Thursday, August 03, 2006

What was I thinking?

You know, I've had it pretty good for a long time. I've been home with my kids. And they're good kids. They're pleasant (most of the time), they're smart, interested in the world, funny, cute--all that good stuff. My husband is a nice guy--a wonderful man, according to my mother, and even my feminist friends who hate men like him. He's kind, thoughtful, smart, hard-working, goofy. He keeps me nicer than I would otherwise be. And he's made enough money so that we can have a fine life and I can stay home and be a mom.

I'm grateful.

So why did I go and cock it up by getting a job? I mean, for cryin' out loud, I've got it made here! What was I thinking?! Suddenly I've got deadlines and people expecting me to know what the hell I'm doing and expecting me to do something. I don't do things; I float from task to task in a lovely, leisurely manner and have a little snack in-between.

My kids aren't back in school yet, so I drag them along to my office or, worse, leave them home while Eric tries to work in his little corner of the house. (It's August--babysitters are hiding. They've been so terrorized by their June and July babysitting disasters that they've very inconveniently scheduled themselves beyond any availability.)

Sure, my mind has been on a long recess. So I was happy to use my brain again, happy to be with adults, happy to do something not focused on a family member. I needed those changes. Going back to school and work has been fun and exciting and rewarding, and in a lot of ways, I wish I'd done it years earlier.

But holy buggering barnyard animals. This is going to take some getting used to.

(Speaking of sex with barnyard animals, read the book Farm Boys, by William D. Fellows. There is one section in there that--well, I read it repeatedly. I heard that the book inspired Brokeback Mountain, but I don't know if that's true or not.)


riley said...

by the end of the work day i can't wait to get home. but by the end of the weekend i am looking forward to being in a place where there are all kinds of people to talk to, interesting work to be done, and, most recently, air conditioning.

it's a love-hate relationship and it always has been.

but i must ask you, amy....your feminist friends who hate men. what does that mean?

are you not a feminist?
i am. and i love men.
most of 'em, anyway.

Amy said...

Ooo, the feminist issue gets me in trouble.

My feminist friends who hate men: well, there is the lesbian contingent who are militantly against anything male unless it's a large dog or their own masculine attire; there is the woman who is convinced that since she is without a penis, she'll never succeed in the world because the world is tipped in favor of men--and she's quite resentful, rude, and mean-spirited when it comes to men in general and any man in particular, so when she actually liked Eric, I could scarcely speak. She still likes him and is pleasant and chatty with him. She is an extreme example of one group of feminists: men bad.

I don't consider myself a feminist. Most people my age don't use that word. Of course I want equal rights. I don't think women are inherently better than men. People are people.

Feminists through the ages worked hard so that I can take my ability to make my own choices for granted. And I'm happy they did. That freedom was the goal. Let's rejoice in that success, and leave the labels behind.

Doonesbury put it well:

Riley, it's been my experience, limited as it is, that most feminists don't share your love of men. Maybe if there were more out there like you I'd be more willing to wear the feminist tag.

Down with sexism! In either direction.

Amy said...

Damn! The link doesn't work. Trying again...pasting will probably be necessary. If you want to bother.

Amy said...

It still doesn't work. Foo on it.

riley said...

i guess i always thought of a feminist as someone who believes in equal rights for women and men.

i'm not sure where it got its man-hating connotation from, but that's certainly not what it means to me.

i'm always mystified by people who say "i'm not a feminist, but i believe in equal rights."

so what do you think a feminist is? i don't think feminist=lesbian. i think lesbian could be a subset of feminist, but so could a lot of other groups.

and i'm well aware this is totally off the main point of your blog.

Amy said...

I don't know how it evolved into man-hating, either. Obviously it hasn't for everyone. But it certainly smacks of man-hating to me. Maybe it's because the most vocal feminists are the ones who don't like men? I don't know. Also, the name itself is not egalitarian - it's not "equal-rights-ist," is it?

Riley, I don't think feminist equals lesbian, either. Nor do I think that lesbian equals feminist.

To me (just me, little old me, my opinion), feminism isn't about equal rights, but about females taking their turn at domination. There seems to be a group that think/s women would do a better job of things; there's another group that just want/s women to have their opportunity to make herstory because it's about goddamn time we saw the world through the eyes of someone other than the oppressive, white male.

So, you're mystified by me, and I'm pleased and encouraged by you. I wish I knew more people who called themselves feminists who shared your ideal of equality. Most people I know who call themselves feminists, including the men, really believe that women are better by definition.

So that's why I don't call myself a feminist.

riley said...

i think i know which doonesbury you were trying to point me toward--the one that made the point that language evolves and once rights are won the need for the term goes away.

that's probably true. and if that were the case here, i woudln't mind if the word "feminist" just became kind of archaic and charmingly dated.

instead, it's become this synonym for man-hating--and no, you're not the only one who thinks that.

i'm a bit older than you, and when i was coming of age the ERA was hotly debated, abortion was just barely legal, women got paid way less than men for the same jobs, and when i got married the first time (very briefly, what can i say, he looked just like Scott Baio) a bunch of people asked me if i was going to keep my job after i got married because apparently women didn't, in those days.

plus, i wored in a very macho environment--the newsroom of a daily newspaper, where women reporters and editors had only recently been allowed out of the "women's section" and into the news pages.

so i wore the feminist term proudly. to me--and to most of the women i knew and worked with---it meant we were finally on par with men. we could cover the news and keep our jobs and get paid the same and kick butt and work hard and go have a couple of beers with our fellow reporters and it didn't mean we were coming onto them or that they had to pay.

so sad that it now means something so different.

but all of the things i just listed in that previous graf are now a given, right?

Amy said...

It's true in my experience.

Of course, I hear about exceptions. And it pisses me off.

True, women who are older than I am had a different time growing up.

I don't think we're completely past sexual discrimination, and I doubt we ever will be. Have you ever noticed at parties that the men and women tend to gravitate toward gender-specific groups? Maybe we just want to be with our own kind once in a while. How sexist does that sound?

Makes me think of Avenue Q, actually, and the song "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist." But that's another kettle of fish.

riley said...

i don't mind the grouping by gender at parties. i do mind when i am *expected* to group with the women, which happens sometimes.

nothing wrong with wanting to be with our own kind.

everything wrong with being forced to be with our own kind.