Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Womanly: a post feminist rant

“If a woman is sufficiently ambitious, determined and gifted - there is practically nothing she can't do”
                        -Helen Lawrenson

As this is a blog about becoming a woman, I believe it's pretty important to define what womanly means to me.  With all due respect to Gloria Steinem and company, THIS woman is all about cooking and cleaning and crafting, in short - homemaking.  I so value and appreciate the things great women, like Susan B. Anthony and Simone de Beauvoir have done for me personally.  It's great that I can have an intellectual conversation and be taken seriously.  It's also great that I can be a high-powered corporate executive.  The beauty of post-feminism is that I am free to seek fulfillment in a career, but I am also free not to.  I choose sort-of not - at this point in my life, I am pretty career oriented, but only out of necessity. So, thanks ladies!

Female role models in the public sphere don't often line up with my post-feminist ideals.  They tend to be more feminists, with crazy important things to do and families falling apart (Hillary Clinton style) or anti-feminists who believe women belong in the home making food and making babies.  (Ok, to be fair, it's not very common to hear about the second type but that's because they're too domestic to be in the public sphere).  Because of the lack of public role models, I've turned to my personal heroes to help me define "womanly."  I have been blessed with amazingly strong, talented and womanly women in my life!

My grandmas are AMAZING example of  women.  My mom's mom is smart and well read and funny and people really like her!  She was a beauty queen as a teenager, but that didn't make her vapid, instead it made her well spoken.  My step-mom's mom practically ran the small town where she lives in her career as a city secretary. She's a very skilled organizer!  My dad's mom might just be the pinacle of post-feminist womanhood. She is so put together and intelligent!  In the days before disposable diapers and helpful husbands, my grandma bore nine children - 6 of them in the first five years of her marriage!  Grandma has a quiet strength that can be surprising sometimes, but it shouldn't.  She was also a working woman with an illustrious career at the post office. How womanly is that?!

My step-mom has also been an awesome example of womanly virtues in my life.  She's so entrepreneurial and creative!  She is a small business owner, which requires tremendous hard work and dedication, but she always manages to make time for her family too.  She taught me the bulk of my foundational crafting knowledge.  I really admire her for her strength of character and drive to accomplish great things.  She inspires me to dream big.

George Washington said "All I am, I owe to my mother." If I'm being totally honest and not sentimental, I'd rephrase that to "All quirky things I am, I owe to my mother."  I inherited so much of my personality from my mom.  In fact, many of my friends say that she's just me plus 20 years. (Sorry to make you seem really old, Mom.)  She's intelligent, quick witted and she really lights up a room.  She's also head strong and not easily lead astray.  My mom has overcome really terrible obsticles, that would have left a lesser woman hopeless and bitter, but she came thru with grace.  I would probably love her more though, if I had not inhereted the ability to trip on nothing or only sing in a key that belongs only to myself from her.

To the thousands of feminists reading my blog: Please don't be fooled that the majority of my "woman skills" center around homemaking.  I come from a long line of strong, independent women and value other skills too.  (I just value the girly ones more.)

Photo of Gloria Steinem courtesy of feminist.com

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