So I recently discovered that I’ve been living a lie all this time: apparently there is no such thing as a feminist housewife. That right there is supposedly an oxymoron and therefore doesn’t exist. And here I was thinking it actually meant something. Silly me.
So what exactly is feminism? There doesn’t seem to be any single agreed upon definition of the term, and like so many other things in life, it seems to be easier to define what feminism is not than it is to define what it is.
I recently wrote a piece on how labels seem to be so important in today’s society and the need people then feel to define their labels down to the tiniest detail. The problem with trying to define a label though is that it will almost certainly be defined as what it is not as well as what it actually is. This defining of the Other of course is problematic because this is where racial/cultural/religious stereotypes are created. You end up defining what you are by first defining (and therefore stereotyping) all those other people that you most certainly are not like. I’m a feminist you say, and a feminist must be equal to men in the workplace, so of course all these housewives can’t be feminists, not unless they are being forced out of the workforce against their will by mysogynistic men, in which case we must save them! A feminist would never agree to an arranged marriage, and even if she says she chose to have one of her own free will, she’s obviously been brainwashed by the patriarchal society she lives in and therefore needs saving! Oh she’ll thank us later, don’t worry. We just have to mould her to our particular definition of freedom/womanhood/feminism and stop her from mistakenly thinking that she’s happy with her choices.
There can be multiple meanings of the term ‘freedom’ and yours is not the only true one. At least try not to be so arrogant.
So yes, being a housewife doesn’t make me any less of a feminist. Having an arranged marriage doesn’t make me any less of a feminist ( and FYI people, at least try to understand the difference between arranged and forced marriage!). And no, I haven’t been brainwashed into thinking this way, don’t insult my intelligence with your holier than thou take on the situation. Just because my feminism is different from yours doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it different. Deal with it.