I would call myself a feminist. For one, I was raised in a family that cultivated fiercely independent woman. My grandma’s favorite advice to share with me is that I should start a ‘divorce account’; she always jokes that her philosophy is, “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine”. My mother, whose first child came at age 20 and fourth came before age 27, made sure she earned a college degree. My high school dance coach, although happily married, raised us to build our own empires. Especially in a society where the divorce rate is 50% and rising, these influential women in my life taught me the importance of being a strong, independent, self-sufficient women–because you never know what life can throw at you.
I went to the University of Colorado–Boulder, perhaps the most liberal university in this western region. And, not only that, but I also majored in English and secondary education. No doubt, I have had my fill of ‘feminist’ discussions. I had an acquaintance in college that was so pro-female that she bucked every feminist norm she felt society prescribed to her–she stopped wearing deodorant, stopped wearing a bra, stopped dating boys (Her behavior in public was actually kind of embarrassing). I do believe that women should not be belittled, oppressed, depreciated. I do believe that women should earn the same salaries, have the same opportunities, and deserve the same respect as their male counterparts. However, I am not sure if I believe in complete gender-equality, because I believe there are some divisions between men and women; generally, there are biological predispositions that might make men better at some roles and women better at others. For example, a few weeks ago, my room mate was in the garage, chopping wood. I am relatively in shape, so I asked him if I could try. I didn’t even get the ax two inches into the wood. That is a man’s job (Now, I am not saying that I COULDN’T chop the wood if my life depended upon it; my male room mate is just a much better alternative).
Recently, I have been exploring my role as a female in society. Up until this point in my life, I always visioned myself as a self-sufficient professional; I would work full-time, still be able to coach my dance team, raise a strong family, maintain relationships with my friends and family, travel to awesome places; basically, I thought I could do everything and be everything that I always dreamed (remember, I am the idealist). The more research and experience I get in the adult world, the more I realize just how misconceived my perceptions have been.
In the next few unpredictable amount of years, I will be asked to be someone’s wife, someone’s mother. I will be asked to fulfill another role as a woman in our society. I will be asked to make sacrifices, to trade in some of my goals for new ones, to be in a constant state of suspended limbo. I watch the mothers that I work with, who are the ones who stay home from school when their kids get sick, who leave school to go home to make dinner, who spend their weekends cleaning and doing laundry.
It is interesting. Being single, all I have to do is worry about myself. Before this point, I have never thought about raising a family, never thought about where I wanted to settle down, never thought about what exactly I wanted my future to look like, other than successful and happy. And now, as I enter into my mid-twenties, I am finding myself longing to fulfill some of those stereotypical roles, along with the ones I have already established for myself. I am not really sure if it is age, if it is seeing all of my friends get married and have babies, if it is working with so many high school students and experiencing the corruptness in society.
This will definitely be a topic I will continue exploring, because right now, I don’t have any solid conclusions. I don’t think I can have it ALL, because life has time restrictions. So, for the meantime, while I am young and single, I am going to work on fulfilling some of those goals until the universe calls me otherwise and I will understand that it is time for me to step into a different, just as fulfilling, role.