Some thoughts.

I don't know why I feel the urge to write this post. I guess it's only been a matter of time, but it's just taken me a while to compose my thoughts. I finally found the inspiration to write down what I have to say on the concept of feminism after reading this great article at Feministing.
At the risk of alienating a few readers, there is no denying that I am a feminist. Why the word conjures up such a negative image is unfortunate, but I would be arrogant to say that my personal opinion on the topic will change your mind. Regardless, I have made some statements recently that may be construed as anti-feminist. I don't consider my course in life to be anything but a personal choice, which is a main tenant of feminism, right?
I'm not writing this to justify my actions. I'm writing this just as much for myself as for anybody reading this. I can make choices and blanket statements all I want, but they don't mean anything to anybody {least of all myself} unless there are valid and true reasons behind those choices and statements.
So here it goes.
Remember yesterday, when I made that disclaimer about not being shallow about liking shoes? Well, I know that some may have found it to be entertaining {and not entirely necessary}, but I felt the need to write it only because liking shoes {and clothes and pretty things} can seem superficial. It's materialistic, but I would argue that there is a fine line between being too materialistic and just liking the way you look.
If you happened to read that article at Feministing, you would have read this last line:
"...getting in touch with your own personal style and presenting it to the world as an extension of yourself seems like a righteous form of self-love, and therefore perhaps a feminist act of the highest value."
That is exactly what I've been thinking for these past few weeks, I just didn't know how to put it down in words. I asked my husband yesterday if I was fat {he, of course, answered no}. It's not the first time that I've asked the cliche question, nor will it be the last. But this time, I wasn't asking out of insecurity. When my husband asked why I asked it, I responded like this:
For the first time in a long time, maybe in my life, I feel good about myself and my body. I just wanted to make sure that this newfound confidence isn't unfounded.
What a strange concept. I actually like who I am. And I think a lot of that has to do with my personal mission to develop who I am in every aspect, including my personal style. Though it may not be like this for all women, I feel better about myself when I look nice and feel beautiful. But I also feel good about myself when I successfully complete a project at work, answer Final Jeopardy correctly, and have meaningful conversations with friends. I feel good about myself when I cry because I'm passionate about something. I feel good about myself when I can make someone else smile or when I write something that I love. These things are no different.
And I shouldn't feel guilty because I love myself. Because, in all honesty, I don't know that I've ever loved myself before.
Anyway, I know that this post is getting rather long, but I do have one other topic that I feel the need to write about {but I understand if you're bored already and want to leave}.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how my career doesn't need to define who I am. In that post I made a, perhaps naive, claim that the most important role for me in life is to be a wife and a mother. It's taken me some time to flush through what I really meant by this, but I think I've finally realized it.
For most of us, our youth is spent daydreaming about the ideal. We dream of growing up to save the world, whether by ending world hunger or discrimination or global warming. But there comes a time in life when reality hits us. It's not that these things are any less important to us {believe me, I would love to have an impact on these things}, but that we understand that we all have a role to play. I once thought that my role was to go to law school and fight for the civil rights of others, something which I would still love to do someday. But it's not realistic for me, in so many ways.
What I can do, however, is raise children to be socially conscious and active. I can show the world what a loving relationship looks like. I can write to inspire others. I can vote. I can educate myself so that I can educate future generations. There is a lot that I can do for the world that doesn't require giving up the person that I am for an abstract idea.
And those are my thoughts for today. But I would like to leave you with this, and I hope that you can all agree, because love is the most important thing in the world, right?
When I said that I want to be a wife, first and foremost, I wasn't saying that my goal in life is to be a domestic queen, spending my days doing laundry and cooking and raising children. Perhaps saying that I want to be a wife was the wrong way to put it. Because for me, the only thing that I want to be is a wife to my husband. I want to be his partner in life. His equal. His best friend.
I just know that I don't want to live this life on my own. So don't make me feel guilty about that either.
Much love,


Crystal said...

You know what- bravo for writing this post, and if you receive lashback, then I am truly sorry for that ( you don't have to put their negative comments on YOUR space, anyway!!). I didn't say yes to being a personal slave (ie-wife, as some view the term) either. I DO things for my husband because that's how I show him I love him. I cook for him because it is an act of love not duty. Also, I commend you for saying you love yourself. God doesn't call us to hate ourselves. On the contrary, we are made in his image and are to treat are bodies as a temple. I agree that it's ok to want to look nice. I always feel better about myself when I like how I look. And in turn , others get a better part of me too...I mean, when I feel good, look good I am happier...hence NICER!!

Joelle said...

Thank you for the sweet comment Crystal! It's so nice to know that other people agree with me, and you're right: I do things for my husband because I love him too, not because I feel like I have to.

And I so know what you mean about being happier when I look nicer...because I already know I'm going to have a bad day if I don't feel good about myself.

Thanks for being such a wonderful follower!

Much love,

andrea said...

Joelle, I don't know WHO made you feel guilty about any of this (or why), but please know that I think you're awesome. And I totally support (and agree with!) you're stance on all this. I think there's more to life than any of the roles we assume, but I definitely think they are few nobler than being a caring, devoted, wonderful wife & mother. So bravo to you, and haters gon' hate. :)

Joelle said...

Thanks Andrea. I really appreciate the support. And you're right...haters gon' hate {that looked really strange as I typed that, I hope you know...don't think I've ever said that before, but thank you for expanding my word usage}. It doesn't really matter what they think anyway, right???


Anonymous said...

none of us should ever feel guilty for putting ourselves first. because really, if we're not good to ourselves (whatever that means to each person), we can't really be the same for others. i agree about having a fine line between being materialistic and loving/appreciating the way you look.

Jillian said...

well said! its easy to judge someone by what they say on their blog, but i really appreciate your honesty and i relate to how you feel. it is okay for you to want to look good and feel good, you deserve to be confident and happy. the superficial material things should remain minor in your self-worth and happiness (i know, i know i blog A LOT about shopping but that isn't what i am all about). my goals in life include having a family, loving my husband and children unconditionally and doing my part to make others around me happy (while keeping myself happy). i'm excited for what the future holds :) it sounds like youre in a wonderful place- you can make yourself happy and you are married to your best friend! so no apologies needed :) have a lovely weekend lady! xoxo jcd