Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feminist No More {My Bigger Picture Moment}

Bigger Picture Moment

Welcome to the Bigger Picture Moment, where we breathe in and find the beauty in the bigger picture.

We hope you've found some time to find your Bigger Picture Moment. Join us by linking up to your post {not your main blog page} below, link back to us in your post, and then spend some time enjoying the other moments.

Maegan will be hosting next week, so come back and play again!

When I was growing up I fashioned myself a feminist. Anything boys can do I can do BETTER. I had lots of boy friends, but I didn't need boys to do anything for me. Nothing set me off more than watching how dependent my mother was on all the men in her life. Her theory (I'm sure in part due to when and where she grew up) was why should I do something if I can get a man to do it for me. To this day I am sure I can count on one hand the number of times my mother has pumped her own gas. Even as full service stations went out of style my mom knew where she could get an attended to do it for her. 

I marched off to college with my head held high, my feminist hat on. I had no intention of earning an MRS degree I was there to do anything the boys did and do it better. Well as you can guess that hat was knocked off. First by an actual feminist (professor of women's studies) that spewed so much hate from her mouth under the guise of "women's rights" that I vowed to never use the word feminist to describe myself again. Then I met my husband.

He was an old fashioned guy.

He didn't care if I could do it myself, he wanted to do it for me. 

We bumped heads a lot those first few years. I think it was on one of our first dates where he accused my of racing to the door so he couldn't open for me (for the record I wasn't). He was a good sport too. He would let me struggle and struggle and struggle knowing that I would never ask for help and he would try not to snicker to loudly. He would sit idly by until I became exasperated and asked him to do something I was not strong enough to do. 

He was gone all last week for a business trip. While he was gone and I struggled with the things I don't do well (dinner, kids bedtime) and relished in the extra room in the bed. I realized how sad and achy my heart was. I didn't want to be doing it myself. I didn't want to be struggling with the stupid mayo jar that was glued on again. I may not want to be touched for most of the night (I really like my space when I sleep) but after 5 days I needed more then little toddler arms to hug me. I needed my husband and I am okay saying that. 

What I have learned in these almost 13 years we have been together is that it's okay to be a little needy. I can need my husband and still be strong. I can want my husband around and let him do the hard stuff and that doesn't make me less smart or not as good as him. He has things he is good at (brute strength, anything with engines or physics) I have things I am good at (handling split knees, lost dolls, anything involving chocolate). I will never be my mother using my femininity to get things done for me that I deem a "mans job". I don't deem anything (well except cleaning toilets) a mans job.

I have accepted that this man has me totally smitten and I am not afraid to admit that I need him, and not just for cooking dinners and putting the kids to bed.


~j. said...


QueenScarlett said...

My man that I need does the toilets too. We married winners! Loved this.

Gretchen said...

Now, that's a REAL example of a bigger picture moment. Seeing your marriage, in the bigger picture. Your story is Lovely, much like you.

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

Sounds like your hubby is a sweet guy, and I think that's one of the best parts of marriage: learning to appreciate each other, despite (or maybe because of) the fact the other doesn't always do what we expect.

For the record though, I'm pretty sure you can still be a feminist (meaning a person who expects people to be treated with equal respect) and still appreciate that different people have different strengths and that we need EACH OTHER to function well as a society. And in marriage. :)

Corinne Cunningham said...

I think feminism is all about having the option to make choices.
Having the option to chose to be in a loving marriage where you both help each other and grow together, is a beautiful thing :)

CharityVL said...

I love this - being a strong woman also means being vulnerable to your husband. There's nothing wimpy about that!!

Hyacynth said...

Have to echo Laanykidsmom: being a strong woman does also mean being vulnerable with your husband. It takes a really strong, secure woman to give him vulnerability. Our culture has it so backwards sometimes with feminism. Instead of encouraging women to excel and do the things they are naturally gifted at doing, it pushes women to do everything a man can do and do it better regardless of her true talents -- whether that true gift be fixing motors or teaching kids or doctoring people back to health.
It's so important to realize we each have our own gifts, and using those gifts to serve not only God but also your family and others is what living is about rather than just trying to up the other gender.
Also, I used to feel the same way as you when I was in college, too. John helped change my perspective through his actions in love.
Great moment and realization, Melissa!

Unknown said...

It's wonderful to have someone that wants to do things for you even if you can do them just as well!

Anonymous said...

This is so true. I definitely felt this was pretty hard for me to give in and be the one to stay home with my boys. I always had this idea that I would be the one to support my family but it is so nice to have that other person to lean on. Awesome post.

Melissa said...

I cannot imagine my life without my husband, he is amazing! And yet, I still feel way more "feminist" than my upbringing. I think that men and women are capable of many things, and that we shouldn't be limited intellectually or creatively by our sex.
And I agree with the other commentors too, its takes strength to be vulnerable to your husband.

suzannah | the smitten word said...

"I can need my husband and still be strong." absolutely! the loveliest thing about the grace of marriage is needing and serving each other.

i still wholeheartedly consider myself a feminist (and actually, my husband would consider himself one, too.) like corinne, i believe feminism has more to do with equality and access and choice--it's not about being the same or not needing anyone else.

so glad you host this:)

This Heavenly Life said...

I agree, to 110%! The fact that I had the knowledge and creativity to choose a husband so fantastically wonderful -- well I need to soak up every ounce of him that I can :) I love that there's someone who takes care of me because he wants to, not because he thinks I'm incapable.

Wonderful post.

Jamie said...

I've had a love hate relationship with the concept of feminism. I still have an independent streak that screams out that I don't need anyone help - and yetI realize over and over again that I do.

Rose said...

That was wonderful, thank you Melissa. I'm the same way with sleep, I want my space but I want him right next to my space.

urban muser said...

a great post. we can be strong women and still allow a man to help us out once in a while. and don't be fooled, they need our help just as much. it's great to work as a team.

Erin said...

I do agree with those who said that the concept of feminism would support your CHOICE to stay at home with your children (which is awesome!), but I also have to add to remember not to judge a group by one person. It's a shame that your professor spewed hatred under the guise of feminism, but on the flip side, I had an amazing, feminist professor who would never have spoken hatefully in the name of the cause. Unfortunately, there are bad apples in every group, but they definitely don't represent the whole!