(Note: This post is not necessarily about life abroad. However, a conversation with a friend got me thinking about this topic. I’m writing from the perspective of a white, middle-class, Christian, 20-something female living in NYC. All of that means is that I have certain rights that many other women throughout the world do not have, due to class, religion, location, and color. Please keep in mind that, while many women have the right to not be forced into things, throngs of others do not and we must not forget them. Inform yourself of this global disgrace.)
I’m definitely a feminist. I feel like most people are, even if they get confused about the word itself. There are tons of articles, videos, and tweets by now about how it is sadly misinterpreted as ‘Women who hate men’ or ‘Women who want men to be the underrepresented and underpaid group for a change’. And obviously by now, we should know that is not what it means at all. But, even so, there’s a pendulum swing that exists in the realm of women’s rights. I now feel the pressure that most men felt for so long of ‘You have to be CEO of a huge company or be president or be the top of your field’. I can’t show emotion or have a family and career at the same time. We’re getting the rights, but we’re being told to act like the stereotypical man to do it.
The problem now is that because women have more opportunities or even the ability to become leaders, there is occasionally the feeling that it is forced onto us. To think of it the other way, being a stay-at-home mom is now sometimes looked down upon. You’re seen as a non-feminist if you are at home cooking and cleaning while your partner is working. And I hate that. I am an ambitious person and have accomplished many things in my short 24 years with plans to do much more, but I don’t want to be the head of a multi-national company or a top politician just because I now have the right to do so. Personally, I want to leave whatever job I hold when I have kids to stay home with them for a few years. I don’t mind being the main person in the relationship who cooks and cleans because I enjoy doing it. So why is it that I feel like I’m not a feminist if I decide to do those things?
The difference lies in the fact that society isn’t making me stay at home, just as I shouldn’t be made to climb the corporate ladder. Feminism exists so that men and women have the same opportunities, including to do whatever the heck they want in regards to family and jobs.
Don’t look down on the modern woman who has decided to stay at home with her kids and be a ‘house-wife’. It doesn’t mean that we’re enslaved to our partners or families. It doesn’t mean that our rights are being suppressed. We are not being forced to stay home and give up our careers. It’s something that we are choosing to do, just as female heads of state choose their respective path.
We are not doing it because we are women. As women, we are choosing what to do with our own lives.