Confession: I’m a White-Picket-Fence Feminist

photo by Jim Brickett

Our contributor Abby Spector, who is majoring in Feminine/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, has a confession to make:

My armpits are hairy. I study gender and sexuality. The Birkenstocks in my closet are held together by duct tape. If it were the sixties, my bra would probably be burning in the town square (if women had actually done this, which they didn’t). All roads lead to feminist (if not die-hard lesbian). But I have a secret that would shock my combat-boot clad, non-conformist sisters: I dream of becoming a housewife.

This is not because I love taking out the trash or organizing placemats around a seasonal wreath. Trust me, I have no desire to become the next Martha Stewart. I just want to fall in love with someone for the rest of my life, have kids with him, and watch those kids grow up. I want to be there for Clementine’s first step, Milo’s first taste of solid food and Delilah’s first look of confusion when she sees a woman shaving her legs.

I don’t think this fantasy is rooted in traditional sexism. Growing up, my mom worked a 9-5 while my dad stayed home. She made more of the money; he made more of the food. It wasn’t until we got cable that I realized our family dynamic was different. But even then, our strange set-up didn’t faze me; I had other fish of the familial variety to fry (my sister and I were constantly fighting, my cousin had just moved in and three of my grandparents had died within a two-year span). And I really didn’t give a flying fuck who washed my socks. All I cared about was having clean socks.

The point is, my upbringing was the opposite of sexist. So my dreams for my future are not just mimicking what I grew up with. In fact, at times, I think these semi-traditional dreams are rooted in rebellion against my non-traditional upbringing. Scholars would name this phenomenon “fourth wave feminism”, “post-modern modernism” or something else equally wordy and pretentious. To me, it’s life.

I am not ashamed to admit I dream about my future wedding. And I’ll be the first to admit that these dreams are far more elaborate than the occasional online browsing of Vera Wang gowns. I have the whole thing planned. My fantasy even has a budget. There is a three-tier cake and a bouquet of sunflowers on every table. But I won’t just follow the traditions blindly — I’ll put my own personal touches on them. My sister will do the vows, my guests will sleep in tents and my dress will NOT be white (the idea of me, a sex-writer and naked model, pretending to be a virgin is a hoot). And I will tattoo the ring onto my finger, a guarantee that it will never be lost.

My family life will follow a similar form of unconventional convention. Entire walls will be covered in flags, bumper-stickers and postcards. All of my kids, no matter their gender, will be given trucks and dolls. I will teach them every Ani Difranco lyric and how to cut a T-Shirt into a halter-top. Diva cups will be in the bathroom instead of tampons. Best of all, I’ll give them sex talks that will blow their mind.

Some see my dream of being a stay-at-home mom as a waste of my education. But I love learning for the sake of learning. I feel as though raising my children will stimulate this desire for curiosity more then a wall of a cubicle would. Plus, a degree in Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies doesn’t exactly put me on the fast track to career success. In my white picket fence dream (yes, my dream home has a white picket fence…the kids draw on it with chalk in the summer), I will still be a writer. I have a desk overlooking the back-yard where I work for the “Dear Abby” section of the local paper. Or I am the occasional sex therapist. Or I teach erotic finger painting at a nearby nursing home. Whatever this “other” activity is, it won’t be how I define myself. First and foremost, I will be a mother.

I know that marriage and the nuclear family is a screwed-up social construction. I’ve even written papers on the topic. But this argument is based on logic (and a desire to get an A). My happiness is not logical. My choices are not logical.  What I’ve discovered is that you have to look past all forms of the ‘stereotypical’ woman. Some feminists shop at Victoria’s Secret. Some lesbians vote Republican. And some housewives wear combat boots. Being a feminist is about having the right to choose what you do with your life. My choice (as of today) is to be a stay-at-home mom. Therefore, I am a feminist.

Abby Spector


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13 Comments on "Confession: I’m a White-Picket-Fence Feminist"


Lucy
4 years 3 months ago

I want the same exact thing. It isn’t that far-fetched for a feminist to want these things. Focusing on the upbringing of your family is a beautiful thing, it’s not for everyone but if you have a passion for it then why deny yourself? Feminism is about being true to your self as a woman. Whether your happiness lies in the workplace or in the home, baking an apple pie, is inconsequential. Your happiness is the most important thing.

JenH
4 years 3 months ago

Right…. Alpha Cat. I’m Lazy because I stay at home. For me… it’s a necessity because my child has Cystic Fibrosis and can’t be in day care and live a completely normal life. I spend 3 hours a day just on his medications (11 meds to be exact). 2 hours a day cleaning (because that’s a necessity when you have a child with CF) and the rest of the day I actually try to do things to bring in money, which is also my release of stress…Which I didn’t have at all for the 10 months that my child was in the hospital and going through multiple organ transplant evaluation and living in another state for months to receive medical treatment- at the same time acting as a single mom because my husband had to stay in our home state to work. Yes, my situation isn’t the norm, but how DARE you judge without knowing what it’s like for anyone! Being a regular mother and housewife is stressful enough.

Yes, I may have some more freedom *sometimes* with my time, but just because I don’t bring home a big paycheck does not mean I’m not working!!! I dare you to spend a month at home with kids and do everything that a spouse would do to keep the house up. Something tells me you’d be curled up in a fetal position asking when it was going to end- inside of a week.

Joyce
4 years 3 months ago

Alpha Cat’s comment really pisses me off!
You aren’t lazy if you are a housewife. I spent
five hours (FIVE HOURS) on my feet organizing
me and my fiance’s closet the other day.

The floors need to be swept–we have
a german shepherd in the house–after sweeping
comes moving everything out of the kitchen and
diningroom to mop. Let it dry. Then I vacuum every room.
I dust the living room and the bedrooms twice a week.

Then the bathrooms are next. Be prepared Alpha Cat
to spend a couple of hours in each once a week. The
garden tub, shower, and toilet will need properly scrubbed.
The floors are next! Sweep then mop.

Ok, then there are the little things: laundry, dishes,
making the bed, garbage, grocery shopping, COOKING,
cleaning after supper….

IF we had children, I would be EXHAUSTED!

Being a housewife isn’t an easy job. It’s hard work. But,
it’s also rewarding too especially if you have children. They
would have a comfortable house to come home to. Kids
deserve that… I have to give a lot of respect to women who
do this every single day. They are tough ladies! More power
to them if they have a degree, as well.

I’m in college becauseI will need to work. But, how awesome would it be if I got to study what I wanted and was able to raise a family?

Great article by the way!!! I LOVE it. Alpha Cat, you are
a moron.

Lisa
4 years 3 months ago

Will somebody please remove Alpha Cat’s comment? Not because censorship is a good thing, but because it almost put me to sleep with what a cliche it is. If I wanted to go to yawnerxeroxedantifeministpropaganda.com I would.

Alpha Cat
4 years 3 months ago

You’re just lazy. Like most women, they’d rather stay at home and have the man work every day for the rest of his life to support the family… because staying at home is SUCH a hard job….. *sarcasm*

Feminism is destroying society.

Listen to this educational broadcast by Tom Leykis please: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVWbwfSIy3Q