Oh hey there!
I’ve been off the grid for a few, but something done peeved me, and now I must rant. The culprit is basically Taylor Swift, but a series of seemingly unconnected incidents is actually to blame, so try to stay with me as I backtrack for a minute.
Some point in 2013: I wrote a piece entitled Why I Put My Husband Before Our Kids and a lot of people really liked it. A lot of people also really hated its guts. Why? Because I stand firm in the belief that putting my marriage before my children is better for everyone involved, and I even admit that sometimes, I put my own needs before the husband’s and the kids’. You can’t do that when you’re a parent. Especially if you’re the female kind.
So why do I want to kick Taylor Swift in the shin? Hold your horses. I’m getting there.
August 24, 2014: I tried to remember to watch the MTV Music Awards, but instead got caught up in a re-run of The Wire and promptly fell asleep at 10pm.
August 25, 2014: When I woke up this morning, I scurried to my computer so the Internet could show me all of the Beyoncé highlights I craved. And that’s when I read about Taylor Swift. Apparently, she is, in fact, a feminist, now that she knows what it means and all. As I’m stewing in what can only be described as part annoyance, part pride at Ms. Swift’s revelation, I get an email from the fine folks at HuffPo Parents; they ran my Why I Put My Husband Before Our Kids.
As I write this, the article hasn’t been on the site long enough for the trolls to crawl out of hiding (but it HAS been shared over 1,000 times in less than an hour!), but I know they’re a’comin’. And when they do, super smart people will say stuff like, “You shouldn’t have had kids, dummy!” and “You’re a terrible mom; I can tell by your comma-usage!” and “I didn’t read anything but the title and I hope you die.” I’ll bite my tongue because I’m trying to be “professional,” and shake my head and feel bad for all of the women out there who aren’t willing to admit that their needs matter.
And then I remember the woman who, after reading my 2013 version of Why I Put My Husband Before Our Kids, told me she was “anti-feminist.”
And then I remember other comments about my relationship with my husband being archaic and Biblical <— they meant that as an insult.
And then I’m like, wait. It’s either archaic or feminist. How come no one knows the difference?!
And now things have come full circle.
I’m ticked at Taylor Swift, my “anti-feminism” friend, and anyone else who is confused: feminist is not a bad word. Feminists do not gather at secret meeting places and bash men because they have penises. We talk openly about how we should earn an equal paycheck not because we have vaginas, but in spite of having them.
A feminist is not one who refuses to take care of her man because that’s so retro; we just know that when we say “I do” it doesn’t mean starching undershirts. Unless we want to. And there it is: unless we want to. Women have more choices today than ever, yet some of us don’t think we matter enough to make them. And that makes me sad. How can so many ignore the struggles the women before us have endured? If you’re “anti-feminist,” what does that mean? Anti-human? Anti-equality? You don’t like voting? Wearing pants? Speaking your mind? Valuing your time? Loving yourself?
In case you’re lost, too: I prioritize my marriage before all else because I’m pretty sure I’d lose my shit if I had to raise 3 kids by myself (*bows down to single parents*). Also, I like my husband. I think he’s swell. So admitting I love and rely on a man of my choosing makes me archaic, and expecting him to be a hands-on dad makes me a feminist. Got it.
My brain is ready to explode.
A feminist is someone who recognizes women should be a priority. That doesn’t mean women always come first or we think we deserve more or we don’t have to work hard. We simply know we deserve quality. Feminists don’t hate men; we aren’t (all) lesbians, and we don’t rage against personal hygiene to make a point. We simply make choices based on fairness, equality, and what we want. Why? Because we can.
So maybe ol’ Taylor got tripped up on the true meaning of the word. Who can blame her? The stigma and negative connotation that accompany the term “feminist” probably had her PR people up in arms like, “Taylor! Don’t say anything incendiary! Just smile and write another song about that boy who did that thing to you.” Cue surprise face, and cut.
Vicki Lesage says
Congrats on your Huffington Post article. I hear the trolls emerging from under their bridges…
Stephanie Jankowski says
THEY HAVE ARRIVED, VICKI! And as predicted, one of them (a self-proclaimed “medium”!) came through with the “you shouldn’t have kids” comment. YESSSS!
Taylor should read “How to be a Woman” by Cailin Moran…or any book. And congrats again on HuffPost!
Stephanie Jankowski says
Thanks so much, Abby! Means a lot to me 🙂
Allie @ The Latchkey Mom says
I haven’t read the article yet (my next stop), but based on the title, I’m sure I will concur. Have you ever read the book Bad Mother? It was written by Ayelet Waldman. It is quite a hot potato book (especially in the special needs community), but I liked it. She was roasted pretty bad a few years ago for saying “I love my husband more than my kids.” She’s considered a feminist as well, and her whole argue was that the marriage is more important because it will still be there long after the kids are gone. Not the you have to time, but it’s an interesting read. Good luck today!
I love this and I adored your other one as well about your priorities. Do I iron my husband’s shirt in the morning? Yes, I do. Why? Because I’m ironing my own clothes for work and I’m standing there and I love him. Do I make him lunch? Yes, I do. Why? Because I’m packing three lunch boxes, my own lunch and adding his to the mix makes no difference in effort. Plus, I love him and he needs a decent lunch to eat–not McDonald’s which he usually grabs when I don’t make him lunch and he’s 40 and I’m a bit concerned. Guess what I also do? I go to work every day in a career I adore because I CAN!! Thank you feminists before me. Guess what else? I make enough money to support my family on my own (if need be–and yes, bow to single mothers everywhere). Thank you feminists before me!! So I’m going to soldier on showing and telling my daughters that they can do or be anything that they want to be while also being kind and respectful to their husband–if they choose to marry a man–and themselves. Does that make me a feminist? I think so and I’ll wear that label proudly.
My Special Kind of Crazy says
I think I hold a happy medium. I spend inordinate amounts of time with my kids, but I don’t bend to their every whim and when they say “I don’t want you to go out w/daddy! I want you to stay with me!” I say, “sorry sweets, that won’t get me laid tonight”. Ok, perhaps I won’t say that. And it most likely will end in us both falling asleep on the couch anyways, but at least we fall asleep on the couch TOGETHER.
Love all of this.