Whose feminism?

Okay, I have finally come to a firm opinion on Wonder Women (I know you are relieved). It’s a good book because it has caused me to think, a lot. As I mentioned in an earlier post, much of it is literally foreign to my experience. This certainly includes every reference to feminism in the entire book. I consider myself a feminist because I believe women should have equal rights, equal opportunities in education, careers and sports, and equal pay. Moreover, I have no problem being a bitch about it when that doesn’t happen. When someone says, as a venture capitalist wrote last year, that only young single men are going to succeed in start-ups because they don’t have families or mortgages to worry about, it’s just a fact, I asked, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Reading Spar’s book, I was continually shaking my head that there were people out there who really thought like she said she used to (but no longer does, apparently). It never occurred to me that feminism meant not wanting to get married or hating men. I don’t hate anybody, although there are some individuals I hold in contempt or just find plain fucking annoying.

I always wanted children and my main reason for getting married was that I believe a good marriage is the best model for raising children. (A bad marriage isn’t the best model for anything.) While it’s true that medical technology now allows women to decide when to have children, to stop the biological clock, I had my first child when I was 24, the second at 27 and the third at 28. Then I had my fourth one when I was 39. My family planning went like this – I had sex, when I got pregnant, I planned on having a baby, because that’s how it works. I did not “time” my children because there is no such thing as a good time to have a baby, in my opinion. You’re never going to be ready and it’s always going to be a lot of work, so you may as well just have them when they come. Yes, I wanted four children. In fact, I wanted six or eight but my husband had an accident and then died, so that threw a wrench in the works as far as those plans went. So … according to this – I’m a prefeminist?

On the other hand, I could care less about a big wedding or fancy engagement ring. When I married my late husband, I actually got an engagement Macintosh – I told him if he was going to spend thousands of dollars what I really wanted was this new computer Apple was coming out with. So, he bought it for me and a small ring just because he thought I should have one. The Invisible Developer just had my wedding ring re-worked with more diamonds and rubies and a big diamond, for our 16th anniversary. That was nice of him, but totally unnecesary. So … I’m post-feminist?

The feminists Spar discusses seem to me as if someone had looked at the Westboro Baptist Church and then described that as “Christianity”. I’m a Christian but I don’t hold signs outside of funerals of young soldiers saying “God hates fags”. I know people like that exist, but again, it’s a foreign concept to me.

I’m not sure I buy into Spar’s supposed biological arguments either about the division of labor. How having breasts and being the one equipped to feed The Spoiled One makes me the logical choice to drive her to soccer practice 13 years later is reasoning that just escapes me. It would seem the opposite, that now it is her father’s turn. The division of child-rearing by gender is NOT universal, according to our cultural consultant on 7 Generation Games, Dr. Erich Longie. He tells me that from a young age, the Dakota boys were raised by the men, and girls by the women.

So, yes, Wonder Women made me think about a lot of topics I had just taken for granted. Now I’m going to go back and finish the other two books I was reading. (Professional Jquery – HIGHLY recommended, and Biostatistics in Public Health – for the class I’m teaching in November)

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