Saturday, August 20, 2011

I'm a Feminist

I am a right wing, conservative, Christian Feminist. And I am sick and tired, SICK AND TIRED, of being “dissed” by left wing liberal feminists. I was raised by a left wing liberal feminist Mother and a leftish feminist Father. My Mother was equal to my Father in every way, except physically, and she was certainly happy about that. In fact, it never even crossed my mind that she might not be… that anyone could conceive of such a notion. That was the air I breathed in the homes I grew up in.
On a dark and rainy night, sometime in the winter of 1965, my Mom had a flat tire on a freeway in Los Angeles. It was pre-cell phone era, so she must have walked to a gas station, and called my Dad to come change it for her. She was an elementary school teacher, so that meant that she was wearing a dress, stockings, and high heels. I suppose some “feminists’ might think she should have just changed it herself, but I don’t think so. She had her strengths and he had his.

She stood beside him in the down pour, keeping him company while he jacked the car up, removed the lug nuts, etc. Mom was venting to him about her day, the rain, the tire, and at some point in the process, my Dad said “How would you like to move to Salt Lake City?” He’d been offered a big, important, promotion. As the story goes, my Mother gritted her teeth and said “I’d love to!” In that moment, my liberal feminist mother submitted to her husband.

Let me be perfectly clear; she was lying through her gritted teeth. She would not love to move to Salt Lake City! She loved him! It was a good career move; more money and prestige. If he turned it down it wasn’t likely to be offered to him again. But what mattered to her, more than any of that, was that it was an opportunity for him to be challenged in every way. It was an adventure. She was a gutsy woman who liked the idea of facing challenges and adventure with him. (He taught her to love camping, after all.)

The fact that she loved him was huge, but outside of that, she had absolutely no desire to move to Salt Lake City. It meant she would leave most of her family behind, including her only grandchild, whom she adored. She would have to sell a house she loved, and leave a place where she was comfortable, confident, and content. It required her to move to a place that was very much like a foreign country, where she would be regarded as an outsider by the majority of the population. And she would be an outsider in every way that represented who she was as a left wing, liberal feminist, though she’d never heard the term. She wasn’t just moving to a new location, but to a very different life, where she didn’t know anyone, and she was very unlike the majority of the women there. Still, my deeply opinionated, outspoken, left wing, liberal Mother said “I’d love to,” when asked by the man of her dreams, if she’d like to move to the end of the earth. My Mother submitted to my Father’s plan and said “yes.”

My Father would never have demanded that she move to Utah. If she had said “no” he would have accepted that and respected her choice. He didn’t expect or want her to say “yes” if she didn’t want to embark on the adventure with him. My Mother submitted to my Father, but she was in no way his subject. But make no mistake; my liberal feminist mother lied through her teeth and submitted. No liberal left wing modern feminist can misconstrue that choice into anything it wasn’t. She submitted. And in her submission she wasn’t weak or stupid or lesser than. She was my Father’s partner. At that time, it would have been an unlikely scenario for the circumstances to have been reversed, but if they had been, my Father would have said “I’d love to!”

My Mother knew that the ship that was their marriage could have only one captain. She chose her Captain well. She knew that he would never run them aground or be selfish in the course he charted for them… that he would always ask her to come with him and honor her hearts desires. She always said he was her best friend. And it didn’t hurt that he was a great kisser…

My Mother raised a feminist who disagreed with her about practically everything. Me. The Right Wing, Conservative, Christian Feminist. What we never disagreed about was that no woman is lesser than any man, and that all women should be treated with dignity and respect. Even if we think she’s completely wrong!

P.S. If you've ever done any ballroom dancing you understand the partnership of leading and following. The art of "submission." It can be quite lovely to feel the pressure of your partners hand in the small of you back guiding you to do what you can't do alone. However if you don't submit to the pressure, you can't achieve your goal! There will be no graceful glide of tandem movement. Someone must lead; someone must follow. If the one leading is not careful, disaster can result. If he does his job well, his partner can rest in his arms, arrive at a satisfying destination, and enjoy the time getting there.