A blog post came out about a month ago lamenting the girling-down of the tough gal persona. The author called out blogs where woman bake cupcakes, knit, and garden as evidence of our ever-impending girly-dom. She then went on to further decry her view of our modern-day woman’s slow decline into heels and aprons by asking where have all the tough bitches gone by citing the past great women like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sigourney Weaver’s character in the Alien movies or drug-addled rock stars like Courtney Love.
I like to think that the post is really this woman’s failed attempt at a satirical look at gender issues that still exist, but sadly I suspect it isn’t. It’s probably her way to get publicity for something she’s working on.
The post has pages and pages and pages of comments from irate, but oddly well-behaved, women who feel the need to tell the author why they are really strong feminists who also have more traditionally feminine hobbies as well. Reading the comments are both empowering and sad, because while there are dozens of women who have fought in wars, defeated cancer, built airplanes, survived rape, etc. it comes across (to me) as an apology. The commenters seem to be saying I like to do something traditionally girly, but it’s okay because I fought a lion while building a rocket during the time I discovered the solution to some obscure math theorem and single-handedly saved a child’s life by running into a burning building, lifting a beam off him, and carrying him out. So really, it’s okay that I like to bake. Don’t think less of me. I don’t want to apologize.
My Mom told me in high school how lucky I was because I could play sports. She wasn’t allowed to growing up, but her brothers could. That’s feminism–I can do whatever I want within legal parameters no matter what is between my legs. That’s what we need to remember and celebrate. It doesn’t matter what you do–flower arranging, gaming, or boxing–all that matters is you have the right to do what you want. That wasn’t the case forty or fifty years ago and a lot of work was done to make sure that we that right without having to explain ourselves. I knit because it makes me happy. I bake because I enjoy it. No apologies and no rationalization. Just choice.