And it is not just about who wears skirts and who wears pants… and who takes out the garbage and who rears the children… it’s bigger than that like…. who controls the trajectory of your future as a woman???
I think that I would not have called myself a “feminist” before this year… mostly because of all of the negative connotations shared between women on the word “feminist”. There is this expectation that you don’t take your man’s name if you even GET married, (because that’s anti-feminist of you! and if you take his name HE OWNS YOU!? Right?!) and AT BEST you hyphenate your children’s names (how trendy!……???) and you fight at every rally, become an activist, burn your bra, and read every Gloria Steinem book…. and you better know all about the women’s liberation movement…
Women lack a distinct control over some things in our world that are dominated by your gender. Women are being shamed daily on Facebook and across most of the internet world for proposing to their men… and “taking away” this romantic act from them… and I read “Geez, women, what ELSE are you going to take away from men?” (Posted BY A WOMAN) and it kind of blows me away… and makes me feel this sick sinking feeling in my chest. Really? What exactly have “we” taken away from “men”? Just out of curiosity…
I am old-fashioned, perhaps, and wouldn’t propose to a man, so I do get it… but that in itself means I have resigned myself to something very anti-feminist. I have given my future up to a hostage situation where someone else is in complete control over my future plans solely because of their gender. The man, given a traditional feeling on having children post-nuptials, gets to decide when you have children, based solely upon when you get engaged — and how long thereafter you get married and it can only be nine months from that date that you can have a baby – so if you map it all out there is a significant chunk of our lives that are decided upon by someone else and their own motives and timeline. Women also put themselves in a potentially very dangerous position to be vulnerable — and be surprised by their significant other whom has chosen to take his time, or waste yours!, by figuring out if you’re the one. He decides he doesn’t want “I do” when all along SHE has felt that her partner was in mutual love with her and that she had also chosen him to be her ‘forever’ partner, only to be ambushed. Danger, Will Robinson! Obviously, if a couple goes into a relationship CHOOSING to collectively put marriage and engagement off – then that is a completely different situation in and of itself and should not apply to this somewhat feminist perspective of gender roles.
I have every intention of taking Drew’s name as my last name is currently my ex-husband’s (nope! Didn’t change it when we got divorced either! How anti-feminist of me…) but in that same token – I don’t get to have any control over when any of it happens. There has been more than one occasion in my life where I was indeed glad that the relationship never came to that type of commitment, but it did indeed waste large chunks of my time in the process of figuring out that I was waiting for something that I did not end up wanting, nor was it right for me BUT … his time was not wasted because he wasn’t waiting for any larger commitment.
The trouble here is that it is a double – edged sword for women… You cannot place undue pressure on the man, because then the act itself will be disingenuous and you will know, as will others, that you placed this pressure on your significant other and the feeling behind the act is then “tainted” —- or you do nothing and you give yourself up to an invisible timeline that you cannot see, touch, or even manipulate in any way. So, you wait and you enjoy your relationship for what it is. You commit to it in every possible way and hope, or in my case believe that it works out the way you imagine it will… But in this act – you have accepted the terms of the “contract” that gender roles defined and thus lines are drawn in the sand.
Is this OK? Does it make you, or me, less of a feminist by relenting to something society has constructed for you for centuries?…even if it is not related to your income or your social liberties or other inalienable rights?
Below are some links to articles that are, for lack of a better term, food for thought — and perhaps will leaving you scratching your head…
(Excerpt: In order to be looked at differently, you have to think differently. He has to see that you call your own shots and that you don’t need input from anyone about how to put your socks on. This says, “I am secure.” The biggest attraction killer is neediness and insecurity. The bitch doesn’t audition or try to be the “best in show.” Instead of “where’s my ring” or “why won’t you marry me,” she’s thinking:
“What’s the advantage of having this guy around?”
“How do I feel about myself after I’ve been in his company?”
“What’s in it for me?”)