I’m somewhere between femininity and feminism. I have friends who are conservative Catholics and Baptists, wear what they consider to be modest clothing, and never work outside the home. My mom and dad are both highly educated, believe in higher education and hope we’ll be able to support ourselves. Another set of friends are hardcore feminists – of my group of best girlfriends I am by far the most conservative (in mannerism, we are not talking politics here). Somewhere in the tussle of these worlds I find myself debating the merits of tea towels and bungalow aprons, cuddling down with tea and a Grace Livingston Hill novel, writing papers on feminism in Zora Neale Hurston’s Writing and protesting the privatization of random things.
Where does one find balance between these worlds – I find my Future Homemaker’s of America friends can’t relate to my Post Riot Grrrl friends and each of them pulls me in a different direction. “Elizabeth” one says… “I enjoy being a mother and a wife. I know no greater joy.” Another one speaks to me of her career and her ladder climbing pursuits in such glowing terms, her face lighting up. I listen and I watch these women and know they have each chosen some path in life that they feel will fulfill them, but I wonder where I find my happiness walking the line between my tea towels and law school applications.
I know where I stand on most things – politically I can rattle off a half dozen statistics on why I believe in this or that. I know what I think of women in higher education (being one myself, I wholeheartedly approve). I know what I think of marriage (sacred – not to be tampered with) and children (would eventually like to have them). I know I will not waver on my relatively liberal political stances (I will put you for a loop when it comes to issues of gun control though ;) but…why then, do I feel that domesticity and lovely homemaking are the exclusive domain of the stay at home moms that I know? I don’t see “liberal politics and homemaking.” I don’t see “Tea time with the democrats?” There is such a disconnect. We either abandon home as sanctuary all together or never leave that gilded cage. I’m not committing myself to a life of staying at home, but I want to spend my at home time in a home, not just a house.
A message board that I post on has a thing about doing a week in feminine dress. I decided to try this out but keep doing what I normally do – skateboarding and cake making and going to school and work and riding my bike while dressed up all ladylike. A sort of sociological experiment with myself for my own interest.
I spent yesterday in feminine dress and did everything I needed to do. I skated to and from work, hosted a party for JR and my best girlfriend B, and went to school. I noticed a few little things – people holding doors, letting you go first in line, and letting you have those little nicities. The skateboarding in a (rather fancy) dress and pearls was hilarious as well.
“Look! There goes a girl on a skateboard! In a dress!”
Pictured Above: Me in my party dress! I had taken my shoes off by this point....