I have never claimed to be a hardcore feminist. I also don’t look at the world around me and think that the sexes are treated 100% equally. Does it bother me that sometimes management seems like a boys club or that occasionally it’s assumed that my tiny feminine fingers can’t construct a simple chair (true story)? Yes, yes it does. Do I sit back and accept that that’s the world I live in? No. What I do is try my best to prove people wrong by being a strong and independent woman.
I just followed a link to a Huffington Post article (yes, again, when will I learn) in which the author, Peg Aloi, bemoans the lack of “badass” women in society today. She’s upset about the plethora of “soft” women out there knitting and gardening and cooking and liking Hello Kitty. Now, while I do wonder about grown women who like Hello Kitty, I in no way see them as a threat to my ancestors’ legacy of fighting for rights among the sexes. Ms. Aloi laments the lack of tough female role models a la Katy Sagal’s character in Son’s of Anarchy and Sookie Stackhouse in True Blood. I think what she’s missing is that some of us don’t want to be the Matriarch of a violent motorcycle gang or fight vampires.
From a bigger picture, I think where Ms. Aloi and I diverge is that I don’t see knitting and cooking and other “girly” pursuits as a threat to feminism, I see them as an expression. I knit, I cook, I sew, and I do it all because I want to. Not because someone told me it was what I was supposed to do. Am I a badass? No, but there are definitely some tough women out there who knit. Just take a look at this article about combat knitters in Afghanistan.
The issue isn’t what women choose to pursue as hobbies, it’s the expectations that are placed on them. There’s a vast difference between making a man dinner because he expects it and making him dinner because you want to. Are we expected, in the name of feminism, to say “You know, I enjoy cooking and I’d LOVE to make you dinner, but I can’t because that would undermine years of working towards equality.”
I find Ms. Aloi’s argument that women should be tougher insulting and just as demeaning as saying that all women should be homemakers and not vote. At the end of the day, my fundamental problem is that she treats the female sex as a group when we should be celebrating our individuality. Do you like Hello Kitty and want to blog about it? Not my cup of tea, but go for it. Your desire to express yourself isn’t subjugating my rights or my self worth, just don’t expect me to read it.