Amazing Adventure #11: Fighting Depression, Being a SAHM, Not Taking Offense, and Feminism

Fighting Depression:

I haven't written anything for almost a week because I think I may be a little depressed.  I'm also sick - which doesn't help.  I am generally a happy person unless I am actively despairing about something horrible.  I don't much get depressed.  But this holiday season has been a little depressing in a getting-a-divorce-and-being-an-orphan kind of way.  Somehow getting divorced makes me miss my parents 10 times more.  An unexpected phenomenon for me.

I will be combating this depression by skipping your holiday party.  Sorry.

That's all I have to say about that.

Being a SAHM: 

So - I have felt a little anxious and guilty about not writing and not feeling like I had anything worthwhile to say and then, last night, I read a fellow ChicagoNow blogger's post and I wrote a little novella in her comment section and then I felt super guilty cause clearly I do have something to say but I wrote it in someone else's comment section and then I thought "Well, hell, I'll just respond to her right here on my blog."

This is what I read: Can Stay At Home Moms Be Feminist?

You can read it - I'll wait.  And you can scroll down through the mostly angry comments to see what I wrote.  It isn't super well-written but, you know, it was late and I'm sick.

Not Taking Offense:

I wanted to mention, really quickly, that I am often baffled by the notion that something another person writes could be offensive to someone else.  I am never offended by someone else's opinion.  I may passionately disagree.  But I am not personally offended.  I am never personally offended by anything, come to think of it.  I suppose that if you were to say something directly insulting about one of my children...well, I would kick you in your face...but is that being "offended" or is that being protective?  I dunno.  Maybe my offense-o-meter is broken.  Or maybe I did experimental theater for a long time and figure that being offended by someone's opinions is a choice you make and, as someone who generally prefers to be happy, it seems like a silly choice.  So, anyway, I disagree with Margaret (who is also,  by the way, a Facebook friend of mine) but I am not offended.  To be honest, I'm not 100% sure that Margaret entirely agrees with Margaret but the title and sentiment have gotten her a lot of attention and a spot on the front page of the ChicagoNow site that's how the game is supposed to be played, after all, and she played it well.

Feminism:

I'm not gonna repeat what I wrote in response to Margaret's post here.  It's public so you can read it.

But I also wanted to mention that the scariest thing to me about being a feminist right now- and I am, by the way - is the way like-minded women keep attacking each other.  In a society where politicians are defining "legitimate rape" and where Roe still hangs in the balance every time there's an election, and where a female presidential candidate is accused of being a cold bitch when she displays strength and a weak female when she tears up while her male counterparts are defined as strong or sensitive for displaying the same characteristics (and are never asked what designer they are wearing) we are not done with our need for feminism.  We are not yet equal.  But many of the ways in which we lack equality are more hidden and the people with misogynist  agendas have succeeded in making "feminist" a dirty word which is really unfortunate.

I recently did some theater with a group of very smart women in their late 20's and early 30's.  Not one of them defined herself as a "feminist."  When asked what it meant to be a feminist, one of them said something about the word referring to women who are angry about equal rights all the time.  Ummm.....what?  Now, I know for a fact that all these women are feminists by my definition. I think most women are.  But we can't seem to agree on what the term means anymore.  And we call each other names and try to take away each other's rights to call ourselves feminists and tear each other down for the personal choices we make and I can guarantee you that that is not what Gloria Steinem had in mind.  The early feminists just wanted women to be able to choose to have a career.  They did great work and made great progress.  I don't think that means that we can't now choose what is best for our families.  I think that is the whole point.  We can choose.  In fact, sometimes it isn't so much about choosing.  In my case, I would have less money if I worked.  I have a child who isn't in school yet and can't be in daycare and a nanny would cost more than I would make.  I would literally lose money and possibly bankrupt us by working outside my home.  So I "choose" to not work because that "choice" is keeping our heads above water.  Not really a choice at all.

There is still progress to be made.  There are still battles to be fought.  They are new and they look different and they are, in some ways, more insidious than ever because they aren't as obvious as fighting for the right to vote or have an abortion.  And if we are fighting amongst ourselves about something as insipid as who gets to be called a feminist and who doesn't, we cannot possibly come together to fight for what truly matters.

And I have a daughter...whom I have raised heretofore as a mostly SAHM...and I really need us to come together and make her world a better place.

M'kay?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: depression, feminism, SAHM

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  • You are absolutely correct in that early feminists made great progress, however, that progress has come to a screeching halt by women who choose to sit on the sidelines and complain about equal pay and rights in the workplace instead of continuing the cause. Women have their choice, but when faced with continuing feminists causes they consistently choose to stay at home with the kids.

  • In reply to the1russ:

    It's true, I think, that choosing to be a SAHM does not further the feminist agenda. It just doesn't. I agree. Sometimes I have to make choices that are right for me and my family even if they don't further my political agenda. But I further the cause in other ways - in the way I vote (which I do VERY carefully - including tracking the judges) and in the way I raise my children of both genders, and in the donations I make, and in the way I use my voice because that is what I am able to do. Career vs SAHM is just one of many choices I can make that has an impact. The other choices I make are decidedly feminist. At the next election, I'm gonna sit in the corner at my polling place and rip up the Feminist Membership cards of anyone who says "Do I have to vote for these judges? Cause I've never heard of any of them." There are lots of ways to be a feminist.

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