I’m a feminist, but I’m also kind of a traditionalist. The term “feminist” conjures up in the minds of most an image of a hairy, independent woman who is single and abrasive and has a lot of cats.
And let’s be real, I am a lot of those things, but it is not readily apparent because on the surface I’m pretty traditional.
I’m marrying my high school sweetheart after six years together, so I haven’t been single in a very long time, but I would still say I am independent. There are times when I have been the primary breadwinner in our household and there are times when I haven’t been, but most people probably assume that’s it’s him always.
On the surface, ours probably looks like a patriarchal union, but in reality it is extremely egalitarian. We share finances, household chores and basically everything else. We just make the effort to help out where it’s needed.
But the moment I realized I would be ostracized from the feminist community was Wednesday afternoon. While doing some thrift shopping, I purchased baby clothes. I’m not pregnant and I don’t believe that feminist equals anti-children, but I did make the concrete realization in that moment that I will be having children and it will probably be sooner than later.
My personal belief is that feminism is about choices and making sure women have them, so I don’t feel bad about the life choices I have made even if they aren’t exactly on par with the stereotypical “feminist” label. I do what I want.
I will be honest; I worry a lot about how my choices will have an effect whether or not people want to be friends with me (most people my age are living the young-and-free life and I’m kind of old and encumbered by comparison, so I totally don’t blame them) or how much I will be able to do in terms of traveling and a career.
I’ve always been a person who likes kids though and the getting married at 21 years old wasn’t exactly planned, so I think I am making the best choices by just going with the flow.
I see my feminist duty as raising children who are feminists and make a difference in the world that way in addition to all the activism I do now. What better way to make a better future than to raise the next generation of feminists?
That’s the beauty of feminism, though. We all get to choose our own style and how we want to exercise our feminism. Obviously there are things we need to fight for as a larger group, but how you apply it to your everyday life is entirely up to you.
So be a feminist and be whatever you want. Don’t let the stereotype of feminists as angry single women turn you away from the label. Be you and be a feminist and live happily ever after because that’s your right.
Jocelyn Gibson can be contacted at [email protected]