From the title of this post, I am sure you are assuming that this has to be some sort of examination of a Victorian text; parsing the meaning and intention behind how women are forced into an archetype of the “good wife.” I promise you this isn’t about a Victorian text, although if I really wanted to, I could give you that.
What I really want to write about today is the notion of what is the woman’s sphere and how do we identify it as a society – OKAY, let me be real, it is about how I have come to identify it for myself.
There is so much going on right now in domestic and foreign policy in regards to female rights. Women are standing up and proclaiming their identity as a feminist and about equality for all. And I love it, but it has gotten me thinking too. Thinking about my own misconceptions about feminine identity. These misconceptions are based solely on my own judgement of MY ACTIONS and THOUGHTS. Because I find that in the last year that I have been married, I may have been a little too harsh all these years to condemn my figurative sisters who have chosen to stay home and start a family over passionately pursuing their dreams and jobs.
The real reason I started thinking about all of this is because a few weeks ago, I was at the gym and my cell phone wasn’t charged so I couldn’t listen to music. I turned on the TV that is attached to my treadmill and cruised the channels. I ended up watching an old episode of the Wendy Williams show. I love Wendy, she is hilarious! Anyways, as I was watching the show Wendy brought up a quote from Ed Sheeran about Taylor Swift. What Ed said was something along the lines that Taylor is an old soul that enjoys staying home with her cats, knitting, baking, and hanging out with the girls. Wendy commended Taylor for being so down to earth and not letting her level of celebrity pressure her into being wild and out. Wendy also mentioned that a lot of other celebrities apparently find it sad, or pathetic, that Taylor chooses to live her life in this way.
Now obviously I am not Taylor Swift. I consider myself a celebrity if I get 10 hits on this blog, but I started to think about my own issues with the stigma of being domestic. And yes, there is a stigma, regardless of what your friends Pinterest boards say about their crafting and cooking.
Now, I don’t think everyone sees or agrees with the idea of a domestic stigma, but I have one. My stigma of all things domestic come from my own experiences and view of the world around me. Growing up, I was given the opportunity to read and learn about whatever I wanted. I knew from a very young age I was a feminist. I always wanted to be given the chance to do what the boys did. While I was never good at sports, I always wanted to be given the opportunity to play what a boy could play, just because I had as much right as a boy and as much ability – in theory.
I remember when I was in junior high and entering high school I mentioned to my parents how cool I thought it would be to have girls on the football team. My dad scoffed and said no daughter of his would play football, and because I was a teenager this made me want to do – don’t worry, I never did. Again, not good with the sports thing.
This brief history is because a lot of these experiences I had shaped me. I grew up thinking that if a woman got married and became this idea of domesticity, she would lose her identity and her power. You can call me naive, because I was, but it was a true fear I had.
As friends slowly started to get married at a young age, I scoffed at them. I pitied them for choosing to pursue a family and a husband over a graduate degree. I pity myself now for my stupidity.
I am just a little over a year into married life, and I see now that I am not the sum of those domestic parts. A lot of this could be due to the relationship I have with my husband. We are partners and equals in everything we do. I never feel like it is my sole responsibility to keep this house clean, we share that burden.
Part of my marriage, I find myself enjoying things of the domestic nature. I enjoy keeping my house clean. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t LOVE cleaning, but I do love the satisfaction of looking around my house and seeing that it is clean and organized. I also enjoy cooking. Again, my husband shares cooking with me, but I enjoy creating a meal and having it ready when my husband gets home. I don’t do it because Jacob comes home and says, “Woman, whats for dinner?” I do it because I enjoy it.
There was a brief period of time were I felt guilty for this. I thought that as a woman and a feminist I shouldn’t be so excited about cooking and cleaning. I mean, weren’t these the things I had fought not to become? Wasn’t I condemning my friends years before? But what I was realizing is, just because I enjoy doing these things, I am not defined by them. Just because I enjoy living my life this way, doesn’t take away my individual power. And if I choose to cook every Pinterest recipe on my boards, then I am going to, and I am not going to feel guilty that I am building on the “good wife” archetype, I am just pursuing a passionate hobby.
I do regret the judgement I made against those friends for all of these years. Because if marriage, children, and cooking and cleaning is their hearts desire, who am I, as a friend, and sister to condemn that?
I listened to Emma Watson’s speech for the UN “He for She” campaign, and she talked about equal rights. The right for a man to be soft and a woman to be strong. That is what feminism is.
Instead of judging women who make the choice to be stay at home moms, we should celebrate them. Women should all celebrate each other. I can say that I don’t think I would want to have a high power job where I am flying from one place to the next and hardly seeing my husband, that for me makes no sense, but for the women who do it because it is their passion, rock on.
We should all be celebrating the achievement of women in whatever role they choose to pursue, as long as it was their choice. Having the choice is what matters, not what the choice is itself.
So today, I choose to be wife, pseudo chef, dog mom, and friend.