Thursday, April 21, 2011

If my title includes the name of someone famous, more people will read this...

To those of you wondering, I turned in the essay which was due two weeks ago.  I have also started the essay due two days ago... if the couple ideas I thought up count as "started".  I haven't even created a word document for it yet.

The semester is draining down, there's really not much going on anymore but homework.  Though the chocolate covered strawberries at lunch today were very delicious.

For the essay I haven't really started yet, we had to interview our mothers... basically with questions about their lives.  (I've done this part.)  Then we're supposed to "discuss the interview" using material we learned in class.

The class, as I mentioned, is "Psychology of Women", which is more a class on how societal factors influence women, and how we still haven't achieved equality.  It's a feminist class, really, looked at through the lens of psychology: social psychology, though, where you analyze how outside factors influence a person (the boy behaves that way because his parents fight) rather than inside factors (the boy behaves that way because he is insecure).  It has honestly been a very depressing class, often leaving me angry, or upset, or just hopeless.

I think it left a lot of us hopeless about our future, honestly, because today when we were discussing the course as a whole and our professor asked us "what are you going to do about it?" one girl gave a response that saddened me.  "I used to really want to have kids," she told us, "but after reading about all the challenges that children bring to a career, I don't really want to anymore.  I want to be able to be free, to travel and not be tied down to one location raising the kids.  I mean, I guess I could raise kids and wait to do all that, but..."

But what?  It just doesn't seem possible?  That's when it hit me.  Our class had focused on all of the negative aspects of everything and left little hope for a better future.  We were left thinking nothing was possible.  That having children would only hurt us.  That, even childless, we probably wouldn't be able to get the career of our dreams anyways.  Cause that what our male-dominated society has done to us.

Talking to my mother, however, showed me the opposite.  Rather than "we can't afford childcare so the wife chose to quit work", an attitude we were warned to look after (what kind of choice is that?), my mother wanted to be a stay at home mother, so she quit as soon as my parents could afford it.  See the difference?  It's a big one, in my mind.

It's the difference between bashing a woman's choice as an inevitable one, and allowing women the freedom to choose.  It's the difference between saying that there is only one appropriate way for women to do things in order to be equal, and realizing that maybe telling women what to do in the name of feminism is just as bad as telling them what to do in the name of sexism.

I'm not saying I haven't loved this class.  I'm not saying that I think all women should be stay-at-home moms.  I'm not saying I don't think the system is pretty screwed up as it is.

What I'm saying is that feminism shouldn't scare women into thinking they can't have the life they want to live... as long as the choice truly is a choice, and not just a need they convinced themselves they wanted.

... okay, I think I can start my essay now.

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