Saturday, August 23, 2014

feminism: it should be about empowerment

Motherhood is falling further and further down the list of priorities.  For some, it's not a priority at all.  And for a growing minority, it's something that shouldn't be on anyone's priority list.  Ever.

It's a sentiment I've heard - expressed and implied - in classrooms, on blogs, and through various interactions with my peer group.

[Spoiler Alert: No moms means no babies.  Bye-bye, human race.]

I am all for women's rights.  I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the women who made it possible for me to vote and have a voice.  I am beyond grateful that I was able to obtain a college education and degrees that have become priceless to me.  I appreciate the ever-narrowing chasm of equality in the workforce.

What I don't appreciate, however, is the feministic notion that motherhood (and perhaps stay-at-home motherhood in particular) is an obstacle to be overcome in the pursuit of equality.  The word "equality" is, ironically, often used to dictate that there is only "one right way."  In my stay-at-home-mom-and-therefore-lesser opinion, feminism is - or at least should be - about empowerment.  It's about empowering women to do whatever it is that they dream about doing.

Sometimes that means accepting that someone's dream might be different from your own.  From the societal norm.  From what's socially acceptable.

Socially acceptable.  

Fifty years ago, half of the marvelous and magnificent accomplishments of women today would have been considered socially unacceptable.  Only stay-at-home-motherhood would have been acceptable.  Anything "less" would have been an affront to women throughout the world.  And today?  It's completely reversed.  Stay-at-home moms are the brainwashed, uneducated swine that produce brainwashed, uneducated piglets.

If you are a woman who doesn't want to have kids and hopes to eradicate cancer, good for you!  If you are a working mom who also just happens to be a politician, I'm impressed!  You're both amazing.  Seriously.  I am indescribably grateful for the difference you make in this world.

But please understand that those aren't every woman's dreams.

My dreams have changed throughout the years, but right now, they are definitely about staying home every day with my beautiful, brown-eyed little girl.  I have never felt more myself than I do when I sit on the floor reading books about cows jumping over the moon, or walk hand-in-little-hand through the grass as we learn together about the sky and the water and the birds.

One of my favorite quotes reads:

"Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him. I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent."  (source)

It's one of my favorites, because it's one of those times that a quote resounds so deeply in your heart that you're surprised you didn't say it yourself.

I believe in God.  I believe that He has a plan for me.  

And I am eternally grateful that His plan for me includes being a mother.

It may not for you, but it (more-than-happily) does for me.

Let's support each other.


Unknown said...

I love this Katie! It's exactly how I feel. Being a mom is equally (or dare I say more) important and gratifying than anything else I could be doing. Jamie

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent post. As a Mormon feminist, I find it appalling how much women are starting to hate marriage, children, and then men in their lives, or in general. In my honest opinion, most of these modern feminists aren't feminists at all, because feminism should be so much about women as it should be about the men as well. It's very sad the direction our society has taken in this respect. Thank you for your thoughtful, respectful post on this delicate subject.

Katie Elizabeth Hawkes said...

You are a smart one! Seems like the people with the most extreme ideas in both camps somehow seem to always get heard the loudest, right?? Feminism should be about women doing whatever they choose to do...whether that's "traditional" or "progressive." It's all good if it feels right/good to them. Good work and....amen.