Dear Amy Glass,
I am sorry. Not sorry that you look down on young women that have husbands and kids. Not sorry for you for not having a husband or kids. But sorry that you see a sliver of the world as an absolute truth. Sorry for the attitudes that you have expressed in other articles that you have written. Sorry that you are living in a mindset that seems to devalue occupations that have traditionally been female simply for the fact that they have traditionally been female, rather than choosing to look at them for what they are. Sorry that you feel that the traditionally male-defined sexuality-as-power way of approaching things is the “feminist” way.
My initial reaction to reading your post “I Look Down on Young Women With Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry” was anger. I wanted to rant on and on about people that choose to have children and a career at the same time. I wanted to rant about people that don’t choose to have children at all. I wanted to do exactly what my cat does when she feels picked on. Turn around and swipe the dog across the face even though the dog did nothing.
Then I realized that I am not angry.
In order to look down on someone you have to have a higher vantage point. To somehow see more than the person that you are looking down on.
What you are really doing, Amy Glass, is you are looking at us and you don’t understand our choices. You are making different choices that you feel better fit your life. And no one should tell you that you can’t. Maybe people are telling you that you need to get married. That you need to have babies. Maybe you’re sick and tired of hearing it and feel that is what is wrong with the world. So you are turning around like my cat and swiping the dog across the face even though the dog did nothing.
When the dog gets swiped across the face do you know what he does? All of his 64 pounds against the 10 pound cat? He backs away. He understands that she is no threat to him. He is bigger.
There are things bigger than you, Amy Glass.
I don’t have the energy to be annoyed with another person that presumes to know better what choices I should be making in my life, or what value I should place on having children. I am not your property, Amy Glass. I am not your lesser. I am not a person in your command or control. I make my own choices about my life. I choose the things that I value. No one tells me that I have to marry a man, that I have to have children, that I have to breastfeed them, that I have to wake with them in the night and whisper that I love them. I do these things as a free person. This is not society’s choice for me, it is a choice that I have made. I am a good mother.
Other women have children and careers. They work long hours and see their children mostly on weekends. Their husbands stay home, or they hire a trusted nanny who devotes every waking moment to these children that are not her own but that she loves anyway. I’ve known these women. They have shown me pictures of the child that they will not be getting home to that night. There has been love on their face and in their hearts. They take their children places, give them experiences, dote upon them, and can provide for them very well financially. They are good mothers.
I’m not sure what a female should do. A good woman. A good little feminist. Should she ruthlessly pursue financial gain? But what about the intellectual who has no interest in money but a deep passion in science? Is a passion in science a passion wasted if no monetary gain comes from it? What about the person who spends years in another country helping them to build wells to keep that country’s people and children alive? No monetary gain, no stunning intellectual feats, a risked life and for what? Simple charity to help the lives of someone else’s children. Is that something to look down on? Shouldn’t a feminist be doing something that will benefit her somehow?
In truth we all have different skills, different desires, different wants and needs and we live our lives in different orders at different paces.
If you said that you looked down on people that do nothing with their lives other than have children and depend on the support of someone else.. People that have no other goals in life… I’d still sort of view you as a feminist. But that’s not what you said. You said you look down on women that make that choice. Not people, not men. Women. You look down on women that make choices that you don’t feel are the good ones.
That’s not feminism. I’m sorry. I don’t believe that we “threw off the chains” of oppression where men could tell us what to do with our lives… Just to have a sanctimonious little girl with a narrow world view tell us what to do with our lives. Feminism isn’t about “validating” the choices that other women make. It’s about saying that those women have the right to make their choices. They have a right to an education and opportunities. And they have the right to follow their hearts and pursue their passions. They have a right to not require that someone else… Woman or man.. “validate” their choices.
You don’t own other women, Amy Glass. You are not their mommy. You are not their owner. You are not their boss. You don’t need to “validate” anything as though it’s some sort of parking ticket in the Grand Garage of Feminists.
I understand that you do not understand my choices. That much was clear in this sentence: ” Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business.” Laundry is no more the defining part of motherhood than swabbing a patients arm with an alcohol wipe is the defining part of being a doctor. No more than doodling is the defining ability of an architect. Any schmuck can dab some alcohol onto someone’s arm. That is not what being a doctor is. Anyone can pick up a pencil and draw a line on paper. That’s not what an architect is. I’m sure as hell not staying home to do the laundry.
So why am I staying home? Because I have three children. Not because of the laundry, the dishes, the diapers. But because of the experience and the investment.
Any job.. Any vocation… They all have paperwork, Amy Glass. They all have clean-up. They all have undesirable bits and pieces. Drudgery. Wastes of time. If you look only at the worthless bits of a job then you will never understand why a person might choose to work that job when surely there is some /other/ job that is more worthwhile.
If you want to look down on the job of motherhood.. Look down on the act of raising children. Look down on teaching children to read. Look down on teaching children to be compassionate and on encouraging their imagination. Look down on being a provider of experiences and a settler of disputes. Look down on the real work of motherhood, not the bloody laundry that we get stuck with on the side.
I am not here because anyone put me here. I am here because I made a choice with value. You can question that choice, sure. But in order to “look down on it” you have to somehow be something bigger than the women that have made that choice.
You’re not. You don’t even seem to have the information necessary to understand the job that we do every day. You’ve mistaken the drudge work for the vocation. You look down on it simply because it is a historically female job. Amy.. That’s not feminism.
And I am sorry. I’m sorry that you’ve missed the forest for all the trees. That you are trying to be a feminist within the world as it was once defined by men. A world where your value is defined by your beauty and your sexuality is the reason to get ahead. You still view children and homes as the possessions of men, it would seem, as that is the only possible reason that being here to raise them would be contrary to feminism. If women had no stake or investment in their own children.
I’m sorry you’ve somehow managed to misunderstand something that big.