Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What's that you said?

This post has been running through my head now for several weeks.  To be honest I thought I had already written it....upon further investigation I have not.  There was a bit about it here, but today I want to talk frankly and openly about a little topic called feminism.
The movement towards social justice for 52% of the population is always an undercurrent of my writing.  I'm sure if you have read this blog for a while you have noticed it between the lines of what I'm saying, or maybe you haven't and that's what got me thinking that this post was important.  Perhaps I appear to be a blinders on stay-at-home mom, happily making dinner while her man makes the money and abandoning my personal ambitions for the betterment of my family.  Those who know me personally would never assume that, but how can I know for sure what readers (a.k.a strangers for the most part) would conclude?  For the most part I don't care about the perceptions of others but in this case I feel that for the sake of this movement that I consider myself a card carrying member of I must write this post and record for my own historical records where I stand and how I call myself what some would say are two conflicting terms.
"In my second year of University I took a Woman Studies class. I had always been one of those women who said: "I'm not a feminist, but..." I had conformed to the view of feminists that is stereotypical in North America; man hating, angry women. Taking that first Women Studies class changed who I believed myself to be. So much rang true and spoke to the deepest part of my self. And the phrase "The personal is political" made sense to me. The interconnection between all parts of self and how the outside world related back through that. I worked a Women Studies class into each following semester. And the more I read feminist theory the closer I came to the Goddess Spirituality Movement through images of Goddess art. I was pursuing a degree in Fine Art. My art began to reflect my journey. I was re-inventing myself. Stripping away years of society's conditioning to find who I really was."
I wrote that 3 years ago.  I have now been a stay-at-home mom for almost 4 years and I am learning more and more every day that "The personal is political" is so much more than a catch phrase.  I believe that the many thousands of women and men who worked to give me a choice of how to live my life deserve to be honoured and I honour them.  Today feminism is not only needed but is lacking momentum as this documentary chronicles.  My generation and the one just ahead have lapsed into a complacency that startles me.  But there is so much entangled with woman's rights and social justice.  Consumerism, racism, environmentalism, economic woes, religious extremism...it all jumbles together.   Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture contains the closest new decoding of all these things into a cohesive thought for me.  I see my choice today as a radical departure from the mainstream idea of what being an empowered woman means.  It doesn't mean that I have to put my kids in daycare and work for a paycheck to be an equal.  Many of my close friends and family have made that choice and I respect their decisions based on what is right for their families.  Choice is key here.  Single parents don't often have the same range of choices available, in short there are as many ways to raise your family as there are families.  But for us, for me, this life of making a home, being a full time mom and in some capacity making art is what works right now.
Feminism is the means through which this life is possible.  I think of my life as a spectrum of choices.  Today I make my family and the work of maintaining my priority.  5 years from now there will be another dynamic.  Our home life will need more balance between Dave and I as I move towards charting a career.  But for now we work in roles that fall back to a time before feminism offered an alternative choice for women and men's roles.  On the surface they are the same but underneath they are very different and evolving every day.
The need for feminists, women and men who want equal rights and justice is real.  If you happen to fall into the category of persons who say things like:  "Feminism is obsolete," I beg to differ and I offer these oh, so western examples of why that is not true.

Judge rules rape victim's clothes and behavior ease the blame on her attacker

Number of women in Canadian Parliament

Wage gap between men and women

Domestic violence death statistics

For these reasons and countless others I am a feminist.  For the future generations of women and men, for my sons, for my nephew, for the earth, for the millions of people who are treated badly because of their sex, their sexuality, or their choices to live their truth.  If you agree then say so, if you want to change it then do.  Live your truth as a free thinker, an empowered person and a citizen of this earth.

    "The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving."
                  -Gloria Steinem


AlphaBetsy said...

Well said. I agree completely. Keep spreading the love and the passion.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Feminism has become a stereotype and a taboo for so many women now, and yet, in an age when women often equality with sexual liberty, and fail to see how far we still are from true equality... feminism is still very needed. Ok, I won't rant. But I also wanted to add, I don't think staying at home to raise your children makes you unfeminist. I think feminism needs to allow for the different choices we make and allow us to be independent women regardless of our job titles.