Avoiding Crisis

more thoughts on feminism and why maybe I’m not a feminist anymore. shhhh, don’t tell barnard. they may take my diploma away.

with 12 comments

Warning: The inner workings of my sometimes marvelous, though, more often, fucked up mind are no where near logical and/or organized.  In other words, what follows may just seem like huge mess of random thoughts.  I’d tackle this in a different way if I knew how, but I don’t. So that while I can’t promise that this will make any sense, I can almost guarantee it to be thought provoking and maybe, for some, polarizing.

The other day I had planned on writing something meaningful about it having been International Women’s Day (IWD), but instead, I only came up with this.  I guess I could have blogged against sexism had I paid attention to the fact that it was blog against sexism day.  I’m still quite disappointed about it. No, not that I didn’t blog against sexism that is, but that I didn’t write anything meaningful on March 8th.  Made worse, of course, by the fact that I had come up with some great stuff earlier in the day but I just couldn’t get it out of my head and on to paper, it got stuck along side 50 other ideas that I’m working on.  (Did I ever tell you that I think way too much?) 

And that’s the dilemma I’m having these days.  Taking on this whole project of self exploration and self discovery and writing about it has been on the one hand really cathartic and on the other hand quite stressful.   What I’ve come to realize recently is that I have SO many issues just piled up inside me that I either A) haven’t really dealt with, or B) have dealt with but are holding on to for some unknown reason.  (For that second point, I should really reread this.) 

It’s amazing how the brain works.  Smells, images, sounds, particular words, they all conjure up memories.  Some good, some neutral, others painful.  You just never know what will float to the surface.  

So here’s what’s risen to the top most recently: feminism.  You see, the other day, having been IWD, I got to thinking a lot about feminism and my own feelings and issues on the topic.  

There was once a time when I would have considered myself a feminist, without a doubt.  Today, I’m not so sure if that label applies to me.  Actually, I’m not so sure what that word even means anymore, but that’s another topic all together.

When I was in high school people thought it amusing to call me a feminazi.  I was outspoken about my views on women’s rights, I did not hide it.  I gladly took on projects and assignments that flexed my feminist muscle.  As a senior I even wrote a paper on the negative effect of Barbie on a young girl’s self image.  I didn’t mind being labeled a feminist, I actually embraced it. (I didn’t like the term feminazi however, but what could I do? We’re talking about teenagers here.) 

I went to college.  I took classes in women’s studies, I read Charlotte Perkins Gilman, bell hooks, Andrea Dworkin.  I studied the lives of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Margaret Sanger.  I knew what the women at Senaca Falls had started and I knew what Betty Friedan fought for.  I knew all of these things and more.  I got it, I saw where I fit in.  I thought I would go out and  conquer the world, break the glass ceiling, show everyone how my gender would not set me apart from others.   That I was just as capable as any guy.  That I would be successful, a trailblazer, a pioneer.  A fighter for a cause.

Slight problem.  At the end of the day, when I ventured out into the real world, there was no cause.  Yes, there was and still is the constant debate over abortion, but I don’t see this as much a feminist issue as a political one. (Go ahead, argue with me on that one if you want, but it’s just how I see it these days.)  And no, women have not achieved equality.  Still, I couldn’t find a cause worth fighting for, at least not one that I could relate to and be passionate about.   

A generation of women had fought before me to create a landscape in which I could do anything I wanted to.  Now, it was up to me.  I didn’t experience gender bias or blatant sexism.  No one told me I couldn’t do something because I was female.  In my world — and yes, I’ll be the first to admit, it is a somewhat privileged white middle class world — all seemed pretty darn good.  I still considered myself a feminist.  I think. 

The second wave feminist movement succeeded in giving my generation something very important – choice.  And I’m not talking about choice with regards to abortion.  Choice with regards to almost everything.  My mother’s generation fought and paved the way for the next generation of women to follow.  We don’t have to fight the same battles, we don’t have to prove our worth in classrooms or in boardrooms the same way they did.  In fact, we don’t have to fight at all if we don’t want to.  We are a generation of women who have the luxury of being able to choose to have a career, to be a wife, a mother or any combination of these roles.  And I am grateful for these women for giving me the ability to choose.  

