Feminism gets a bad reputation. People who don’t quite understand what it is associate feminism with something aggressive and exclusive: women-only and we-hate-men kind of vibes. While it’s really not that. Everybody has a different definition and here’s mine.
On Saturday I was folding our laundry while my boyfriend was making the most delicious bolognese sauce for dinner (I’m one lucky girl, seriously). And suddenly I got that moment that everybody loves: I got the best idea for something that I’ve been thinking of for a while! I was so excited that I ran into the kitchen holding one of his t-shirts – I needed to tell him about it immediately.
Going back into the room I was giggling saying: “Oh the ideas that I get when folding your shirts!”
“Don’t say that to other feminists” – jokingly responded he.
But that got me thinking: is it unfeminist of me to fold his laundry? If it’s my choice? While he is making us dinner?
Nope, it’s not.
You do you
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”. It’s about equality and it’s about women doing whatever they want to do – without the society or any individual pressuring them into it.
So that means that if I was doing the laundry because the society wants me to or because my boyfriend has made me do it, that would be “unfeminist” (woah I’ve just discovered that people actually use this word). But if it’s my own choice and if we don’t have set or unfairly distributed roles in the household, it’s just me doing laundry. Because I want to.
I think feminism is when a woman is confident to make her own choices. It doesn’t mean that you have to be one extreme or the other: you decide whether you want to wear makeup or not, you decide how to dress and how to behave. And if you want thing today it doesn’t mean that it will be unfeminist of you to change your mind tomorrow. You do you.
Some days I really don’t care and some days I want to dress up, spend hours doing my makeup and hair – all while listening to cheesy music and drinking prosecco. And that’s fine. Some days I want to call myself a domestic goddess and some days (like today) I really don’t feel like doing anything in the house. And that’s OK – in fact more than just that: these things can co-exist within you and shape the different dimensions of your unique personality.
Dear society, stop projecting your ideas onto me
All people deserve the right to express themselves and decide what they want for themselves – and that’s why I have a problem with people who tell me I’ll be a great mother/wife. What if I don’t want to get married or have children? Or even if I do, you probably don’t know me, so please stop projecting those conservative societal “norms”.
And especially having grown up in Russia which still has a long way to go in terms of what the society expects from women. One Russian guy who wanted to take me out on a date in June and I blew him off saying that I’ll be only back in Russia in August asked me if I was going to lose some weight by then. No joke. Well he never heard from me again and that was the extent of my dating experience with Russian men.
Family is of course another sensitive topic in Russia: “woman’s role is to procreate” – the amount of times I’ve heard that phrase saying that I’m wasting my life not having had children yet is scary. If you’re facing the same situation, here’s my tip: say that you’re too selfish – works like a charm!
But back to feminism
I believe that women are unique in their tastes, behaviours and life choices – which means that by my definition there’s no right or wrong way of being feminist. It’s not a category, it’s a spectrum. Everyone should be able to do whatever they want to and not to be judged for their choices. That should be the societal norm.
What do you think about the subject? What is your definition of feminism?