves without making them feel insecure in their choices? 


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The world is your oyster, young lady.  Don’t listen to the naysayers.

20 comments:

  1. I LOVE and ADORE you.

    What WE all need to do is stop allowing the media to be a God. Listen to the voices closest to us, the ones that matter, especially the one within, instead of the current day self-appointed gurus. Your daughter has a mother who ROCKS JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING OUT OF THE BALL PARK!!!!!!!! Lucky girl. :)

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  2. This is such a tricky one! I do believe that women are under more pressure to make decisions early (You want kids? Major in an area with job flexibility. You want the largest selection of good guys? Strike early. You want a career, family, and time for yourself? Don't EVER SLEEP). It's so stressful!! Yet I have no doubt that you have raised a beautiful, intelligent daughter that will rock whatever she wants to rock!

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  3. One of your very best, Kirb. And...you GO, Libby!

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  4. But if she wants to settle down and have kids in Minnesota I'd be happy to have her as the mother of my grand kids. Just saying.

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  5. Somehow I don't think she'll have trouble finding a husband if she wants one. Now she just has to decide if she wants one. :-)

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  6. You said it Kirby! I seem to remember hearing crap like that when I was in my twenties back in the 80's. Some of the times are not a changing. I found a husband and I didn't even go to college. Imagine that. When you're young it can be hard to tune out all the noise coming at you. She should just stay true to herself, and she'll be awesome.

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  7. If you did all the things they say you should do, you are not guaranteed to stay married or keep the good job for life. Much better to develop a good sense of self and learn how to adapt to new situations to have a rewarding life. If it all goes like a fairy tale, great. If you hit some bumps in the road, you'll still be fine. Great post!

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  8. Wow! Fired up for sure. Great post!

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  9. Ha! I married my first husband when I was 21, note the word first. I hope my daughters do whatever makes them happy but honestly I hope they're not considering marriage in college. When I married jules I was 33, I knew who I was and what I wanted out of life, he is my partner not my master. Feminism means different things to different people but for myself I have never been taught to think I'm inferior to men, nor that having children meant I have to give up who I am. However I strongly believe that Fathers play a huge role in a girls self worth and lucky for me mine always believed I could be anything and in turn I believed it too. Personally I think women can have it all but in my experience its very hard to have it all at once. When kid 5 came along I didn't want to give up my career but eventually the time demands, not to mention cost of child care were just too much. Still I can go back once they're all at school again.

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  10. Only a .an would say that being a feminist means you aren't nice to your husband? I say f%&+? Those idiot's. And I can't believe you didn't tell me you got a NEW car! Where's the Volvo?

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  11. Sometimes women can be their own worst enemies.

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  12. I have no doubt that the Libster is a strong woman who knows what she wants and will go after it with the same tenacity that I see in her mother.

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  13. Such a good post. Such good comments. Everyone's path is, and should be unique. I am 53, I've never been married, did not ever feel the urge to have children. Like Mel, my father (and mother) taught me self sufficiency. If I had had children that would have been the primary lesson I would have taught them. I climbed the corporate ladder, reached pretty high, and have now settled into a job with tons of responsibility but in a more relaxed atmosphere. I own my house, have owned a fleet of brand new cars but now drive an 18-year old vehicle that I love because it's cheap and 'new' is unnecessary for my limited usage. I still encounter chauvinism but it's always easily attributed to the ignoramus that's dishing it out, so I try to ignore it. I will get married some day, when it's right for me, when the momentum of life has slowed down and I can enjoy the comradery of a man as stable in his own self worth as I am, and will not require that I wear a colorful shirt if I don't feel like it.
    I believe that feminism is one of the subjects like civil rights, labor unions, and Democrat vs. Republican that have fallen victim to pissing matches between the overzealous of both views. The more reasonable opinions of those in the middle are drowned out. What a shame.

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  14. This is such a sticky wicket, but you have put such a very wise angle on it, and I love that you included your own experiences. The REAL problem, in my humble opinion, is that there are too many boys out there not being raised to be men! Men who LIKE strong women, men who are confident in themselves and their abilities, that they are not intimidated by an outspoken, successful women who chooses not to wear well cut jeans very often. There are too many boy/men walking around because someone's mom/dad did not take enough time to teach them that women are not to be treated as objects, that their opinions matter equally, that it is important that they learn to work hard and be able to support themselves, but also to be confident in the option that their wife could support them financially too. Men/boys are really the problem that there may be too many single women, not the single women themselves. Just my two cents, or probably only worth about a half penny.

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  15. I agree Kirby! I also happen to think FOX news sucks and really shouldn't even be considered "news". You got a new car?????

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  16. Holy crap, I'm THRILLED that my daughter is 22 and not yet married. So many of the girls she went to HS with are already married (I got married young...big mistake). Of course, part of the reason I'm thrilled is because I'm NOT thrilled with her BF. I'd just as soon he get eaten by alligators. I'm so proud that she's so independent and knows what she wants and is going for it, even if people around her think she's nuts (she's going to teach music). Heck, she'll do just fine on her own if she chooses never to get married. And I'd be just fine with that.

    -andi

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    1. PS...I'm quite conservative, but I don't watch Fox News.

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  17. She is 24!!! Who cares! I was a baby when I got married {I tend to exaggerate}. Go travel, take risks, find lifelong girlfriends. Just live your life and the life you were meant to live will follow! Hey, that sounded kinda cool! I hate leaving comments with you Kirby- I know you are an English major! laura

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Your comment makes me feel twenty years younger and thirty pounds lighter!