It’s International Women’s Day (March is Women’s History Month) and plundering through all of the gazillion articles, claims, promises, defeats and rhetoric, there’s one thing that no one seems to understand: you can’t box a woman into a single label. Ask any woman – she’ll tell you it’s so. Of course, there’s one description that most women say they identify most with, whether it’s feminist or mother or determined or traditional or independent or weak, and that’s OK. But every woman on the planet will identify with nearly ever label at some point, even if only briefly. If there are any of those labels that tend to flounder in our modern day, it’s traditional. That’s too bad, because for those of us who do feel we’re more traditional in this aggressive, contemporary society, it seems like the word “traditional” equates to repressed or left behind or even weak. So, with that in mind, to balance out those who are roaring “feminists rule”, I thought it’s about time to show how even we traditional women still possess a few feminist tendencies.
Don’t Sweat the Laundry Hamper – I Got This
In my house, the traditional roles rule. It’s all about image. With a few exceptions (no one’s perfect), you’ll find everything tidy. Everything has a place. Clothes are folded and color coordinated before they go into the closets or dressers. The sink’s clean and dishes are put away (and no, I’ve never owned a dishwasher). You’ll find vacuum marks in the rugs, the shower curtains are color coordinated (even if it means changing the curtains on the windows). Baseboards are cleaned on Mondays, floors are mopped on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Dusting and bed linens changed on Saturdays. It’s organized. It’s neat. It’s where I feel safest. I always wanted the girl my son married to take care of him. I figured if I fixed his plate, refilled his tea glasses, then any girl he chose should do the same. Turns out, they take care of each other. I reckon he took it to heart because I see that common respect between the two of them. It’s sweet and it’s authentic.
Here’s the kicker: I live alone. Keeping that tidy house is a breeze. And I like it. I know, too, that whatever’s meant to be is going to happen. We are always right where we are supposed to be. If I fall in love tomorrow, good on me. My point is I don’t need to be married. I don’t need anything to complete me – even a marriage license or a Facebook status of “engaged” or “married”. I mean, really…no one does, right? My point is: no woman should settle. No woman should choose to marry or even agree to “date” a man she’s not feeling. Make your own rules and then live by them. Period. How’s that for being a feminist?
Money, Money, Money
Here’s the truth: I don’t care what you earn. I think there’s something that strikes the basic core of a man that demands he be the primary wage earner. And that’s OK. And it’s OK if he doesn’t. I care little about what the neighbors earn and I don’t care what my best friend’s husband earns. In fact, I hate nothing more than handling the finances. I do it because I have to, but that’s the only reason. I’ll go so far as to say there was a time when women knew little about what her husband earned, how much money was in the bank and what the retirement account held. I know that is probably the most horrifying statement for anyone – especially a woman – to say in this day and age, but there was a trust decades ago that solidified a marriage: the missus had supper cooked and her Mr. Wonderful made sure there were groceries in the cupboard so she could cook.
Here’s the kicker: I do what I want, when I want. I earn a good living. If I want to blow Wal Mart wide open at 3 a.m. (which I’m prone to do), then that’s exactly what happens. If I want to disappear for the day, there’s no one I have to ask or tell or notify or whatever you want to call it. I do what I want. Period. Hey, if Hillary Clinton can use her own email server while giving a big “screw you” to the world, I can too.
Remember last season, in House of Cards, there was this strange and fascinating dynamic between Frank and Claire? Weird as it sounds, it was almost sweet. The world beat him up, called him friendless and worthless and evil. Claire was always right there next to him, reminding him of all the good he did. It was enough, right? It was almost like she was the one source of strength between the two of them.
Now, though, this season, we see the tables turned. Frank dropped the ball and if you’ve seen the finale, you know how that ends. No matter that she is the epitome of fiery feminism, the rest of us know there’s a deeply entrenched ribbon of tradition running through her core. See? You can’t even box a fictional woman into a tidy little box.