I don’t think there is a whole lot of empowering women left to do. I think we just tell people to do what they feel like doing and then get out of the way. Like what Roseanne Barr said, “The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it. ” Especially as a middle class white woman, there’s just not really any barrier to having the kind of life you want. If someone gives you a shitty attitude because they think women are sluts or emotional or shouldn’t be doing whatever thing you’re currently doing, it’s as simple as choosing not to associate with that person in the future.
But we do have the difficult job of having to be ruthless editors of our lives. We have to do things we weren’t taught how to do like using “no” as a complete sentence, assuming that money should be a heavily weighted factor in which jobs we go after, and giving ourselves a healthy dose of the bro magic of considering ourselves qualified and invited by default.
The biggest thing to avoid, to be sure, is getting entrapped in a traditional marriage or coparenting situation. As it stands, women do (much) more housework than men, (much) more parenting work than men, are judged far more harshly for their parenting skills, and general give up a shit ton more than men have to in order to be happily married or parent a child.
Add to that the time and labor intensive demands of American parenting: helicoptering, coddling, competing with other moms, and being involved in very boring, unnecessary minute detail work. It’s no wonder women feel “20 to 22 percent more stressed out with a new kid, compared to fathers, who said they were 5 to 8 percent more stressed.”
This is like, such an insane low-ball offer of what life can be like.
No thanks! What’s the point of being empowered if you are going to throw it away on stress and servitude? When I grow up, I’m going not going to be the woman or the mom or the wife. I’m going to be a cool dad.
I aspire to wear a baby sling around a music festival and get praise heaped on me for how progressive I am. I wanna take paternity leave but still sleep through the night while my spouse gets up with the newborn and then go back to work and joke about how “women are so amazing I could never do that” with my cool job work buddies. I want to take my kids out for ice cream on a Saturday night to “give mom a break” and have the waitress think I’m dad of the year.
I want to have the confidence to be a completely inept parent who is totally okay LOL-ing publicly about it. I want to assume all the boring details of my daily life are handled by my partner, who also brings income into the household budget (because, yay, money). I’ll let him do most of the parenting work because he’s probably better at it and I’ll just mess it up if I try.
I’m all about low key treating my partner like an indentured servant. But in a chill way that’s approved of by my peers.
Like, look at these chic ass cool dad aesthetics:
Every woman wonders if she can ‘have it all’, but cool dads have already proved that you can — as long as you’re okay with being aggressively mediocre at most of it. They have the career, the marriage and the adoring family, but without all the pesky upkeep. Cool dads are the American dream and I want in.