I thought the first entry on my blog about how I knew I was a feminist as a child would be a good place to start.
**Possible Trigger Warning – Before I begin, please note I do not think there is anything wrong with being a housewife, homemaker or stay at home mum, if it is your choice then that is great, I respect you and it is none of anyone’s business. It just is not the choice for me. My opinion is not based on housewives/homemakers/stay at the home mums, my opinion is on the stigma and the expectations based around these roles.**
I have been a feminist since before I even realised or understood what feminism meant, as a child I was very observant especially towards topics that interested me and I remember being young and wondering why my mum ran the home when Dad would say it was his. Little did I know at the time this was the natural feminist in me already questioning why men and women were different and what stands out the most from these memories was that, I really didn’t like it.
Growing up my Mum was a housewife, a homemaker, a stay at home mum, whatever you want to call it, to me it seemed more like slavery. My Dad was a builder, hard working I must say, he would play an active role in making money from work and doing up old furniture to re sell and he ensured none of us went without.
I do understand why my Mum was a housewife, there was quite a few of us kids so the idea of going to work on top of what she was already doing for us all would have been nearly impossible.
To be fair (and equal) Mum didn’t work, so it was fair she looked after the home whilst Dad went to work, I understood the logic in that and never had a problem with it. But our household would confuse me because when Dad finished work for the day, put his feet up and was waited on for the rest of the evening, I would wonder when Mum would be finished for the day. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t make his own drink or why he couldn’t run his own bath, when he told us we had to do those things ourselves. As we all got older Mum did go to work, I naively believed as she worked now the household duties would be shared between Mum and Dad but nothing changed. and I was disappointed.
I wouldn’t change my upbringing though and we all had good lives, sadly my dad passed away two years ago and still was as hard working even when he was ill. Despite my views I loved my Dad, I would be lying if I said I didn’t resent him at times when he treated me and the my brothers differently. He played a more active role in supporting my brothers football more than my dance shows which made me sad of course, so I would do anything to try and get his attention. At first I would follow his love of animals and nature and as I got older I continuously proved I was fiercely independent, more so than my brothers. For example, I would do my own painting in my home just so I didn’t have to ask my Dad (a man) to help me, I honestly believe this was partly feminism and partly wanting to impress my Dad with my independent skills.
I accept that was how things were back then, it was how things ran through generations and many women did stay at home but I didn’t want to follow in my Mums footsteps of being a housewife, it was never going to be an option nor a choice for me. I could of naturally followed but I always felt as if I rebelled against the idea of myself being a housewife, I had zero interest in asking how to run a household as a housewife, so when I moved out I realised I didn’t know how to use a washing machine or an a iron and the only thing I could cook was baked beans on toast. My mum didn’t teach these things because stubborn me never let her, so being independent I taught myself and it really wasn’t that difficult. I enjoy cooking, baking and cleaning and I love that it is my choice and I do not do it because it is expected of me.
Now in modern society women are continuously proving we are equal, we can keep up with men and we have fought for our rights for a number of years now, why is there still an issue? Why is there still an expectation of women to be the homemakers when we work too.
The expectation of women is something I notice instantly about a household and a workplace and it does nothing but irritate me, I have had many many comments made towards me in both home and work environments because I am female, both my partner and male colleagues have learnt this over the years but that is not to say it has been easy, I am happy to contribute to an equal environment and I am too stubborn in one that is not.
Growing up, haven’t my eyes been opened to so many more issues surrounding women other than what is expected of a woman in the home? So I think that is enough for today, I will save the rest for another day.
But notice how throughout life I always wondered why men and women weren’t equal? Equality is what real feminism is about.
Do I know everything there is to feminism? No, but I am still learning about issues surrounding women’s rights and feminism around the world. I wanted to share my views on something that feels so natural to me as I am a proud feminist because I advocate for women’s rights. And I will always be a feminist because I have wanted and will always want men and women to be treated equally.