Man, it has been a while since I’ve written anything “for fun.” I recently turned in my last ever undergraduate paper for my Gender Studies degree and I am acclimating to being done with school. It’s a weird sensation and I could probably talk about it for quite some time.
However, today I have something specific that I want to talk about. This has nothing to do with school (although I will mention that I am almost officially graduated!), my new job (again, I will mention that it is going phenomenally well), or how weird I feel that Nathan is starting school on Saturday and I am not.
What I actually want to talk about relates to what I did on August 11th. I spent this particular Saturday in the great north woods of Minnesota with my mom. Some friends of ours were in Canada for a powwow and they generously allowed my mom and I to come out, pick all their ripe green beans, can them, and take them home. I also made my first jar of pickles! (I’ll let you know how they taste after I open the jar, hehe.)
The reason I want to talk about this is because of a conversation we had while we were standing there at the sink. I was rinsing the green beans and my mom was stuffing them in jars, waiting to be processed. I made the comment that canning was such a uniquely womanly thing and I really loved being able to do it with her. My mom responded by saying that this is what she though feminists were really missing out on. As I thought about this, I carefully considered what I would say. After all, I am a feminist and I am also really enjoying canning with my mom.
Throughout the day up to this point we had been talking about how second wave feminism seemed to be filled with anger toward “the man.” While much of this anger was completely justified the movement also alienated a lot of women who were proud of the work they were doing at home as mothers. In many ways, second wave feminism hurt the very women it sought to help. And while it also did a lot of great things (I really appreciate being able to open my own checking account) it also did some less great things.
My response was that while I agreed with her about what she was saying earlier in the day, I thought that the women’s movement was constantly changing. Today, there are all different types of women speaking their piece about feminism. Part of that is due to the internet where everyone can have their voices heard. Part of that is because many women who many not have been empowered to say anything were empowered because of the women’s movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. And that a huge part of that change is that today, women can identify as feminists and enjoy canning because we realized that feminism is truly about choice. If you feel strongly about staying home and have that ability you should be able to do so. If you feel strongly, or need, to work outside the home you should be able to do so. These choices, and many others, need to be accommodated by society through equality all around. Women who work outside the home receive a child care tax credit. I feel that women who stay home with their children should receive the same tax credit.
These are just examples. To sum it all up, I am grateful that feminism has changed to accommodate the needs of many people and not simply a select group. I know we still have a long way to go but I feel we are making progress in the right direction.