So what’s the problem?  

Here’s the thing, I grew up reading and learning about the trials and tribulations of the second wave feminists.  The rhetoric of the fight and the struggle.  I incorporated that into my psyche.  It became part of me.  So much so that upon making my own choice to get married at a young age, have children right away and put my own career on hold to follow that of my husband’s kicked off an internal struggle that to this day rages on inside me.  How could I be a feminist after choosing to be a wife and mother above all else? 

To this, I do not have an answer.  Only more questions. 

Why, tell me, do I feel like I’ve let my mother’s generation down?  That I’ve let my mother down? That I’ve let myself down?  That I’m setting a poor example for my daughter? 

In the end, though, I must remember, feminist or not, today, I am a mother and a wife.  And right now that’s what matters most.  Is that so wrong?


Written by nicolemarie

March 11, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Posted in feminism, life

12 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Let me share something with you. For the longest time, the current chair of the Board of Trustees of your alma mater had a magnet on her fridge that read, “My name is not Mom.” Shortly before her youngest went off to college she ended a column with the words: “My name is Mom.” The fact that she has raised three terrific kids and nurtured a 30 year marriage are the things she’s probably proudest of. She gave me the best advice I ever heard on this subject; “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time.” The best thing that a smart talented mother and wife like you can do to keep faith with the women who came before her is to identify yourself as a feminist.


    March 11, 2007 at 11:35 pm

  2. You have to choose the best thing for yourself and your family and that isn’t wrong.

    I struggle with my own thoughts on this subject. I am a SAHM and have been for 5 years. But honestly, I don’t think it was the right choice for me. I know far too many SAHMs that feel as if they’ve lost themselves. I’ll take the magnet that says, my name is not mom.

    You’re right we have so many choices now as women, but we have to talk about the consequences of those choices too. I would not advise my own daughter to follow in my footsteps.


    March 12, 2007 at 11:09 am

  3. This will always be a conundrum faced by women who decide to become mothers.
    I suspect it is the isolation that SAHMs experience that creates so much difficulty for them. My own experience was another however, I worked as a professional from the time of my son’s toddlerhood. The main feelings that I had experienced was the sense of loss in not being the first to witness my child’s development milestones, and to not be there for him consistently when he may have found my presence to be necessary and conducive for his need for security.
    Choice is a blessing as well as a curse.


    March 12, 2007 at 12:52 pm

  4. Suburbanlife, You put it well when you say “choice is a blessing as well as a curse.” On the one hand, I feel very fortunate to be able to be a SAHM and not miss out on any of those milestones and yet on the other I feel like there is an entire life out there (outside of my house and away from my kids) that I’m missing out on. But this is just how it’s going to be, I guess.


    March 12, 2007 at 10:42 pm

  5. I go to see everyday some web pages and sites to read articles, but this blog
    offers feature based content.


    April 25, 2013 at 3:13 am

  6. This article will assist the internet users for building up new blog or even
    a blog from start to end.

    andrographis herpes

    May 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm

  7. This article is genuinely a pleasant one it assists new the web
    visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  8. I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this info for my mission.

    body photographs

    July 21, 2013 at 5:24 am

  9. Restrict your flirting to your crush so they don’t get confused. Crush particles in the equipment or perhaps the regular way – inside of a big, hefty-work resealable tote. Just as in other addictions, conquering the beast takes information, a well-developed plan, support and a whole lot of tenacity.

    Candy Crush

    July 24, 2013 at 12:42 am

  10. Hey! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to
    take a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this
    to my followers! Terrific blog and great design and style.

    mortgage modification

    August 5, 2013 at 2:54 am

  11. When someone writes an article he/she keeps the thought of a user in his/her brain that how a user
    can understand it. So that’s why this piece of writing is outstdanding. Thanks!

    Mortgage Modification

    August 5, 2013 at 5:57 am

  12. Thanks for finally writing about >more thoughts on feminism and
    why maybe Im not a feminist anymore. shhhh, dont
    tell barnard. they may take my diploma away. | Avoiding Crisis <Loved it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: