On Being a Feminist

As a result of a couple of things I’ve read lately (and a couple of people crossing my path) I have come to realize that I spend almost no time at all thinking about the subject of feminism.  I never have.  For starters, I have an aversion to lots of things classified as “isms”.  The word  “feminism” seems much more angry and repugnant than the word “feminine” which I have nothing against. I guess I have heard so many talking heads in the media arguing rudely with each other about sexism, racism, marxism, socialism, feminism, etc… that all those classifications fall into the categories of unhelpful and divisive.  At least in my mind they do.

Secondly, I think I have just been busy seeing the world through the only pair of eyes that I have. I haven’t been wishing that I could be something other than what I was since I am fully engaged in being what I am. It’s enough. I suppose if I put high priority on material things I might feel angry that men earn higher wages than women doing the same work in some cases.  But how much is earned has little to do with how much the work is enjoyed, and that is always what has mattered more to me.  My observation is that men and women have equal access to being miserable, unfulfilled and depressed about what they are or are not.  Equal access to being happy, content with circumstances and productive. It seems to me a matter of personal attitude, period.

I have one area of thought that might have a feminist ring to it – that is frustration over trying to fix value to the jobs of childrearing and homemaking, which often have no monetary reward. I say often, because you do see instances in movies and real life where people with a need will pay almost anything for someone skilled to come in a take the job of a spouse they’ve lost. Or you hear about the valued, trusted housekeeper or nanny who is the equivalent of an executive secretary – a Mary Poppins if you will, or a Mrs. Doubtfire.  But think about it – if we really valued those positions wouldn’t there be someplace where they taught the necessary skills to be good at them? And not just for women but for men as well? No, it’s pretty much left up to on-the-job learning, or self-help books, or trial and error. And there’s all too much error going on and the stakes are much higher than we are willing to admit. I am a little bit concerned about being elderly and in the care of a generation of people who have been disregarded, neglected, often used and abused, and don’t have a lot of examples in their lives of how to care for and love people. I feel cultural remorse over this.

But I see both men and women who are willing to undervalue raising the future generation, so it’s not a gender issue to me. I think I have recovered from past feelings of low self worth, thinking that time was wasted when I was making a home for my husband and children.  I think it was the most important thing I could have done (and I probably should have done more of it).

I love being who I am and will not waste time envying those who are other than me. I would also say that it makes me very happy to be around people who also enjoy who they are – be they male or female.  Just sayin…

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