Missing the Movement

Feminists say, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” and although this is true, it seems today that all women, whether feminist or feminine, frown upon any woman who wants to keep a man, regardless of her need for one. After coming of age in a home that did not include my father, living with female roommates and then moving in with the man who is now my husband, I can honestly say, it is really nice to have a man around the house. I don’t need him to take out to garbage, squish the spiders or hook up the electronics, but he is there, he loves me and he wants to help me. What is so wrong with that?

Today women can get a credit card in their name, buy a car and even buy a house, all without the presence and participation of their husbands or fathers. These rights have come to us in my mother’s lifetime. This means that the women who fought for them are now the mothers and grandmothers of the woman who can use them, and there is tremendous pressure to do so. It almost feels as though our rights are becoming responsibilities and any woman who chooses not to exercise her rights, by taking a husband, having his children and allowing him to support her while working to make their home beautiful and their children healthy, is stigmatized. I have, many times, felt judged by other women to be weak and stupid just because I enjoy doing things that make my husband happy, even if I have to go out of my way. However, these same women will leave a boyfriend if he doesn’t go out of his way to please her, citing his selfishness as the cause for the break-up. It seems that women are so afraid of being seen as a domestic that they feel they have to be more stereotypically male than the men if they ever hope to get any respect.

I always knew I wanted to get married, and luckily I was able to find a man that I wanted to be married to. While planning our wedding, I kept reading that our society no longer needed marriage and that soon the institution would become obsolete. This upset me because imagining a world without the ultimate form of commitment seemed like imagining a world without endless love, respect and admiration for that one person who knows you better than you know yourself and will be there for you, no matter what, until the very end. Obviously, I am one of the few people that have this point of view. I can see this grand division on the smaller scale of my female friends, some are long term fiancés, some are content to be children induced common-law spouses and one had such a violent reaction to me mentioning that she and her live-in boyfriend were coming up on their common-law status that I made a note to never mention it again; very few of them are legally married.

Women today are almost bullied into thinking that being happily married is wrong; that getting married will turn them into a mindless Stepford Wife; that they sign away their independence when they sign up for a joint bank account. The feminists have done a lot of important work for the progression of society and I greatly appreciate them for it, I for one can’t image a world where I’m not allowed to vote, drive or express my opinion, but I think we need come back to the original goal of the feminist movement: equality. A man knows who he is and what he has to do, a woman has to walk the balance beam between perfect wife, good mother and successful woman and few make it to the end without falling off. Personally, I try to aim for Mary Tyler Moore’s character, Laura Petrie, on The Dick Van Dyke Show: loving, intelligent and funny, whether she was wearing a traditional TV-mom skirt or her revolutionary pants. She was a wife who needed her husband for humour, advice and emotional support and wanted him for solidarity, companionship and security.