Femi-what?

I have a confession to make. I don’t really know what feminism means. I’ve tried in the past to “get it”. I really have. But it was so damn confusing and annoying I gave up. Is it equality with men? Is it anti-men? Is it the right to do whatever we want? Or the right to do what men do? Is it having to loudly and publicly oppose anything traditionally female, such as washing the dishes and folding the clothes?

Now I see that the internets are in an uproar that Kaley Cuoco doesn’t consider herself a feminist, and she likes feeling like a “housewife” and cooking her husband dinner 5 nights a week. Well, how dare she. She’s had to back track and apologise for her comments. Kaley single handedly turned the women’s rights campaign back 300 years. No, not really, but you’d think so judging by the reaction to her Red Book article.

There many things that bother me about this. In no particular order:

1. Who the hell likes to cook 5 nights a week? That in itself needs addressing.

2. If you say something, stand by it. Don’t let bullies back you in to a corner and rescind your view and opinion. I am actually more offended that she says she was “taken out of context” than I am that she said she’s not a feminist. Stand by your words!

3. So what if she – or any woman – likes to play the old fashioned role of housewife. SO WHAT? What business is it of yours?

4. Does being a bully help the cause?

5. The pioneers who paved the way for the women’s rights movement would be rolling in their graves. Could they ever have imagined that fighting for women’s rights to work, right to vote,  would ever lead to this? Women fighting amongst each other.

I thought I’d do some research on the topic. And by research, I mean I Twitter-searched hashtag feminism. Some of what I read made sense, some of it made me a bit angry to be honest. Some if it I thought just fed into other issues, such as hatred and bigotry.

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Well I have to say, I am not particularly a fan of that much intolerance and ignorance. And I’m not entirely sure that statement is helping the cause at all.

Why should any woman be looked down upon or criticised for enjoying or wanting to cook dinner and provide for her family?  Including, heaven forbid, A MAN!

Does feminism assume every man is a dominant oppressor? Perhaps I don’t understand it because, as Cuoco said, I’ve never felt or been subject to inequality. My husband does at least half the household chores – and I don’t mean just the male ones either! I have always had female bosses. I am not saying that because I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. I know it does. But I’m still confused about the whole movement.

I am all for women having the same opportunities as men. In every aspect of life. Except maybe standing up to pee – I think men have that right exclusively. So am I a feminist?

I think women should be treated with respect. But so too should men.

If a woman wants to stay home, and they can afford it, good on them. If men want to stay home, and they can afford it, good on them too.

I think women do some jobs better than men, and vice versa. I think the right person for a job should get that job, regardless of their gender. Does that make me a feminist?

I don’t like taking the rubbish out. Does that make me anti-feminist?

I have a problem with people assuming a woman can’t do the same job as a man because she’s a mum. Is that even feminist-related? Or is that mumism?

Feminism is a tricky, confusing topic. Although, this simple tweet seemed to make the most sense to me.

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15 thoughts on “Femi-what?

  1. I think that last tweet summarises it well. Plus, anyone can be a feminist male or female. It is a shame Kaley felt she had to backtrack what she said and what she believes in. If she likes cooking for her husband then great. She hasn’t sent the women’s rights campaign back 300 years at all. Argh. I see your frustration.

  2. Son funny as I subscribe to red book and actually read that article before bed last night not knowing it had caused a stir. Firstly I am a feminist and believe it means standing up for the rights of women- in the past women were not able to own things or stand on their own. I see feminism as ongoing because women’s rights are not 100% still and we still do not earn the same as men, have as much support and representation in power (CEOs, government, running big organisations etc) so I see it as advancing the cause, retaining rights (like protecting roe v wade in the usa).
    Anyway- specifically with her comments I am shocked that people feel the need to attack her. That to me is the opposite of feminism. I believe championing our right to choose anything that suits us is part of feminism. Whether that means becoming a firefighter or staying home, getting a cleaner because you hate housework or cooking because you enjoy it. In th article it sounded to me like she ENJOYS cooking for her husband which is different than a husband being a throw back and EXPECTING her to cook because he thinks it is women’s work. Big difference. Like you said she should own her words and elaborate if necessary but not apologise or change to suit e public. Xxx

    • I agree with Deb – being a ‘housewife’ is only oppressive if it’s an expectation rather than a choice. If Kaley chooses to – and even ENJOYS – doing the domestics, then what’s the problem?!

      • See you both make perfect sense to me! I can see the difference between a man expecting his woman to serve him, and a woman enjoying taking care of her man, family, house, in a more “traditional” type role

  3. I don’t really get feminism either, I think its gone a little bit over the top to be honest. I’m all for equal rights and not being oppressed but I also like being a stay at home mum and don’t like that I am now judged for that because I don’t have a career. I’ve actually been thinking about writing a post on it for a while, but I’m worried it’ll create a shit storm on the internet (you know if anyone actually reads it).

  4. I read the apology and the full answer that she gave the tabloids and like you I was more annoyed at the publications who took it out of context. Yes, her being able to even make the statement is because of feminism but she also acknowledges that her privilege probably stops her from fully understanding it. I think it’s good that people are honest and say, you know what I really don’t understand but I don’t agree with them then being attacked for it. To me feminism is about ensuring that woman are given equal opportunities. So choosing to be a housewife is actually feminism because generations before didn’t have that choice.

    • That makes sense to me too. I’m all for women having equal opportunities. We are very lucky to have the choices we have now, though in that sense of the movement, I feel like there’s still a really long way to go.

  5. I have to confess that I couldn’t tell you what feminism means either. I agree so much with what you’ve written here. I thought the same when I read her comments and the furore surrounding them – I certainly don’t relish cooking and doing the housework and all that other stuff. But if people choose to do it, regardless of gender, then who cares? That’s what bothered me the most – the fact that “feminists” feel they can judge other women for their choice. To me that is completely opposite to what feminism should be. Great post x

  6. I think what was frustrating about Kayley’s comments, was that she linked ‘not being a feminist’ with enjoying being a housewife and looking after her husband. Which means she took an antiquated notion of feminism (meaning men-hating), and implied that because she likes to look after her husband she must not be a feminist. Which is SO not true. I love looking after my husband, but I am a fierce feminist because I believe in equal social, political, legal, and economic rights for women. I think most woman are feminists if you look at the definition, but maybe are too scared/unsure/confused to say it because of the incorrect assumption that you must be super progressive, not buy into traditional roles, hate men etc. Thanks for the thought-provoking post, sorry for being a bit ranty 🙂

    • Great point, and I think you are right. “Are you a feminist?” “No, I LIKE to cook for my husband” doesn’t even really make sense. But does make you wonder if there was more to her original answer that didn’t make the article. Or maybe that is what a lot of women think feminism IS, in which case I think the movement is failing miserably. :/ Thanks for your input! It makes a lot of sense to me!

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