Can a stay at home mum also be a feminist? Hell yes she can! I AM that stay at home mum, I AM that feminist. As I’ve written previously I choose to be a stay at home parent. The emphasis here is CHOOSE TO. And that is what a lot of people don’t understand. I had a fairly successful job, I have decent qualifications and I decided to stay at home to look after my first born. People often ask “when are you going back to work?” As if it’s a given, it’s not. I’ll go back to paid work one day, hopefully when my children no longer need me at home. Believe it or not I enjoy being there for my children and, dare I say it, my partner. Shock horror, a housewife (of sorts)!! I guess I like looking after them while they need me to. Does that mean I’m not a feminist? Bollocks does it?! Where does it say that a feminist cannot also be a nurturer?
I’m a pretty strong woman, I was raised by a single mum who was both a pussycat and lioness and she passed these traits on to me. I like wearing make up and attempting to make myself look pretty. Who do I do it for? Me (and the general public at large)! Do I wear a bra. Christ, yes! Yes I do. Otherwise I’d be tripping over my own nipples (I shit you not). Does this mean I’m not a feminist? No, no it doesn’t. Again, choice. The Oxford English dictionary describes feminism as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes”. By staying at home does that make me less equal to my partner? No! No! No! Yes I do the washing and ironing and cook dinner (we would, quite frankly, die if the latter was left up to him) but that’s not because it’s expected of me. I enjoy it (mostly). Probably more so than I did my office job. How many jobs can claim to have the job satisfaction of keeping two young boys alive? To watch them grow, no, thrive. To teach them to be kind to all, young and old, men and women, black and white, pretty, handsome, disfigured? Watch as their sense of humour develops? Not many I’d wager. I’m shaping the young men of the future. Men who, I hope, will respect women and be feminists themselves.
To my horror since starting school Big L has begun to be influenced more and more by other children (part of me would like to home educate but that’s another story). There is now talk of things that are for boys and other things for girls. Star Wars is apparently for boys. What a joke! I bloody introduced him to Star Wars, when I reminded him of this fact he said “But you’re not a girl, Mummy” “Oh yes I am, Darling”. I play Minecraft with him (and actually quite enjoy it). And when he says “girls can’t do such and such” I ask him to explain why not. I do most of the DIY around the house, being brought up by a single mum also made me very self sufficient. We don’t have “blue” or “pink” jobs in our house. We both take out the bins, fill the dishwasher and run the vacuum cleaner around although I am obviously far superior at all of these jobs (it’s a major fault of mine that I just cannot let someone else do something around the house without thinking I’d do it better myself, yes I am a dishwasher rearranger). I also do most of the driving, if you are you getting the impression I’m a control freak it’s probably because I am!
Feminism should not be a dirty word. For some it conjures up images of unshaven legs and armpits (look it’s winter, OK?), bra burning, men hating, non make up wearing women. It shouldn’t. I’m none of those things but I’m sure as hell a feminist. I watched the film Suffragette recently and was so proud of the characters portrayed in it. How can we see feminism as a bad thing when women in the UK were only granted the right to vote as an equal to men (over 21) in 1928, women over 30 having previously been granted the right to vote in 1918. We still have a long way to go and without feminists we’d be stuck in a rut with no vote, married to men that possibly were not our chosen partner. All the time the clothing section in children’s stores is pink and pastel on one side and blue, green and brown on the other, or the majority of MPs are men feminism will be needed. I won’t apologise for being a feminist, I’m proud to be a woman and I’m pretty sure I’m a good female role model for my sons whether I am a stay at home parent or an astronaut.