In conversation with an acquaintance recently, I expressed a desire to marry and spend some time as a full-time mother to my children when the time came. She recoiled from me and said, 'How can you say that? I thought you were a feminist!'
How can I say what? That I want to be a stay-at-home mum at certain periods of my life? The thing is, I have always wanted to get married, I have always wanted to have kids, I have always wanted to create a home and nurture the people who live in it. And while I am proud of professional women who smash the glass ceiling to smithereens, it is not anti-feminist of me to express this sentiment toward my domestic arrangements. It is also not to say that I haven't got goals outside of the home.
Feminism has many facets, and for me it is about choice. It could mean a woman choosing to run for presidential office, or staying home to give birth to as many babies as she can give her man (or men). It could be the boldness in making a decision without fearing the conflict it might bring, or simply, the choice of your nail colour. It is not the man-bashing or belittling of men that people have come to equate the term with - which has led to some discomfiture with the idea of a young woman calling herself a feminist - but a devotion to striving for dignity for women, and an encouragement to men and boys to be respectful towards us.
There is no better day to reiterate this message than today, International Women's Day. I celebrate the phenomenal women in my life who, in their own way, pick themselves off the ground and run with tunnel vision towards the dream that lies within them, for family and country. The women who have taught me that it is not so much about succeeding as it is a willingness to show up and try. The ones who attack life with a ferocity in pursuing the things that matter to them. Those who define the ingredients that make up their 'have-it-all.'
She is right, I am a feminist.
I am woman. When I harbour grandiose dreams of changing the world as a blazing career woman, the other overpowering desire is to gather my husband and kids in a warm dining room and ply them with home cooked food until they are hazy with pleasure. And that's before dessert is served.
I am woman. When I moan about the nail polish chipping off, I still don't give a second thought to plunging my fingers into a piece of fresh fish to bring out goey intestines.
I am woman. When a man makes a leery comment that leaves me fuming and firing a smart retort their way, it doesn't stop me from flashing a flirtatious smile at another one if the desire so takes me.
I am woman. I want to have my cake and eat it. And I make no apology for it.
Neither should you.