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Monday, January 27, 2014

Do I Have the Right to Be a Feminist?

     I can’t believe I’m falling for this. At least I’m not alone. I’m sure some of you have seen the blog slamming women who stay home with their children as underachieving slackers who are merely pretending to be feminists to make themselves feel better. The purpose of a blog post like that  is, of course, to incite controversy and generate blog traffic for the blogger, who in this case is Amy Something. Don’t fall for it!
     Now watch as I completely disregard my own advice. 
     Unlike Amy Something, I honestly don’t care about my blog traffic, which should be obvious from my "intimate" following and the frequency with which I post. This is only for me. Me! Me! Me! The moment I stop enjoying it, the task of writing the blog becomes a chore like the pile of laundry Amy Something holds in such disdain. But I was annoyed enough to stop eating my butterscotch pudding, wipe the splotch of amber goo off my pajama top and get my butt back to the couch to respond. (Yes, I am still in my pajamas, and I’m not sorry.) I began to wonder if I have the right to call myself a feminist.
     Amy Something is of the belief that thus far I’ve celebrated milestones that anyone could achieve, like marriage and having kids. She said I should backpack through Asia and celebrate that. Or celebrate my promotion at work. Or a dream job. She has her nerve, since I have a sneaking suspicion she’ll be celebrating the gargantuan number of hits on her blog tonight over a nice Pinot grigio. I don’t think it’s gone viral, but she had 8000 or so comments, when I posted my insightful comment. (Aw hell, maybe it has gone viral.) Still, why does she get to celebrate that milestone? Are hits on your blog the new benchmark for achievement?
     The answer, I suppose, is yes. But if Amy Something thinks this achievement will be lauded in the male-dominated world we live in, she’s got another think coming. In that world blogs are regarded as a mere step above housework to all the powers that be. I personally believe they’re vital tools for communication as well as necessary launch pads for writing careers, but—let’s face it—this is a female-oriented medium. Case in point: I’m doing mine from my couch in butterscotch-stained pajamas. Oops! Did I say I'm on the couch in pajamas. No, I'm actually diving off a cliff into a river. Is this good enough for you, Amy Something?
     That is why I love blogs. It is an arena where women can achieve without contorting themselves into the mold of the dominant culture. It plays to all of our strengths and gets us talking. Stay-at-home mom or working woman—either one can start a blog. Anyone can. Even men (although few of them rock the blog like a woman can. Blogs are the high heels of cyberspace.) That’s not to say that anyone who starts a blog will be successful. You have to build it from the ground up. In the same vein, having kids or getting married requires work to achieve success. In fact, with all of these milestones, what we’re celebrating is the work we put in. And it is my firm belief that no amount of work or passion is less deserving of acknowledgement than another. So I applaud you, Amy Something for your blog's success. Enjoy. I applaud the woman you included in your blog, the one who backpacks through Asia. I applaud the mom who quits her dream job to stay home and raise her kids or the one who never had a good job in the first place. I applaud women like these two.
     Amy Something says modern feminism applauds women for doing nothing. I say it should applaud me for doing nothing in gross pajamas. After all, I worked hard to make it to this couch. 


  1. At one point I wrote a coherent response to her... and shared it on my friend Annette's facebook page where all of 40 people saw it. Or something. My opinion on the matter though is STOP JUDGING. Amy Something is judging and she needs to stop it. Kids need good parents. Know who else needs to stop judging? People who stared at my husband like he was shoe scum for being the at-home parent in my family because you think WOMEN are looked down on for the choice? You should see how men are treated.

    I admit to having envy as a writer of the stay-at-home moms, as you've got a bit more flexibility to work with once kids are in school--the day job can't be shuffled around as easily, but the parenting part is HARD. Hard enough I couldn't have done it. (at least not without a lot of resentment and drinking too much)

    I LOVE the idea of celebrating more KINDS of experience, but I think we ALL need to see success on self-defined parameters.

  2. That's a shame that people treated your husband badly. My husband would probably love to stay home with our kids, and his skills are far more suited to the lifestyle than mine are. He loves to clean and organize and is awesome with the kids. (I would imagine it would get old after a while, though.) Yet he has always made more money than I have, so I got the stay-at-home gig. Sometimes it's good, sometimes bad. But I agree: Amy Something is inciting women to take sides against each other instead of nurturing a supportive dialogue. And that's not cool. I'm now POSITIVE that she's related to George Glass.