Oh, I’m scared.
But I’m not scared of my beliefs in a woman’s right to choose, which aren’t going to change any time soon. I’m scared of this blogger’s frightening understanding of what feminism means. According to Mrs. Anna T, feminism is synonymous with “having it all.” And to Mrs. Anna T, “having it all” means being forced to do it all, rather than having the choice to have all one chooses to have.
But this blogger defines feminism as a rather strange conspiracy theory:
I think that saying, ‘oh, go ahead and get a full-time career, you can juggle a marriage, children and household successfully along the way, and you can have a baby whenever you want’ is much more dangerous than ‘career is a better choice, go forsake your family!’ – Why? Because honestly, can you imagine a decent woman stand up and say, ‘hey, I choose to neglect my family, I don’t care if my marriage suffers, my laundry piles up and my children never see their Mommy!’? But she can be tempted to buy into the I-can-have-it-all idea.
First of all, many women who do not want full-time careers are forced to get them out of financial necessity. Not everyone can be wealthy Jerusalem suburbanites of privilege who can live off of a single income and many women are single mothers who work in order to put their children first, not the other way around.
Second of all, why is it that if a woman chooses to have a full-time career, she is “neglecting her family,” whereas if a man has a full-time career, he is “providing for his family.” It is the exact same choice yet one parent is labeled neglectful for doing so and the other is labeled responsible. It is an age-old double standard that must be recognized.
Third, I simply wish that Mrs. Anna T could recognize that her lifestyle is a feminist lifestyle. She is choosing to stay at home and finds fulfillment in doing so. That choice, that conviction that she is able to fulfill her own agenda is what feminism is about. Many other women choose different paths and feminism is also about recognizing and supporting the fact that all of those paths are entirely valid and it is a woman’s right to be given all the necessary tools to dodge the double standard and live her life as she sees fit.
Feminism is a safety net, not a danger. It does not mean that women must “have it all;” it means that women can choose from that “all” because we are not being restricted in our choices.