A few weeks back, I was sitting and talking with the woman who says, she admires me for going to school and raising a family at the same time. The woman that said I was in a Mid Life Transition, not crisis...I like that and I still use it. Taking time for myself, finding out who I am. I thanked her.
The next time this lady came around she tells me is a feminist, and I think I am too, in my own ways, I do believe that I can do anything any man does. IF FACT, I damn well know that I can! I do believe I can survive without my husband, but I choose not to because we are a pretty good team, most of the time. I can do plumbing, and have, build things, and have, crap, my manual labour went into the building of this house, with skills saws, chain saws, hammers, table saws...I can change the car oil, change a tire, so can I do everything a Man can do? You bettcha! Well, I will not pee my name in the snow, but I will gladly leave that talent to the men. SO not interested! I even kept my family name when I got married, (NOTICE I did not use the patriarchal term Maiden! I hate that term!) I thought 3rd wave feminism (and I could be wrong) is the ability to CHOOSE what you want to do and do it! Self empowerment...Choosing what you do and making up your own mind. I thought that meant everything.
My upbringing was untraditional for the time, Woman can do anything they want...this was my Dad’s teaching. You want to be a grease monkey (mechanic) then be one and work harder and be the best. Good Life lessons.
Then (this lady and I) proceeded to talk about commercials and images. She told me I was the epitome of the straight, white, smart, female, beautiful and put together, and that I have been influenced by Male dominated magazine ads and commercials and American media and that I should fight against this. I agreed to a point and then thought just a minute here. I choose to look a certain way. I am not fashion model but I do take of myself, inside and out...ahem, I am not back in school on my own choosing? No one sent me here.
I do know, that in this day and age that people are judge first by appearance and then by intellect, I do not wear a lot of make up, I dress in a style that suits me and my body type, which is not slim by any stretch of the imagination at 5’4”. I dress to suit my personality. Jeans first, and then usually jackets, sweaters, t-shirts, and for my artsy flair, scarves and boots... LOVE BOOTS! I dig Artsy type jewellery and bracelets’, my fav’s are from the dollar store... I am middle of the road, I am a bargin shopper by nature, and I never spend a lot on my clothes. I choose to look nice and if asked if my husband cares what I wear, the answer is no. Never has. I do know that media has some influence, and yes, I struggle with this. I will never be Jennifer A or Jessica A or anyone else on the A list. But do I want to...no, not really, or I would. BUT I choose to look like me! I do not wear designer labels to which she guffawed at, I said you will find very few labels like that of any kind in my closet, and am a $8 t-shirt kind of girl, but I dress it up with a $30.00 blazer some cheap jewellery and a scarf. Which makes me look like a million bucks!
She said a few more things that criticized me for this, I thought for a minute and said quietly to her, “and you have not? First off, you are white and female, and slim and smart, just by the fact you are here, just like me, BUT you cannot assume to know me by judging me on appearance. I have chosen to look as I do. You choose to look like you do, and do not tell me other wise. You choose let people judge you on whom you are by your appearance, you dare them to. She admitted to that she does but also said she had no money. I said I grew up in poverty; do not tell me you cannot comb your hair...just that would make an image adjustment, but here again, you came to school today because you choose not to comb it, you are making a statment to the world about yourself. I am sure you have hard issues in your life, and I am sorry about that, I have had issues too, and a couple of times I almost did not make it. That is the way of the world, I fought back and am stronger than ever, no one life is easy, no one's, but I like to take care of me. MY image is my INNER self expression coming out, but you choose to express yourself in your own personal way. I don’t care, but you seem to care how I express myself and call me down on it. YOU dress how you dress to make that impression, and, then take on the world when it does what you expect it too. I dress to make my impression that I am articulate, smart and care about myself and others in one glance and possibly fun. That is what my attire says about me. Human beings have been doing this since the dawn of time. Choices are made on apperance in a split second. You chose your avenue and I choose mine, HOWEVER, you cannot judge me on it you do NOT KNOW ME.
This tires me out, when people who assume to know me after a few hours of conversation.
It does not matter to me how she dresses but her image or her self-expression is of her own doing, which is fine, she chooses to smoke, and she chooses not to fix her hair. I have no problem with any of that but the point is she CHOOSES THIS, and mental choice. I also don’t judge people on appearance or in any other way. If I do, I know they get to judge me. I get to know them first, she chose to sit with me and I allowed it, some would not...so why did this conversation, happen? This conversation has been nagging me for weeks. Was it just a conversation or did she feel I needed to be told I was a stereo type? Why was this important to her? WHY did she thought she had the right to? What made her think that I would take it lying down? We all make choices in life,some good, some bad, and only I can judge myself and my choices, no one else has the right to, well unless I cause harm to others. I have not.
Why I am out here talking about this in Blogsphere? Well, because a few years ago I would have sat there taken it, I would not have hurt her feelings, but let my feeling get hurt in the process. Typical me, but I have changed in 3 years, maybe it is age, maybe school has taught me how to stand up for myself. When this happened I, thought WAIT A MINUTE! You are attacking me and you don’t give a damn about my feelings or respectful of my choices. No matter what they are, so you have to hear what MY opinion. She listened, looked at me, shook her head sadly like I was a lost cause, said nice to chat and left. I have not seen her since.
Am I a cop out? It was my choice to go back to school, I almost quit a few times, and I was scared, terrified, I was not sure I was even smart enough to do any of this. I was encouraged by my English Prof at the time I needed at least one year to get back into the swing of things and then another to remember how to learn and then by the 3rd year, I would doing what I hoped to...and Bloody hell, he was right! I have struggled to learn grammar and I am getting there, and I fit there, I learned that I love ENGLISH and ART HISTORY equally. It was hard to go to a place where YOUNG, BEAUTIFUL and SMART is the norm, where I was so unsure of myself. Now it does not matter. I know I am beautiful to my family and to my friends, and to the young people at school. Not in looks but as a person, inside, and there are young, middle and OLD, who do want to hear what this chick has to say. No matter what this woman had to say to me, I am me. Maybe I am beautiful on the outside, but do I fracking care? NO...My mind is what is important, not the nice jeans, my $8.00 t-shirt and the boots and cheap jewellery, I wear.
What is your take on this? AM I a copout feminist because I choose to be married, who does not use her married name, and kept my family name? I am not a feminist because my husband supports and helps me in my decision to be in school? I am not a feminist because I like to look good and dress in a certain way? Should I be judged for those choices? HOWEVER, I am ME and I am not just one thing. I am NOT just a Feminist. I am a Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Student, Friend to many, Den Mother, Artist, Photographer, Martini drinker and Wine drinker, Coffee and Tea Drinker, book lover and loves artworks! I am compassionate, loving, and friendly, emotional, and excitable and loud, loves to talk, loves to laugh, as my friend Allen says, I took the stick out my ass and love to throw back my head and let it rip! I am also a rip-roaring bitch, selfish, and moody, who hates bad manners, or people who eat with there mouth open, and sick and tired of people trying to pigeonhole me. I am all of these things and many other things and I am woman who has lost many things, learned many things and survived. I am a combination of all! Suck it up world...take me or leave me! I am Sharon...incomplete and still learning. So don’t even try to tell me who I am, because you will fail, and I am the only one who truly knows WHO I AM!
I am sorry to feminists of the world, if I do not fit into the standard Feminist stereo types, you have in your mind for me, but I will make MY Choices, and these are mine alone. No one will tell me otherwise. So in my veiw I am a Feminist, I will let no one male or female dictate who I am, and how I should act or should be.
Now I will have a cup of tea, and read, and maybe make supper for my family...but it will be my choice.