Struggling with Feminism while Still Considering Myself a Feminist


*NOTE* I identify with feminism in that I believe that all men and women should be treated equal insofar as being given the same human dignity and respect. I find nothing odd about that at all. Don’t pay me less because I am a woman. Don’t tell me that I am “stupid” because I am a woman. I don’t think that you are “stupid” because you’re a man. Like me, you are a human being who deserves dignity and respect.

Okay, that being out of the way, let’s talk about my issues with feminism.

I don’t use birth control. I am not sexually active. I am Pro-Life. I don’t hate men. I want to be a mom one day. I DON’T THINK ANYONE WHO USES BIRTH CONTROL OR IS SEXUALLY ACTIVE IS A BAD PERSON. It’s just not my choice.

I feel that’s what feminism is all about – being able to choose what works best for you as a woman. But sometimes I feel like we still look down on the choices women make, like you want to be a stay-at-home mom so you put feminism back 50 years. I used to be guilty of this, and I think that’s partially because that’s how I was conditioned as a feminist, that if you’re not in the workforce, you’re demeaning everything our Founding Mothers ever worked for.

Then again, I have also seen the opposite. I have seen women looked down upon because they needed to work for whatever reason. People say, “God will provide, you need to stay home with your kids.” Meanwhile, the woman with the bedridden or deceased husband is saying, “Forget that, God provided me a way to feed my children, so I’m going to take it.” The difficult thing is that everything is a case-by-case basis. There is no one-size-fits-all for what a family should or shouldn’t do. But either way, it’s not for us to judge that.

As a librarian, I work in a primarily female field. And honestly, sometimes I feel like I am not doing much for feminism in this way because women have held this role for decades. The campaigns to get girls involved in math and science are well-meaning, and I’m not saying anything negative about them. However, I chose this field, but indirectly I feel like I am looked down upon for it. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I can’t help but feel that way sometimes. But even more than that, I’m scared if I leave the field for a few years to raise a family, that no one will let me back in, by virtue of the fact that I committed a feminist sin. However, I am also afraid of quitting the field entirely. I would be okay with taking a job part-time if my husband had a good enough job. I’m the kind of person who needs to keep working, just because I love my job.

I’m terribly conflicted right now, caught between two worlds, the world of the family (which society puts down) and the world of the career (which society praises).


11 thoughts on “Struggling with Feminism while Still Considering Myself a Feminist

  1. To me, in a way, that’s the problem with feminism: it creates problems/conflicts such as this in those who desire a different life (what you labeled as “a feminist sin”). In truth, for you, love, being a mom is important. So is being a librarian. When you find the right man, he will want to see you continue to be happy. For you that equals being a librarian. [I have seen many feminist librarians. It is a powerful field informing people about what to read that will influence they’re thoughts from then on.] So when that time comes, you will be able to make the decision of whether or not you want to be a continue being a librarian or put it on hiatus.
    Unfortunately, society still has problems with moms working because they fear the call offs from moms to pick up sick kids, so that may be a problem when you return to being a librarian. But again, I say MAY be. After all, who knows what will change or if it happens at all? Just follow your heart and trust in your faith and don’t let what others say (feminist or not) cut what’s right for you down.

    • Thank you, Amy. 🙂 What we really need is for the family to become a more important cultural asset. We still have take-your-child-to-work day, but what if that happened more often? If mothers, or even fathers, bring their infants to work with them, does it really hinder productivity? Or does it help the family grow stronger because the child isn’t separated from his or her parents for long periods of time? How can we fix a broken society?

  2. I feel that’s what feminism is all about – being able to choose what works best for you as a woman.

    Feminism can also be defined as the movement dedicated to bringing about societal change by dismantling the structures of society (see patriarchy) that hurt women and men.

    The ability to make choices is nice, but if they are proscribed within the boundaries of an oppressive culture then how good, exactly, are those choices?

    I am Pro-Life.

    Enjoy that philosophy personally, but please do not spread it around as the “pro-life” point of view is generally quite an unsafe stance for women and their reproductive autonomy as a class.

