I don’t usually rant.
If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I avoid confrontation like the plague. But today, I’m ranting. And I’m not sorry.
Yesterday a friend shared this article from Thought Catalog by Amy Glass. Immediately, ALL THE FEELINGS. Damn it. What the hell is she talking about? I tried to see where she was coming from. I am not a “view it from all angles” kind of person by nature, but my husband is and it’s rubbed off. This is as far as I got:
- I get that she’s pushing back against the norm. We’re conditioned culturally to get married and have babies. Usually in that order. And women who choose not to are looked down upon by some people. I hate that, too.
- Second, I wholeheartedly agree that we should celebrate independent, ambitious women and their milestones with parties and gifts and registries. In fact, I’m all for starting a movement to do just that!
But after that, she lost me. And not only did she lose me, she offended me. Not because I’m a young, married woman with kids, but because I’m an ambitious feminist and people like her are the reason that “feminism” is such a dirty word.
I have several things I would like to say to you, Amy Glass.
- Do you really think it’s harder to be a single woman taking care of yourself than it is to be a married woman taking care of yourself, your husband, and however many kids you may have? You are right that there is no way those two things are the same. But thankfully, equality and sameness are two different things. I am grateful that I have the ability to honor the hardness and the joy of both paths. It’s hard for me to believe that you completely lack that ability and aren’t just writing for the sake of controversy, ratings, or viralness.
- Average does not equal settling. And cultural norms aren’t evil because they’re normal. Do I believe that we, as feminists, should questions the standards we find ourselves in and carve out our own new paths as we see fit? 100% yes. Do I believe that my friends who have dreamed of nothing but being a mommy since they were little girls are somehow less than me? 100% no. Because that’s stupid.
- As a single woman, what on earth gives you the right to say that finding a life partner and having a baby are super easy tasks? And while we’re at it, how do you feel qualified to write with confidence that women who are married with children are not free to pursue their dreams? As a married woman with two kids living out her dream, whose livelihood depends on teaching other women to do the same, I would beg to differ! And I get that we live in a culture that tells moms they need to put their lives on hold until their children grow up. If you want to change a cultural norm, start with that one!
- I am exceptional. In fact, I’m pretty fucking remarkable. Thankyouverymuch.
- You never hear men talk about how hard it to raise kids and manage a household, not because they haven’t been conditioned to view those things as important, but because cultural norms falsely deem these jobs “women’s work”. Again, THAT is a cultural norm you could be attacking. And also, I know tons of men who would happily agree that managing a household and raising kids is hard work. Maybe you’re hanging out with the wrong men.
- It’s not wordplay holding us back. There is room for all kinds of women. We will gain equality by letting go of harmful judgments. By questioning cultural norms in a way that invites discussion and allows people to be where they are. By building people up—women and men, regardless of their martial status. By living our lives with authenticity and passion. And letting others do the same.
Amy, I hope you read this. I’m not sure what your goal was for writing your post. But here’s the reason I wrote mine: I resent you for bastardizing feminism. I’m saddened by your limited worldview. I don’t want someone read your post and say, “See, this is why I’m not a feminist!” But if they do, I hope they find my words, too. I hope this post compels them to rethink feminism and their role in it.
I want to live in a world where ALL women are equal. Where doing the laundry is sacred. And where women who backpack across Asia can register for gifts at REI. That’s the feminism I believe in. That’s the shalom I am working to restore.