Fathering Feminism Femininity
May 29, 2011
Inside every feminist, a woman is struggling to get out.
By Sandra Gallagher
I am the daughter of a Feminist (3rd generation), so in my world it
was normal that mother had a career and control over her reproduction.
When I asked why she would ever have a child, my mother would get a far away look in her eye and say, "I normally hate children, but I love you. One thing you must know is that your life totally ends when you have kids."
I was told this over and over and since I had a pretty good life, I didn't want it to change; so naturally, I never wanted children.
As a baby, I was left in the hands of incompetent day care providers from 6 weeks of age. My mother stopped her maternity leave and discontinued nursing me because she "hated being alone with a baby and needed to go back to work," as if work was her only source of freedom and power.
My mother raised me to be somewhat androgynous. She insisted I learn to ride a bike, enjoy the wilderness, balance a cheque book, and not worry about meal preparation, household chores, etc.
She raised me like a boy and marveled at how strong and independent I was. By nine-years-old I was responsible for arranging my own doctor's appointments, taking public transit and making my lunches. I never looked to adults for help and as a result I was considered a well-rounded adolescent, with a healthy dose of self-confidence.
I was told, that anything I would try I could excel at. I had no problem making friends, although most of my friendships were boys. I didn't relate to the "girly girls".
Through my mother's Gloria Steinem-like quest for equality, I was pretty useless in a traditional, heterosexual union, and for that reason my teens and twenties were wrought with confusion as I struggled with my feminine identity. I was far more outspoken, aggressive and independent than even I was comfortable with.
I excelled in mathematics and science and decided to pursue a career in engineering and technology. I entered an architecture school 15 years ago and was one of only 4 women, which felt pretty normal at the time.
I confused sexual power with promiscuity and felt empty in all relationships, with women and men. Everywhere I went people were impressed with my accomplishments, however no one was aware how out of place I felt. I dated a couple of guys in university and some just after graduation, each "relationship" lasting 2 - 6 months, and I was often cited as being the one to blame for the outcome. I remember the last guys I dated pathetically telling me that I was just "too strong" for them. It seemed that guys in their twenties didn't want to be with gals that seemed to have it all going for them.
LIFE WAS "INCREDIBLE"
Despite the loneliness, life was incredible. I had lots of money, drove great cars (always standard transmission) and happily believed that I was destined to be single and childless. My girlfriends seemed to make similar unspoken pacts. My mother did her best to encourage me in that direction.
As I said the words, "No kids for me!" I could feel an ache in my heart. I knew it was a lie. I told myself I was strong enough to be single, however I knew that I craved to be loved and cared for by a man. In my opinion, the type of man I needed was a myth, at least that's what I was brought up to believe.
My work as a technical project manager found me working against women more than with them. During my twenties, I probably uttered, "I hate women" hundreds, if not thousands of times. I befriended women who shared my views and we received great pleasure by tormenting flighty, clueless, co-dependent women all around us.
Hatred towards women seemed to emanate from within pop culture. It became hip to hate women, and cool to be associated with effeminate men. I joked that if women were only more intelligent and goal driven, I'd be willing to "change teams," thinking this must be the next logical step.
MEETING A REAL MAN
My world changed radically when I fell in love with a man who, despite my bravado, saw me as a feminine woman. In contrast, he was what I could call far more masculine than most of the heterosexuals I was dating in the city.
This small-town boy who I met online caught me totally off guard. I felt absolutely weak when I was with him. Just by being in his presence I was amazed how a softer nature emerged in me, which seemed to compliment our combined energies perfectly. For once I felt like I could truly be myself with someone by letting down the "tough-girl" front.
I wanted someone to magically enter my life with all the goods, and none of "the baggage" to compliment all that I had worked hard for. Instead, what I ended up drawing into my life was a recently separated, blue collar worker with tonnes of baggage, in the form of an ex-wife and then 8 year old daughter.
The thought of taking on someone's' seconds did not appeal to me but something inside me told me to not be so shallow. I decided to give in to the feelings as they felt "right" even though they conflicted with what my head was telling me.
When I introduced him to friends and family, people thought I had lost my mind. Their assumption was that I was dating a mechanic to learn how to do my own oil changes. I fought the idea of getting involved with a divorcee; I cringed at the idea of having to contend with a kid every-other-week, but in the end it was seeing him interact with his daughter that helped me dissolve my hang ups. They were both experiencing difficulties throughout the separation, and being there for them during this time allowed me to fall in love with him and his daughter. I could then see a place for me and wanted nothing more than to give this man more children.
As if being guided by a feminine intuition, I decided to leave an incredible career to devote myself to making a home and raising babies in the most natural way. Life has never been the same since exiting the corporate world. I don't miss a thing about the nice pay, beautiful office, power lunches, business travel, etc.
While working from home I was able to learn more about my local community (we had just moved to the suburbs) and learn about alternative birthing options. My interests quickly grew to include evaluating gentle birth choices, the scope of the allopathic medical system, alternative education, non-conventional farming and food processing practices, attachment parenting, and I began to question everything. Now I look back and I can't even imagine trying to educate myself on our options from my desk on a lunch break.
Before our son arrived I built up a home-based direct sales business to help bring in some money. Ironically I now work with and sell products exclusively to women! It's taken some work but I now understand where my motivation to reject women came from and I see how that attitude serves society but not me.
We have all been tricked to devalue the sacred feminine energy. I believe that most forms of suppression of this vital energy are unconscious, however women have become increasingly hostile to other women.
This societal attitude had me seeking other "women haters" to associate with. I'm also bi-racial and the self-hate felt towards woman began to feel too similar to that which is too commonly found within the Black and other minority cultures.
I now see women as my mother/teacher/friend and cannot imagine a world without their sweet influence.
I've been working from home for six years and I'm now in my mid-30's with 2 children under the age of four, and plans for more. I am feeling myself pull away from society so that I can live a life dedicated to the nurturing of a truly deserving family (aren't they all?)
I cannot imagine for a moment depriving my children of basics such as my attention and care. The thought truly sickens me. I want nothing more than to provide for them, to prepare nutritious meals for my crew, and to be a delight to my husband, a corn-fed white boy, who works hard physically to provide for us. I
In my past life, I would have never believed it if someone told me that my greatest joys in life would be to breastfeed my children, give birth to them unassisted at home, or to simply just watch my children bring smiles to the faces of others.
These joys are more rewarding than anything I could have imagined in a life without a mate. I'm just so happy that instead of being led by my left brain, I allowed my higher self have more influence on the direction of my life. My higher self was looking out for my true needs and desires.
It's now through my heart and emotions that I trust my intuitive nature and it's through the balance of the male/female energies in my relationship that adds the excitement that keeps us in this incredible union.
I am fully aware that my society, surroundings and environment do not support the lifestyle I crave. It has only been through my desire to provide a great example of a wife, mother and homemaker for my family, that I've had the courage to go against "the norm". It has been difficult but extremely rewarding and I've found that I'm now meeting more and more women with similar values to mine.