I never thought I was a feminist. I have always thought that I was a woman with true Southern values that was raised in church. You are taught that the man is the head of your household and you are the tail. You are his help mate. Recently, I was asked, “How can you be the feminist that you are and still believe this thinking? Is this the message that you are teaching your daughters?” This caused me to pause. The message that I give my daughters is not in stark contrast to my upbringing, it is just in addition to. We live in a world where politicians talk about rape as though it were okay, women are paid less than men for the same job, and we have to teach our daughters to protect themselves from predators at a young age. Youth is not as carefree as it was when I was a child when these conversations did not have to happen. This person that questioned me was doing so in an effort to make me think as always and I thank her for that, you know who you are.
The question that I kept coming back to was, what is the view that we give girls of the world? I tell my daughters often that you can be anything that you want to be. I have one daughter that wants to be a nurse and I have one daughter that has decided at a young age she wants to be a cardiac surgeon. I am not going to tell them that they can not achieve those goals. I’m going to do what I have to do to foster those dreams and help, I hope make them a reality. I am going to support them in their lives and their decisions and hope that they make the best choices for themselves when they reach adulthood. My youngest daughter once proclaimed that “Women can do anything men can do, except pee standing up. They could probably do it though with a little practice.” My daughter at the age of 6 or 7 was a miniature feminist in the making. Did I squash her theory, no. That was her thought process and not mine. Do I believe in her thought process? Yes. Single moms do things everyday that are typical male roles such as putting beds together, paying bills, getting their vehicles serviced, and teaching little boys to potty.
What view am I giving my daughters of the world? That you have to be cautious, you have to be mindful, and respectful. But I also teach them that they have to advocate for themselves. It is less about marriage and setting up house and more about forming a career, enjoying your life early on, and doing what is necessary to make you happy. You can be happy in addition to the person that you find one day to marry and fall in love with. Do I think I’m a feminist, yes, do I think my daughter’s are feminist, one of them yes, the other, I’m on the fence about. The world is full of great women and I want to raise two great women to go out in the world and be confident enough to kick but at ever turn.