Feminism is definitely a different topic for this blog but it’s one that needs more discussion. I’ve been thinking about it for over 20 years because of a book I read for a college sociology class. In a nut shell, the author put the “weaker feminine” traits on men (“menwim”) and the “stronger masculine” traits on women (“wim”). I think she was trying to prove that women are equal to men, but really all she proved was that even women find the masculine traits strong and feminine traits weak. (Yes, the author was a woman.) I took offense to that but didn’t have the vocabulary or life experience to really put a voice to the issue. Now I do.
Fast forward to the present and the critics panning Mom’s Night Out, a Christian comedy about 4 women who want what every woman wants, stay-at-home or not, a night out. One critic is aghast that one of the characters (Allison) doesn’t just “hire a nanny, get a job and get out of the house” (Taylor, 2014). I wonder if this critic has ever felt like “getting out of the office.” Her advice concerning this character would be akin to a house-wife telling her when she doesn’t want to go to work “to get married, have kids, and stay home.”
Feminism frustrates me. I’ve always felt like we are supposed to despise the aggression and assertiveness of men while at the same time replacing our nurturing/caring compulsions with those very things we are supposed to despise. We are looked down on if we stay home with our children (one critic said Allison was “dreaming small” by wanting to stay home (Kang, 2014)), and only slightly less despised if we look after other people’s children. Some of the lowest paid jobs in America are those things associated with traditionally feminine traits, such as childcare workers (motherhood) and maids (keeping house). Even nurses are less respected than doctors. Nurses nurture their patients, but that’s not something people should aspire to. Instead, women are told they should aspire to “more,” should aspire to powerful positions (again, Kang says that a “lack of profession consigns [Allison to] Eisenhower-esque irrelevance” (2014)) , not something “lowly” like those “girls’ jobs,” or, (gasp!) motherhood alone.
Feminism has not elevated women or femininity. Instead it has brought an age of women against women, women against themselves, men against themselves, and women and men against each other. Feminism tells us that we must deny our femininity and embrace masculinity while at the same time disparaging masculinity. How much more confusing can we possibly get? It’s time for women to embrace our femininity. I am not “all girl” by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a girl. At 43 I am finally willing to embrace all that entails. I like nurturing my children and my husband. I like taking care of my home. I hate cooking, but I love to write, study, teach and preach. I am quite capable of carrying my own firewood, but I like it when my “big, strong man” does it for me. I like action/adventure movies and can’t stand chick-flicks. I’m me, but I’m a girl and that’s not an insult. I’m emotional, hormonal, logical, soft, and little tough. I am everything that makes me a girl and that makes me Dawn Marie.
And I don’t want to pay someone to raise my children while I get a job to get out of the house and feel “relevant.” I just want one night out.