I believe in taking care of my man.
I believe in cooking, cleaning, and being of service in any way I can, personally and professionally. I believe in being a helpmate, not a hindrance. I believe in being an asset and not a liability. I believe in the power of traditional female roles and their place in a man’s life, in the lives of children, and the structure of families. I believe that when a woman asks for equality in interpersonal relationships, she has already resigned to the belief that she is beneath her counterpart. I believe that the genetic predisposition of women to bare children, whether we choose to or not, whether we physically can or not, will assure we are never equal to men. I believe that when a woman begins to understand how vital those traditional female roles are, not just to those who directly benefit, but also to her community and her self, she begins to feel and be empowered by them. I have believed and will always believe that the person who serves, is the one who holds the most power.
I am a feminist.
And if you’re a feminist, you might be confused right now.
I love catering to my man because I love him, and the way I show love is by nurturing. It makes me happy to have my hard working man come home, tired and beat down from his day, and lean on me for revival. A home cooked meal and a beer is often on-hand. I dedicate full days to his wellness — I bathe him, feed him, massage him to sleep, and then titillate until he wakes. It is my goal to make sure he needs for nothing. I cater to the man I love. I couldn’t imagine not doing so. I couldn’t imagine feeling as if tending to his needs and wants was beneath me, and I would hate to be in a relationship with someone who made me feel as if they were too much of a man to cater to my needs or wants.
This is my feminism.
That being said, there is nothing I do for my man that he is against doing for me. He doesn’t shy away for cooking, cleaning, and serving me, though I rarely let him do any of it because I enjoy that role so much. But, I allow him to cater to me in his own way, in a way that makes the both of us happy. He’ll often ask me if I need anything from him, and my response is usually, “Just you,” as I am content to have him make time to just be, to just lie in bed and do nothing at all with me, or run around the city following my every whim. No matter what it is, he’s game.
He services me as I service him, and no one feels they are giving more than they get. It is only under these circumstances that I feel comfortable catering to a man. It is that balance of give and take that has helped build our trust and sustain our relationship over time. Now, we lean on that trust and on that give-and-take, as we prepare to become parents together.
Having already raised a cerebral, talented, well-mannered son who is now a young adult, I can see how my traditionalism has benefitted him. I raised him mostly as a single mother, and was able to teach him how to make cold food at 4 years old, do his own laundry at 9, cook on a gas stove at 13, grocery shop at 15, and at 18 years old, he is highly self-sufficient and doesn’t look to me for much around the house. I haven’t washed a dish in years and he makes his own dinner most nights, since his schedule differs from ours.
Along with traditional household know-how, my son has also picked up most of my feminist ideals, and has strong feministic views on everything from reproductive rights to equal wages, the gestational femicides in countries like India, general and specific forms of violence against women, and more. So, while a vast majority of feminists seem to poo-poo stereotypical traditional choices (which negates the entire principal of feminism), I can attest to them being equally as beneficial as stereotypical feminist choices. So, as we prepare our lives for baby, my partner and I discuss the usual things like religion versus spirituality, daycare versus staying at home, and traditionalism versus feminism, because the latter is just as important in our family planning as the former.
The way I see it, it would be sexist to think that teaching my son how to cook, clean, and serve his family is one step forward for mankind, but then think that teaching my daughter the same thing would be a step backward for womankind. I also taught my son the value of hard work, earning and saving money, and the importance of being able to support himself and his entire future family. These principles, I would also teach my daughter.
I love having a man who can share recipes with me, but who also knows how to chop wood, and it seems he loves having a woman who can bring home the bacon and fry it. I guess I just never felt as if men nor women should be either, or. I have always believed that we can be and do whatever we want, and that social constraints are choices, not a set of rules. I believe that if a man does all the working and the woman does all the cooking, that’s alright as long as everyone is happy. If the roles are reversed, the same concept applies, and if there are no roles and everyone just does whatever works, that’s awesome, too!
So, as my partner and I have agreed, we are preparing to raise a feminist-traditionalist child, fluid in his or her contributions to society, respectful of traditional gender roles, as well as feminism — a woman’s right to choose whatever and whoever she wants to be.