Amidst Stereotypes, Yes I Am

I don't believe that labels should define anyone before you get to know them. Although I am a feminist, I love men. And I love the fact that I can take care of myself. My independence is important to me. In the last ten, twenty years...there was a third movement of feminism that set back and was actually redundant. Instead of promoting empowerment, it promoted negative labels and misandry.

In contrast to the hard stereotype...there was more to me. I cooked, cleaned, and have done all the regular things housewives do. I love pretty aprons, dresses, and wearing heels in the house. I actually enjoyed being a housewife. It was empowering even to embrace being feminine, curvy, soft, and gentle. Becoming a new mother was one of the greatest gifts given to me. There was more power in a gentle voice leading a cub than a strong yell scaring everyone away. I found so much joy in holding out my hand instead of raising a fist in protest.

Pregnancy now is one of the most liberating things to me. There are many things I had to give up like drinking coffee all the time. But I feel very empowered that I can take care of myself.

Marriage to was always an understanding that I viewed things differently than most traditional ideals of marriage and commitment. I wanted to finish my education before settling down or start my own business. I started my own business just a few credits shy of graduation which provided me the funds to start a life with another person.

It is not a contract to me. It is a living definition of two people coexisting, sharing soul connections, bodies and minds. It was important to me that we were both independent adults before partaking in having and raising children. The dependency should turn to them instead of to each other.

There are many ideals that are very strong and solid with me that qualifies as feminism. To many other men growing up, I was very intimidating because women just weren't as "educated" as men nor were they "physically able" to do the things men did. I naturally was able to play basketball, be a quarterback even though I was small but very fast, and I spent a lot of Saturday nights helping the guys fix their cars when they had no idea what they were doing. I could stand with the others in physics, debates, and science...while all other girls were raised to be third in place of God, men...then women. Girls were notorious in my city for being "too emotional to debate".

I knew I didn't have to be cold or play with people's emotion to prove a point or be passionate. That was were true intellect was. I didn't feel the need to compete with the guys or belittle the ladies. I felt the need to be me to my fullest potential even in circumstances that would otherwise hold me back. I didn't need to prove anything. I just knew there was so much more to me than society would allow.

Aspects that claimed me to be the weaker sex was a ruse in my eyes. I am a woman. I can take care of myself. And I am gentle enough to let people into my life. When the time comes where I am too weak to stand, I will be gracious and thankful.

I didn't really seek feminism but I grew into it when I matured into a woman. When young ladies graduated school, they took to a benefactor (usually an older man that would pay their way). Which is fine. But they were all ashamed when they spoke with me. I told them if they are happy then they should not be ashamed. But if there is reason, then they should rethink their living conditions. The problem was, they were raised to think that was it and there was nothing else. How sad that their opportunities were reduced to just a few. Other young ladies fell into the cracks doing things that were less than desirable to them...things just for money or temporary pleasure. Nothing that fulfilled true happiness.

Mind you, some of my best friends were strippers. They were very happy with their jobs. They had stable relationships. One of them was a fellow belly dancer that ******** for extra income while going to college. She was actually one of the few that did ***** for college money. Very intelligent and beautiful. She shared a mutual love for Led Zeppelin and sparkling dance veils.

The point being, the area I grew up in raised little girls to become dependent even if they didn't want to. They had to rely, and be helpless. Many of the friends I dearly loved had no idea how to take care of themselves in the city at night. They relied on men to walk them around and escort them. Often times these men would get mixed signals and situations would become complex and sometimes tragic. The city was very country minded but the actual city was very metropolitan. I often walked to my car with a lit cigarette in hand (when I used to smoke) and keys as a makeshift iron knuckle. I navigated the town alone a lot which eventually opened a few opportunities with the art scene, building solid connections my job, and just getting to know the layout on my own. There were just some things that I had to know and do when going out, but also that even when prepared, things can happen. So in a way, yes, I did have people who knew where I was. It's not being dependent but trusting in others who are friends. I walked a fine line in defining feminism. I didn't like being escorted. But I did enjoy the company of others. 

There's a little bit of southern charm, a little bit of my parents tradition with being Asian. I do like having different generations live in the same house. I do feel that when the time comes, I will drop what I am doing to take care of my parents they way they took care of me. There are certain things that I feel is a cycle of giving and receiving instead of being catered to. Though I enjoyed catering to a significant other because I loved the person and he brought me joy. Which I felt like it was an even exchange. He wanted to cater to me, then I felt it should be on his terms instead of feeling obligated, forced, or awkward. This stance made things feel genuine to me. I didn't have to cater to him, he didn't expect it...these weren't obligations. Just kindness, compassion, and love.

Stereotypes tend to reduce a person to being this or that. I however viewed feminism as embracing the very things that society tried to oppress. It was all the things I discovered as I grew older that were some of my greatest strengths. There was a new connection that I shared with other women that felt like home.

Tekkamaki Tekkamaki
2 Responses Mar 18, 2009

Thank you Carrot and Krypton! : )<br />
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I agree that it is about access and the individual. That made perfect sense to me!

Nice story Tek