Building My Soapbox

Playing with shapes I recently discovered that I am a feminist. For eight years, my husband had been trying to convince me that I am and I never believed him. I grew up watching the angry, ugly feminist stereotypes displayed in movies and thought that was all there was to it. Feminists are female chauvinists, and all they do is yell at men for their problems while not lifting a finger to actually do something. I hated them. I had somehow managed to disassociate them from women’s rights activists. I know now that I was wrong, but that was the image I had for most of my youth and up to my early thirties. I realized he was right when we were arguing a point on women in the workplace and he started laughing at me for my rant. His laugh wasn’t to make fun of my opinion, he had explained. He was laughing because he could not understand how I could make my arguments and not be a feminist. I don’t blame men for all my problems; I don’t have do that to be a feminist. I just have to expect equality to be a feminist. That was the key word for me: expect. So much of the world revolves around expectations, both good and bad. There are all kinds of expectations for each gender, but I don’t find many expectations that apply to both genders equally. In many ways, I find the equality problem lies with men settling for less than they deserve. When I use the term “gender equality”, I do include that men should have equal capability of receiving alimony and being a stay-at-home parent. I also think it should have equal respectability. We respect women who stay at home with their children, why don’t we as a society respect men who do the same? We have also become accustomed in our society to women taking on greater roles in the workplace without expecting men to take on greater roles in the home. How did we do that? Why are we staying up all night to do housework and then trying to put in the same or better job performance to our male counterparts who likely had less housework? I believe in a life balance that moves and shifts with work responsibilities between both parties in a marriage. My husband and I split the housework depending on who is more exhausted or stressed from work or whose hours were longer that day. It’s not a perfect system and it involves up shifting and down shifting for promotions and such, but we make it work. For me, the most important thing was not feeling like I have to rush home from work to do a bunch of housework while he relaxes. I know this is a classic stereotype but it’s one that always terrified me. Setting up the right expectations for the kind of wife I was planning on being was important to me. I didn’t want there to be any doubts or built up expectations. If he couldn’t handle sharing the housework, there was no way that we were going to work out. I had too many ambitions for my life to let a little laundry stand in the way of achieving my goals. Likewise, it’s nice to come home to someone that helps you get back on that proverbial horse when you’ve had a bad day. I sincerely wish that for everyone, which is why I decided to build my soapbox and stand on it. My Promise to the Reader

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