I recently read a book in which the heroine is quite a militant feminist. She scoffs at the thought of a woman wanting to get married and have a family or any sense of a “traditional” life and thinks she’s fine on her own. And while I agree that a woman doesn’t need a man to feel complete or vice versa, being in a relationship does not mean giving up your independence as our heroine thinks.
If you’re with the right person, they won’t make you feel as if you’re dependent on them. In fact, they will help you grow as an individual.
I’ll admit to having feminist values and beliefs, but I will say that there are some things that really bother me.
Feminists are often portrayed as bitter, man-hating women who would kill a man as soon as she sees him. Now why is that? Why can’t a woman be strong and independent and still want a family? Why does it always seem to be so black and white: In order to be strong, a woman must do everything on her own, without the help of a man.
To me, feminism is just one big gray area — pretty much like everything else in life. I’ve been called a flaming feminist, which in some cases I will concede to be true. But I also eventually want a husband and a family. So what does that make me? A traditional feminist?
Something else that bothers me about feminism is this penchant for women to pass judgement and look down on other women based on their choices. Females are much harder on each other than males — of any age. Sure, a confrontation between two guys (or women) may turn physical, but those types of injuries heal faster than any emotional or psychological scarring a woman can inflict on another woman. To put it in short: Women will fuck with your mind and your emotions. And having been on the receiving end of this, I will say it is not pretty.
While I am proud to say that I have never intentionally tried to mess with another person (of any gender), I will admit I’m not innocent. I have passed judgement on other women for whatever reason and that does not make me proud.
In a behind-the-scenes special feature for the latest DVD installment, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling recalls an interview with a female journalist who called Harry’s surrogate mother Molly Weasley “just a mother.” This angered Rowling:
Now, I consider myself to be a feminist, and but I’d always wanted to show that just because a woman has made a choice — a free choice — to say, ‘Well, I’m gonna raise my family and that’s gonna be my choice. I may go back to a career. I may have a career part-time, but that’s my choice,’ doesn’t mean that that’s all she can do.
I think Rowling nailed it on the head. Feminism is about making the choice to do what makes you happy and that may mean being a stay-at-home mother. My mom stayed at home while my sister and I grew up, but that doesn’t mean she’s weak. I have seen her go toe to toe with my dad and be just as much of a force to be reckoned with as him (if not more, sometimes).
There also seems to be this notion that once you’re in a relationship your partner will want to change you and mold you into the type of person they want you to be. Or that you have to change who you are in order to have another person like you enough to want to be in a relationship with you. But once again, my favorite muggle author has got it right:
In creating Hermione, I felt I created a girl who was a heroine, but she wasn’t sexy. Nor was she the girl in glasses who’s entirely sexless. You know what I mean? She’s a real girl. She’s a girl. She’s…she fancies Ron, but her hopes initially are pretty low. She’s a real girl, but she never compromises on being a smart girl. She never compromises in acting dumb. She never tries to make Ron feel better by pretending to be less than she is, which is why they don’t get together a lot sooner. That’s the reality of life. But I’m proud of Hermione. She is who she is. And if that, you know, if that spoke to girls like me, then of course, I’m hugely, hugely proud of that! That’s what it’s all about.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.