    • Do you see being Pro-Life as being anti-woman? I am genuinely curious. For years I was ashamed to admit this viewpoint outside of certain groups of friends and ashamed to admit being a feminist to other groups of friends. Is it unacceptable to be a Pro-Life feminist? Is it even possible?

      • @Asavoldi

        Do you see being Pro-Life as being anti-woman?

        How could it not be? Bodily autonomy is one of the cornerstones of women’s struggle to be treated as fully human beings in society.

        To hold the notion that another beings rights supercedes the rights of a woman is counter intuitive and hard to square with much of what feminism is about.

        Female biology, specifically in regards to reproductive capacity, has been a major axis of oppression for women since organized societies formed.

        Is it unacceptable to be a Pro-Life feminist? Is it even possible?

        I don’t think it is unacceptable or shame-worthy or anything like that. It is just a hard position to hold because stuff like this may happen:

        “I believe in equal rights for women except in the case of women determining their reproductive futures.”

        *record skip*

        Then you are stuck explaining why you think that the rights of a fetus supersede the wishes of fully matured adult member of society – furthermore explaining how forcing women to keep their pregnancies (and the long list of temporary/permanent side effects to their bodies) is congruent with the idea that woman are autonomous rights bearing members of society.

        The pro-life/anti-choice position is inherently anti-feminist in nature. I’m really not sure how one would get around the inconsistencies that come with claiming to be a pro-life feminist.

    • I’m sorry you are under the (mistaken) impression that pro-lifers place more importance on the life of the fetus than of the woman. That sounds more like something the pro-birth movement would believe, and that is not pro-life at all.

      I can’t speak for Adrienne, but I’m a pro-life feminist who believes in affordable, available contraceptives, comprehensive sex education, and I’d rather adopt an unwanted child than give birth to my own. So please don’t make sweeping generalizations about all people who place value on the unborn. The politics and the morality issues of abortion don’t always go hand in hand.

      • @Beth Caplin

        I’m sorry you are under the (mistaken) impression

        No additional information was present in the OP as to the what particular flavour of pro-life the writer subscribes to. There was nothing to do but generalize.

        So please don’t make sweeping generalizations about all people who place value on the unborn.

        So, should women have unrestricted access to abortion?

        We’ll categorize your beliefs on the basis of your answer. If it contains a “yes, but..” we can safely place your particular definition of “pro-life” into the general category I described in my response.

      • Allow me to clear my stance then. I am a woman. Therefore, I am pro-woman. Women’s health is very important to me, especially as it affects me as much as much as it affects you. While I do not support abortion, I think it should be unrestricted. Why? Because the dangers of restricting it are far greater and hurt women all the more, since abortions have been happening long before the 1960s. It will happen anyway, regardless of whether or not it is legal. Morally, however, I do not and will not ever support it. I am a personist and want to see all people treated equally and fairly, regardless of whether or not they are man or woman. I agree with Beth’s assertion for better sexual health education and unrestricted access to birth control.

        For the sake of labels, I am Pro-Life. And I will not stop telling people that because for one thing it sparks interesting discussions. Thank you for commenting because I am enjoying hearing another person’s viewpoint.

      • Those “categories” are of your own making. There is no official Doctrine of Feminism, much as you and I might like there to be. So quit acting like you’re a spokesperson for it, because it doesn’t exist.

        I understand the implications of making abortion illegal, so I don’t know how I feel about “unrestricted access.” I’d rather focus on the issues that prevent abortion, because abortion is no woman’s first option: available and affordable birth control, education, etc.

      • Prevention is definitely the better option. The wear and tear on a woman’s body will be less extreme if she is educated and uses birth control. Because scientifically, abortion hurts women. And you cannot argue with that.

        Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds to me like you do not want women to have children at all.

      • At least pro-lifers and pro-choicers can agree on one thing: both groups want to see a world with less demand for abortion. We just differ in how to make that happen.

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