Feminism and Motherhood

People often assume that, just because I married a woman, I am a feminist. Of course I am pro- equality and emancipation. Your worth should not be determined by whether you are male or female, black or white, gay or straight, rich or poor.  But I don’t identify as a feminist. I don’t believe men and women are equal in all ways. And this is not a value judgement. More like a cold fact made very clear to me when we wanted to have a baby. It’s that simple. As women we are not equal to men. Otherwise my wife and I would have been able to get pregnant without the help of a man.

I’m not writing this to put lesbians or women on a lower level than men or straight couples. Because I love being married to a woman and I think women in general are awesome, strong, smart and beautiful individuals.  I’m just sharing with you my experience and feelings. Biggest experience or confrontation with inequality based on the difference between men and women: definitely trying to get pregnant. Biggest feeling when it comes to feminism: maybe laziness. But probably efficiency. Let me explain.

FeminismIf my car needs a new tire, if something needs heavy lifting or if my MacBook is doing something I don’t understand or want, I call a man. And even though I might be a little lazy, it has more to do with an understanding that some things just occur much faster and with a lot less frustration and loss of energy if you let someone else handle it. This annoys my wife, who is definitely a feminist, even though she would never call herself one. But I love efficiency. If a guy can change my tire in ten minutes, I’m not going to struggle and sweat for two hours just to prove I am just as capable as a man. I carried a baby in my belly for nine months, pushed her out of my vagina and have been breastfeeding her for fifteen months: I am capable. I don’t need to be able to fix my own computer to feel capable.

I do have to admit I have become a lot more relaxed with the whole not-a-feminist-thing when I got pregnant. I told my wife ‘I’m not going to give birth AND fix things around the house’. She listened to my message (and hormones) and took the nine months to learn how to drill holes in walls, hang up stuff, assemble furniture, fix things, build fences. I love her.

I decided to take seven months maternity leave after Aya was born and cut down on my hours once I went back into the office. Obviously this had serious consequences for my career. But true freedom, for me, means being able to make this choice as well. And not be afraid of what other people think about this – because, let’s face it, ‘feminism’ has taught us not to let kids ‘interfere’ with our careers. You might want to say “but women have fought hard so you can be a mother and have a career”. I like to think women have fought hard so I can make that choice for myself.

Because I think that’s the beauty of women (in my part of the world); they have the opportunity to choose what they want to excel in. If it’s cars or computers: cool. If it’s make-up and clothes: lovely. If it’s medicine or law: great. If it’s babies and family: go for it. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure it’s what you want to do. What your heart tells you to do. Not because you want to prove you are the equivalent of a man. Because it’s totally fine to call a guy to do the things you can’t or don’t want to do yourself. Just let everybody do what they are good at. It’s a waste of time to assemble an Ikea closet if it’s going to take you twice as much time as your brother in law and sucks the joy the vivre right out of you. Don’t go against the wind. Just work hard on your dreams so you can fill up that closet 😉

So don’t hate me for not being all ‘we can do it’. I definitely don’t approve of oppression or discrimination. I believe the kindness and love you spread define you, not your sex, race, sexuality, religion or bank credit. And given a fair chance, I think we are all capable of spreading love and kindness.

Thanks for reading

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