Why Women With Traditional Values Can Be Feminists Too

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Joe St. Pierre

There’s a distinctive association with the latest wave of feminism, and it seems to be that the best feminists are unhealthfully career driven, pissed off all the time, and rejecting any tenant of femininity.

Sweeping generalizations serve no one, but I think we’d all be lying if we didn’t notice this trend (and for many of us, feel ‘bad’ if we don’t fit in.)  I don’t know when we began to reject feminine to become more feminist, but I do know that it’s not for me.

I am career driven. I support women’s rights to choose to tie their tubes. I want equal pay. I can logically identify the gaps in society’s gender inequality. But I also have some fairly traditional desires too. I want a husband someday, one who supports my career, but a husband none-the-less. I want a house, children (okay, and a dog and hell, just throw in the picket fence.)

There are some women of the opinion that those dreams make me less of a feminist. My goals and values are not progressive enough to be ones that feminists approve of.

If you want to be a woman who doesn’t have children because of money, or time or just because you don’t want to, I think that’s great. If you want to be a mother who travels, and works 15 hours a day, and gets her PhD, I will tell you that I’ve seen first hand when my mother did it, and it’s a sight to see. These are both beautiful depictions of feminism.

My only complaint is that we’ve decided these routes are the only depiction of feminism or at least, the superior ways to be a feminist. We’ve thrust aside our notion that there are other ways to express feminism.

We’re so caught up in this idea that we have to protect our independence, that we’ve quelled our traditional instincts, because we no longer think we’re allowed to have them. (Unless you genuinely don’t have those traditional instincts, which is totally fine, too.)

As a college freshman, I took Journalism Research, a class that involves writing an obscenely long research paper and weeds out about half the kids in the major. I wrote mine on female broadcast journalists and whether their jobs allowed them to have a family. When I presented my paper, I explained my personal connection to it: I (at the time) was interested in broadcast journalism as a career but was concerned that it wasn’t conducive to having a family.

My professor asked the class if anyone had similar concerns in the fields they were considering. None of the women in the room raised their hands.

Three years later, I learned that a girl from my class had switched her major because of that paper.

I’m not telling you to switch your major. I didn’t. I’m not telling you that you can’t chase your dreams and have a family. You can. I certainly intend to. All I’m saying is would it really be so terrible to raise your hand and say, yes, I want kids and I’m worried about whether that will affect my career? Are we scared other feminists will tell us we’re being too hormonal?

It’s not fair to blame this all on one side. The fact is the women who have become mothers and then renounced feminism aren’t helping either. The women who are now seeing the beauty of life and decided to switch tunes and condemned a woman’s right to choose are just as much to blame.

And to the women who [renounce feminism on the pretense that they’re teaching their boys to be chivalrous](http://thoughtcatalog.com/tara-kennedy-kline/2014/11/i-am-a-mother-of-two-children-and-i-cannot-and-will-not-support-feminism/), I’ll only say this: It’s not your teachings we’re worried about, it’s what could happen if your boys get too drunk at a frat party and force themselves on a girl. And if you’re teaching your boys not to do that, that’s feminism too and the women you’re complaining about appreciate what your efforts. You’re giving the rest of us who’d like to have our kids and teach them well a bad rep.

If you don’t want to listen to what I have to say on the women who’ve renounced feminism entirely, listen to Amy Poehler instead: “That’s like someone being like, ‘I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it.’”

Feminism isn’t begrudging chivalry, nor is it insisting that you shouldn’t wait for a man to have children. It’s giving you that option, but not requiring it. Nor does it say that’s the only way to be a feminist.

You don’t have to be a Samantha or a Miranda to be a feminist. You don’t even have to be a Carrie. You can be a Charlotte and still be a feminist and though I’ll make fun of how tight your collar is, I’ll still respect you. TC mark

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