Monday, January 18, 2010

ponderings on feminsm

Well it would seem that my work has come to somewhat of a close, if not a break. This is probably a good thing, as Ender seems particularly needy today, perhaps in response to my absence. Usually he'll sit on his own for a few moments at least on the floor, if not for an entire half an hour, happily playing with his toys. Today, however, his face crumples immediately, turning a tomato red and begins to moan. He closes his eyes and falls on his face. Yes, on his face, dear readers. I'm not sure if he's aware that he completely loses his balance when he's upset, or if he's just so distracted by the devastating fact that he is not sitting on my lap that it makes him keel over. Either way, it's very concerning and so I've spent the entire evening catering to my tiny dictator, sipping on yerba mate tea and watching episodes of Big Love. This usually wouldn't bother me, except due to my baking and cooking binge of the last few days, there are no clean dishes. I managed to toss a few into the dishwasher but the counters remain covered.

Anyway, Big Love is about a polygamous family in Utah. I've always had a penchant for religion, as well as dress, so this set me to the costumer's manifesto which is my favourite most exhaustive source for all things clothing-related. Modest clothing, which is of it's own type and persuasion, is one of my favorites. This is probably because it is the last existing throwback to a time when women dressed in long dresses, puffy sleeves and pinafores. There's just something wonderful about it. First, it's the idea of mystery. The fact that men, rather seeing every part of you, are left to wonder. They practically waxed philosophical about women's ankles in the Victorian era. Now men hardly bat an eyelash at a boob. This is really a pity, since the female form has such enticing characteristics aside from our boobs. What about the slope of a shoulder or the slenderness of a wrist?

Also, there is a forced grace of a long skirt. A requiring of chivalry and assistance. I'm sure any dyed in the wool feminist would be upset to hear me say such things. But I defend myself with this: my feminism is about embracing my femininity, and all that it has entailed throughout the centuries. Yes, femininity now means wearing what we'd like, and doing what we'd like. But a thousand years ago, it meant wearing long skirts, and slaving over vats of bubbling hot fat to make soap for your family.

And I think that's pretty badass.

I think we need to retool our definition of a 'strong' woman. The current one seems too reactionary. It's as though all the feminists from the era of Ms. magazine and the Berkeley bra burners just got so far and then dropped everything, leaving my generation with a thoroughly outmoded and unworkable definition of strength. I would like to see strength in a woman be about enjoying the very expression of our womanhood. Why does keeping step with a man in both personal and professional arenas mean that we have succeeded? Of course, this is all fine and good if it is what is wanted by a woman, but their are practical considerations (such as being the primary biological caregiver of young children) that must be made. Why has the term 'women's work' become pejorative? What is wrong with a kind of work that women spend their time at?

All things worth considering, I think. Vive la feminismes!

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