Yesterday's Lily Bee post featured a layout that has been trying to get out of my head and on to paper for a while now. It's sort of bright and bold and ka-pow, I know, but I sort of kind of totally love it.
PP and stickers: Lily Bee; letters: American Crafts; stamp: Studio Calico: ink: Malted Milk (JBS);
border sticker and "Darning and Mending" sticker: Crate Paper; mist: Studio Calico (Bluegrass);
buttons: my mom's old sewing stash; other: lined handwriting paper, pearls, and sewing pattern.
From the moment I saw the Domestic Bliss line, I knew that it had a kind of retro-kitschy subversive charm -- perfect for my declaration on this page.
Sometimes "feminism" can be a loaded word. For years I have heard so many women say, "I'm a feminist, but..." and follow with some kind of statement that would indicate that they believed that the spirit of feminism somehow contradicted their own desires. It doesn't have to be that way, though.
I teach at an all-girls school, and our amazing and always-inspiring principal frequently tells the students that they can be anything. Maybe that seems like hokey dream rhetoric to some, but it really is a powerful thought -- and a feminist philosophy. A girl should not have to limit her options or redirect her dreams simply because she is a girl. For instance, a girl should not have to think twice about embracing her love of science or math because those are career areas in which men traditionally dominate. Conversely, a girl should not have to second-guess herself and wonder if she is somehow "settling" if she wants to pursue a profession traditionally dominated by women. She should follow her passion, no matter where it leads her.
In Calling: Essays on Teaching in the Mother Tongue, Gail Griffin journeys toward an understanding of what it means to be a feminist teacher. She sees each of her students as having "a good and worthy voice," explaining that "when we say that someone 'has a voice'...we mean not that this person speaks, but that this person is heard." For me, that is so much of what feminism is about --truly hearing others' voices and seeing the value in our diverse beliefs and experiences.
Feminism isn't about judging the way that women choose to express their womanhood; it isn't about figuring out whether it is less feminist or more feminist to be a working mother rather than a stay-at-home mother; it isn't about choosing pants over a skirt, singlehood over marriage, or makeup over no makeup. It is about choice itself -- giving women as many choices as possible and respecting the choices that they make.
I say, reclaim the F-word. Use your "good and worthy voice." Make your choices -- and keep fighting for the right and privilege to make them. Speak, and be heard.