Current times are very odd. People want to push you to extremes, to categorize people within those extremes, and not let you define things yourself.
It’s polarizing and difficult to navigate.
Within my relationship with Alex, I feel so taken care of. And then I feel guilty.
I AM A WOMAN.
I N D E P E N D E N T.
“I don’t need no man”
Why do I feel guilty?
I feel as though I have a duty as a woman to uphold feminism.
I am a feminist.
But I am not what the media has portrayed a feminist as.
Being a feminist means that you want quality (politically, economically, personally, and socially) for women.
You do not need to hate men to be a loyal feminist. In fact, you can be a man and a feminist. It doesn’t make you “less”, it makes you MORE.
Women want equality, not to be above…
So WHY do I feel guilty?
I feel like others could see my relationship as me conforming – that I am making myself less by being a wife and having such adoration and respect for my Husband. This is not the case.
Here’s the thing:
I don’t NEED no man, but I want MY man.
I enjoy Alex taking care of me, but I also know that I could take care of myself if I needed to.
My devotional this morning mentioned this and it hit HARD. And it included words that resonated so deeply with me.
I am dependent on him, but not so dependent that I am handicapped by it.
“A balanced independence is what we should seek, and to me that is being able to trust and depend on God and other people and yet establish my individual identity.”
(Joyce Meyers, The Confident Woman Devotional)
Alex lights my soul on fire.
And while I can live without him, I have no desire to.
This does not make me less of a feminist, less of a woman, less of a person, less of a crusader for equality, or less independent.
It is a balanced independence.
Now I am going to dive into the arguments I have seen presented in reference to feminism and marriage and my take on it:
- The virtues of marriage contribute to the traditional gender roles.
- Beyond a certain age, men who are unmarried are thought of as independent, while women at the same age are assumed to be desperate or unwanted.
- Unmarried men are referred to as “bachelors” while women are often called “spinsters” – there is no polite term for an unmarried woman.
- Marriage puts women in a subordinate position.
- Weddings are “sexist” (Permission to kiss the bride, the woman is kissed, the man kisses, the woman is in a frilly dress, the bride takes the man’s name).
OK: It was honestly hard for me to read the article that included these arguments. I personally don’t agree with them, and that’s ok if you disagree with me. I think that these could be valid, but not in my case. I think that society has perpetuated a lot of these concepts and a lot of marriages could feel like this.
I think there are a few main reasons why I don’t relate to the 5 comments above:
- My relationship is founded on mutual respect for one another.
- We have antiquated our roles within our relationship in a way that we both feel comfortable with the roles we have.
- While the third point is the most prominent in my mind – I will not refuse to spend the rest of my life with the love of my life, in the name of solidarity. I can fight the good fight, fight for equality, and fight the “labels” even if I have merged my life with another.
- While there are traditions within weddings that can come across as sexist, I believe that it is up to the couple to decide how they want their wedding to go. I want a white dress. I want to be beautiful and pampered, and again – that does not make me “less”. That would only make me “less” if I were doing it to appease my husband or others. I know that if I told Alex I didn’t want to wear a white dress, or I didn’t want to follow any tradition within the wedding, he would be completely fine with it.
- Women who shame other women for living their life differently than them, for not standing “steadfast for the cause” – those are women I would not like to surround myself with.
- We are not wedded to outdated gender expectations.
- We do not perpetuate these gender expectations; we hold each other to a higher standard. We are able to work as a TEAM, and grow as a team – and honestly? Better help others see that it is an equal playing field.
- In the end? It depends on the two people entering into a decision that is best for them. Alex recognizes me as a human being, he treats me as an equal, he is aware that my happiness/pleasure is also important, he is not sexist, and we have extremely open conversations about anything and everything. He does not delegitimize anything I do/say because of my sex.
- He knows I’m awesome and never tries to dull me.
- We don’t need to be married to love each other and commit to forever, we just want to. AND, when it comes to taking his last name? It was a conversation we had together and I decided that I wanted to take his last name. I again, have a friend (HI KaS!) That decided to forego taking her husbands last name, and that is great! Because her and her husband had the conversation, she made a decision, and he respected that decision. It doesn’t make her a better feminist, or less of a wife – It just makes her – HER!
I grew up in a loving home that was built with mutual respect for one another. I also grew up in a Christian home where women were taught to love and serve their husbands. I serve my husband, but he also serves me. I am not subordinate in my relationship and I am not handicapped by my marriage.
I have friends who don’t believe in marriage. Who think that it’s a stupid thing (for lack of better words) and who think that they can love and cherish each other forever without a wedding, or a piece of paper from the government, or rings on their left hands.
THAT IS FINE.
I have no problem with that because it’s not my place to sit and preach marriage to those not wanting to do it.
I may not fully understand it, but I fully respect them and their decisions.
I just ask that you respect mine, and you allow me to love and serve without condemnation and guilt put upon me.
I want to love my HUSBAND and I want to show people that a marriage of equality and feminism is possible.
People are so unique and different and experience life in so many different ways than the way you have. Those experiences shaped them and their beliefs and honestly? That’s cool as heck.
It’s a little ‘easier’ for me because I fit the societal standards. I’m young, I’m married, I took his last name, I had a wedding – I am not frowned upon. And I hate that. (I don’t hate not being frowned upon, I hate that those who are living their lives the way they want and a life that doesn’t sound like mine? ARE frowned upon.)
How do we change this?
How do we make people realize that some women don’t want to get married and that’s okay?
How do we make things less sexist?
How do we make it so older women who aren’t married – aren’t called spinsters or frowned upon?
It all starts with you.
Don’t make comments that marginalize the aforementioned population just because they don’t fit the norm.
And don’t tell women who want the norm that they can’t be feminist and are actually allowing sexism to happen.
(Mostly just be kind!)