The latest show my youngest daughter (Catherine) and I watched (oldest daughter can't stomach the show) was about them going to some homeschooling conference in Texas. They loaded up their giant bus and headed out on a road trip. When they got to the conference they showed some of the activities the kids had planned for the week. While the boys were outside rappelling down towers and having fun, the girls were inside teaching a bunch of little kids. What is wrong with this picture?
I get when you have to wear a full length denim skirt everyday that it might be hard to rappel down a tower, but the boys were having FUN and the girls were struggling to wrangle a bunch of little kids. I was so bothered by this. I wanted to see those girls outside rappelling down the darn tower. Heck, I wanted to try rappelling down the tower.
After the show was over I still couldn't get the thought out of my mind that they never showed the girls letting loose and having fun. They always have jobs to do. Even at home these girls are helping their mom wrangle younger siblings or helping with the housework.
What must it be like to grow up and always think of yourself as 2nd? I suppose some might think it noble for someone to give of themselves so much that they always put their needs last. But these girls are never even taught that it is ok to put themselves first. Are they allowed to say no at home? What if they had told someone at the conference that they wanted to rappel down the tower (denim skirt and all)? Would they have let them? Probably not, climbing towers isn't a "girlie" thing to do, that's boy/man stuff. That's what bothers me so much. The fact that they have drawn these lines of what is acceptable for the girls and what is not. Keep those girls in their place, girls needs always come after boys. Bleh!
I grew up in the 70's the age of feminism. For all the bad things people say about feminists, they have helped women progress beyond the kitchen. It is not necessarily a women's job to stay home and cook clean all day. If she chooses that, fine, but to raise girls and teach them that is the only choice for their adult lives does them a grave disservice in my book. I want my girls to know that they can do whatever they want with their lives. They get to dream and choose, it is their life. My job is to help them see all the choices that are available to them, not all the doors that are shut. I wouldn't even tell them any doors are shut to them, because I think if they encounter a shut door, then they should try to open it. If we had been at that homeschooling conference, my girls would have been telling everyone it isn't fair to make the girls teach the kids while the boys rappel down the tower. We would've been the squeaky wheel, the ones changing the rules.
To tell a woman everything she may not do is to tell her what she can do.
I realize some women say they are happy in the roles that have been assigned to them since birth. Grow up, help mom to learn how to be a mom, get married right from daddy's house, become a mom, do unto your daughters what has been done to you. I often wonder if any of these women wake up one day and wonder what happened to their life. Or are they kept so secluded, all outside life kept at bay, no tv or controversial books, that they really live in oblivion their entire lives. How sad that seems to me. To never find yourself, to never think your life had a greater purpose than to be a pawn in someone else's game.
I'm so grateful that I had parents who taught me to think for myself, to question society and it's rules and roles and determine for myself what was ok and not ok. The older I get the more I have a better sense of who I am and what I want to be. And I plan to pass that on to my daughters.
A feminist is a woman who does not allow anyone to think in her place.
~Michele Le Doeuff~