Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rainy Day Feminism

So, it's been raining for something like 16 hours straight. I drove R to work so that he didn't have to walk for 30-40 minutes through the mist and fog--not to mention the sludge that is every unpaved area of Iowa City at the moment. I got up at 5:45 and made him scrambled eggs and packed his lunch of leftover spicy spaghetti and meatballs (and surprise ginger snaps via my mother's Easter package). How domestic, you might say. You're right, I might reply.

This is something that I have noticed about myself. Despite the fact that I identify as a feminist--my favorite authors are Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, for heaven's sake!--I have a strange proclivity towards the domestic. I like to pull on a vintage apron and bake banana bread. I like to pack R's lunch and leave a little Post-It note on the container that holds his cookies. I like to put away the groceries. In the words of Joni Mitchell: "I want to knit you a sweater, I want to write you a love letter, I want to make you feel better." I might be toting a book about "the political grammar of feminist theory," but I still pause my reading to ask R what kind of dessert he would like when I take a break to bake this weekend.

What strikes me as having been unfair to women in the past was the fact that they were expected (forced?) to cook and clean and be of assistance to the men in their families. They did not have the option to pursue academic (or other) careers. Today I feel that we will sometimes judge our peers who opt to be housewives, or stay-at-home mothers, as if it is a cop-out of some kind. But what is wonderful is that these women choose to do this. Is is their choice.

My problem seems to be that I am in the process of choosing both. Here I am pursuing the highest bookworm degree possible, and as I am working on a paper about affect in Virginia Woolf I am thinking every now and then of what I should pick up at the grocery store for not only myself but R, too (who will berate me for shopping for him without his consent/money/company). I'm fantasizing about the possibility of baking chicken enchiladas next week with homemade salsa verde. I am part intellectual Lauren and part my Mexican grandma, who didn't even finish high school but got married instead. It's not so much a problem that I am torn between these two extremes so much as it is, well, challenging. It's term-paper season for crying out loud! I should be eating fast food and snacking on chips, not baking pie or cooking a well-balanced two-course meal. But I want to do both, and I am trying to do both, and I wonder if this just proves that I tend to challenge myself and that maybe I am a stronger woman than I thought?

Outfit Log: A Day Buried in Schoolwork

vest: thrifted
shirt: H&M
skirt: thrifted
boots: old old Xmas gift
necklace: via my mum

Bicycle courtesy of R. Mine has been living outside of Java House through the rain and freak-snow for a couple of weeks now. I should go pick it up, actually...