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“we are wanna be feminist housewives”

July 28, 2008

I’ve been worrying recently about things it has never occurred to me to worry about before.

Let me disclaim my statements off the bat: if someone else were to say this about a third party, i would bristle. Moreover, i could probably argue them down; i think i have good logical basis to think most of this is crap. So, this train of thought (applied to others) is inherently unsettling to me, and i don’t think it holds up…what’s the problem? Well, apparently it’s pretty deeply ingrained because here it is in my head and i didn’t even know about it ’till now.

Maybe i’m a bad feminist. I’ve never identified strongly as a feminist, but i have always thought i am one, peripherally. In that, “what’s gender got to do with anything?” way. How could i not? I was, after all, a little boy for most of my life, and i never felt that conflicted with the fact that i’m female.

But i’m not a boy anymore, and i’m worried, essentially, that being a girl makes me unfeminist, not progressive…something. I’m worried because part of me seriously dreams of being a housewife. And because i want to wear skirts every day, so i’m sewing some new ones (but, seriously, in this weather i don’t know why everyone doesn’t wear skirts). And, and, and , gah, it doesn’t even make sense when i write it, but i can’t get it out of my head.

It’s like my big safe theory bubble is crumbling in under the weight of “i don’t know what i’m doing!” Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic, i think maybe the roof is just leaking a little (’cause it just turned from a bubble to a house, that’s why). But i guess that points to the real issues here. One being that, as much as i really, mostly love my femmeness, it’s really new to me, and i don’t know what i’m doing at all (i’d like to write more about both of those things sometime). The other is that i feel like i’m becoming…normal. I’ve been sort of inherently, accidentally (well, at times very purposefully) subversive my whole life. I feel like i’m losing that; like i’m assimilating, and even though i genuinely like where/who i am, i can’t shake the feeling that i’ve given in or given up.

I meant to write something coherent, but clearly i’m not quite there yet. Maybe next time.

Lady Brett
“Feminist Housewives” – Bitch and Animal

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2008 6:11 pm

    But do any of us know what we’re doing, really? I think that as long as you do what you want, and feels right to you, that’s feminist.

    I wish you were online, or I had your number. L just kind of canceled tonight’s date. She’s just not sure she can make it. I trouble shot — offered my car (I can’t drive, but offered to let her drive it), to take care of what needed to be done. She’s not sure. She’ll let me know later. It’s already 6pm.

    Plus, I’m getting so many mixed signals. You seem to have good advice…and god, I need some now. I feel like I’m being walked over, all over again.

  2. July 28, 2008 11:36 pm

    wtf Brett! for me, becoming Femme was all about subverting the gender norms! You’re a femme whose lovely feminine appearance is not at all intended for the attraction of males. If that’s not subversive, I don’t know what is! Get on with your bad self, is all I’m trying to say!

  3. July 29, 2008 7:35 am

    Uh huh, what Miss A. said, exactly

  4. July 29, 2008 8:06 am

    There’s nothing inherently unfeminist about keeping a home, doing domestic things, taking care of people you love, cooking, cleaning, decorating, etc. Those are important skills & talents! Hell, if I could just be in my own space all day, make it the way I wanted to, not have to work? I would take that job in a second. The way domesticity & housewifery is unfeminist is when it’s not optional, when it’s compulsory, when it’s expected and unrewarded and unrecognized as hard work or valuable.

    (You probably know this; that’s just my take on it.)

    And you definitely are feminist, btw (adjective, though, not necessarily identity, as I think the identity has to do with what you claim). Take a look at bell hook’s book “feminism is for everybody” and you’ll probably flip through it and say, oh yeah, huh, I agree with all of that.

    The assimilating/giving in/giving up: I think you’re only doing that if what you’re doing feels like what you’re “suppsoed” to do and not what you really want to do. Figuring out what actually suits you best, your particular talents and personality and inclinations, that’s subversive, and empowering, and rad.

    Essin’ Em’s comment – and yours – about knowing what you’re doing: one of my favorite quotes about gender is “femme is knowing what you’re doing.” and my take on that is the ways that femme – or femininity, or gender expression in general – becomes an active choice, something that has a context and a history and a cultural understanding for the choices we’re making. And maybe in that light, doing some more reading or looking into the history of gender would be good for you, cause then you’ll have this sense of yourself & your gender in a larger socio/historical/political/cultural context.

    You do have a place here, in feminism, in gender studies, in femme-ness, in queerdom, with everything about you that you already are. “You only have to let the soft animal of your body / love what it loves” (Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poems), in other words.

  5. July 29, 2008 10:24 am

    …thanks y’all =)

  6. July 29, 2008 3:52 pm

    yeah, what they said. my two cents… pay attention to your feelings of losing something or giving in. in my experience, it’s all too easy to push those feelings away by insisting on free choice, free will, all of that. but the mindfuck of gender policing is deep and insidious, and surfaces in odd ways.

    and, for what it’s worth, i think you’re a briliant femme & a brilliant feminist.

  7. October 3, 2008 11:20 am

    I can sympathize with what you write. Sometimes I feel that kind of conflict too (wanting to stay at home and just take care of it). But, we get to define ourselves, you know. And, you can be both. It is the fact that you are able to choose, and aren’t compelled by someone else that is what defines it (I think). And, at any rate, I’ve called myself a “ladyist” for ages. Meaning that I’m a feminist who loves Emily Post and little aprons (and it isn’t meant to exclude those who identify as feminist and also love Ms. Post and aprons). Hmm, I’ve rambled. But, I adore your blog, and just wanted to add some kind of “you are already thereness” to your posting.

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