“I am just as much a feminist as you are.” These are words from my husband a week ago when discussing my idea for this blog, The Feminist Wife. Yes, men can be feminists too and yes, feminist women can and do get married. Today is our two year wedding anniversary and the day I launch my blog. It seems appropriate.
I am starting this blog for many reasons as you can see on the “About” page but most important to me is to get a conversation started. I want to talk about real women’s experiences in this world starting with my own. This is me finding my voice as a woman and having the courage to speak up.
So, I begin with marriage. My husband and I began dating in high school. I know, that is crazy, people unfailingly express this to me whenever I mention it. We attended college together and married a year after graduation. If you had asked me six years ago if I thought I would get married, the answer was no. I was never getting married. “What do I need to get married for?” I said to myself and others, “It’s just a title.” It was about this time that I was introduced to the term feminism.
Perhaps it is my midwestern upbringing, but the word was never used, although I discovered later that I had been surrounded by feminists my whole life. They were just unaware that the term feminist applied to them because of the sometimes negative connotation the word receives. I would like to clear this up right now. Feminism, according to roughly every dictionary (I am sure there are exceptions), is the theory of the social, political, and economic equality of men and women. It is often used to refer to the women’s liberation movement and the advocation for women’s rights. A feminist is simply someone who believes in this theory of equality. There are many different “types” of feminism, which I will save for a future post, but equality of the sexes is the general idea.
Back to marriage. There is a notion out there that feminism and marriage do not mix. Marriage has, in the past, represented one of the greatest forms of oppression to women. I think that this can be true and is true in many parts of the world, but it does not have to be. At one time, I believed that getting married was to support the oppression of women. But I was in a loving and supportive relationship and this idea conflicted with my reality. I resolved that to shun marriage was to give validity to the idea that it is always oppressive. I wanted to be a part of some change, no matter how small. So here I am, empowered by my marriage, not oppressed by it. My husband and I have an equal partnership. Being married, for me, really just means being with my best friend all the time.
I conclude with a quote I found fitting to today’s post.
“Marriage to women as to men, must be a luxury, not a necessity; an incident of life, not all of it.” - Susan B. Anthony, 1875
For an interesting read on marriage and feminism, check out this article at Ms. Magazine Online.