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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Uterus.

That blog title is likely to get me some hits, don't you think?

I come from a long, long line of fiercely independent women. I wouldn't go so far as to call it entirely feminist, since we were "feminists" long before that was an actual thing. On my mother's side, we were frontierswomen, blazing trails and breaking laws as we saw fit. My great-grandmother graduated summa cum laude and was a Fullbright scholar and Guggenheim Fellow. On my father's side adversity was overcome and my grandmother, despite having to leave her beloved church because of it, divorced her abusive husband. Before that, she raised six kids while working three jobs to support them.

None of us has been dependent on a man. Ever.

When I first became a mother, I wanted sons. Girls are a pain-in-the-ass (we really are) and I wanted nothing to do with them. I was and am determined to raise my sons to be feminists, to understand and appreciate womanhood and the strength that women possess; to be in awe of it instead of lusting after it.

Aside from the occasional booby jokes, the evidence shows that I'm doing OK in that department. The Monkey is friends with more girls than guys and has a healthy respect for girls. The one girl he has a serious crush on, he won't ask out because "he'd rather have her in his life as a friend than ask her out and risk losing her." The Nugget says things like, "I'm going to make sure my sister only has boyfriends that love her."

Not that she'll need protecting, but it's nice to know that The Nugget is already polishing his guns.

Anyway...

As I got older and American society has degraded back into thinly veiled misogyny, and after birthing a daughter, I realized that merely teaching my sons to be in awe of women is not enough. To raise them to be feminists is not enough. To be loyal and good to their mother and sister is not enough. But I don't know what "enough" is.

Because I'm scared, y'all. I'm scared that women are allowing themselves to be subjugated again. I'm terrified that my daughter's reproductive choices will no longer be rights that she can decide on for herself. There's a distinct possibility that we're heading back to a time when women went to college to find a husband rather than get an education and have a career. As it is, more often than not, women have to choose between having a family and having a career.

That scares me. To no end.

I'm going back to work full time on Friday and leaving The Lady Gray with a nanny. It breaks my heart to have to do this because I'd so much rather spend all day trying to make her smile and now I'll be paying someone else to do that. But that has nothing to do with not wanting a career. If I did end up quitting my job to stay home with her, I'd spend her nap times trying to start up a freelance copywriting/advertising business with a side of hand-made goods on Etsy. Shit... I'd do that even without a baby at home.

Here's the thing, I go without sleep to get work done. I wake up with the baby in the middle of the night. I cook. I clean. I pay my bills. I make more money than The Fiancee™. He gets home from work and waits for dinner to be made. He spends a few precious moments with the baby and then he's in bed and asleep, usually, by 9:30 every night.

This isn't to say that The Fiancee™ is lazy or I'm better than him, but more to say that, as a woman, I'm more capable of getting shit done than most men. Countless studies prove that the tendency for men to think linearly puts them at a disadvantage to women, who can think in broader terms and tackle more at once.

Either that scares men or it makes them think, "Shit. Well, I can just sit back and let her handle it all." Or maybe it's a combination of the two. And it's the fear of the almighty vagina that has the collective man figuring out ways to shut our power down. They're starting with our right to choose what to do with our own bodies -- as if we're so much breeding stock for their holy seed. And now they're going after our right to work, saying that women going out to the work force began the degradation of American society.

The Fiancee™ wants another baby. I don't. I'm not having another one. End of discussion. If, perchance, I did get pregnant again, I would terminate the pregnancy. Because it's my right to do so and I don't want to put my body through that again. Carrying The Lady Gray took a huge toll on my body. I'm still recovering from it and it's not an experience I'd like to relive. He'll be pissed and it might be a breaking point for our relationship, but my right to choose not carry another pregnancy to term is mine alone to decide. As soon as he stops masturbating, I'll let him have a say in my reproductive decision-making.

But here's the really scary part -- women are allowing this shit to happen! We're more concerned with looking good to men than we are about being relegated to the kitchen. How in the hell did that happen? Actually, I know how that happened. 

All of this disjointed blogging is to say that we need to raise our children to fight for the equality of the sexes. It's not enough to raise our sons to be feminists. It's not enough to teach them that a woman's reproductive choices are hers. It's not enough to teach them how to cook or to love their sisters. We need to teach our daughters that the fight for our rights is never ending. We need them to not be complacent. We need to teach them that pink was originally a boy color (it was. Look it up). And we need their first word to be vagina.

 

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