Despite my best intentions, my marriage isn’t new or hip or trendy. I cook and clean. He does the lawn and the taxes. I sew curtains and decorate. He watches the budget and fixes the garbage disposal. It’s not that way because I am trying to reverse the women’s movement, it’s just that our marriage works better that way. I am a better cook. He’s a whiz at taxes. I really enjoy a nicely swiffered floor. He loves multiple trips to Home Depot. Call it genetics. Call it culture. It’s who we are.
The first thing you need to know is that Dan asked me to marry him while we were brushing our teeth. We had been together for almost 10 years at that point, living together for five, and we had plenty of people despairing as to whether we would ever get around to tying the knot. We finally settled matters after flossing. Big romantic gestures? Not our thing. We like to lie around eating ice cream straight from the container and watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia reruns. But then we jumped into planning mode for the wedding, a day that's supposed to be nothing but romantic moments and symbolic traditions. And even two cynics like ourselves couldn't help getting caught up in all the excitement. But when it came to walking being a bride and walking down the aisle, did I want my father to give me away?
After an Iranian cleric declared that earthquakes can be, in some part, attributed to immodest female dress (AKA cleavage, mid-drift and rouge). While some people know that this is unlikely, as only immodest dancing can cause earthquakes, others feel that the Persian killjoy really overstepped his bounds. The solution, obviously, was to put him in his place by having women all wear whatever they damn well please as long as it's sexy.
Pole dancing is a controversial sport.It's hard to do; you have to have excellent core and upper body strength, and you have to be fairly coordinated. But it’s also undeniably erotic. Watching it immediately conjures up sexual thoughts for men, and most likely even for some women. It is inexorably linked to exotic dancing, otherwise known as stripping. Therein lies the feminist dilemma.
I am a woman. I have all the biological requirements to have a child. Yet, I do not have the instincts or rational desire to do so. Does that make me less of a woman to not want to have a child either by using my body, my eggs, or my money to adopt?
Frankly, I was surprised some commenters even went there with the word "selfish." After all, isn't one of the upshots of feminism supposed to be that women have more choices than ever before and each of us is free to do what makes us happy? Let me be clear: I respect whatever other women choose to do because I'd want them to respect what I choose to do. Kids, no kids, puppies, iguanas, I don't care what your choice is. But I do care about the kind of judgments us women make against one another.
Earlier this week, New York Times columnist, Ross Douthat, wrote an op-ed piece about how feminism has made women increasingly unhappy over the last 30 years. Despite being wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were a generation ago, women in post-feminist America aren't as happy as they used to be. He suggested this may have something to do with the number of women "stuck raising kids alone," a "depressing" lifestyle that's much more common among women in the lower socioeconomic class. This hardly explains why so many wealthy women in East Hampton are so miserable, though, Douthat admits.
Paul and Judith have been together for 17 years. They live together, renovated a house together, and share a home workspace. But they are not married. "Neither of us has ever been married, and we don't intend to marry each other. There are no practical reasons to do so—no kids (unless you count our elderly diabetic cat, Julius), no employer-paid health insurance—and several tax-related reasons not to." Nonetheless, they face the same financial strains and decisions that a married couple comes up against. This is the story of how an unconventional couple manages their finances, and why they've chosen this path.
I don't feel a pressing desire to "prove" to myself or anyone else that I won't change, that I won't compromise anything, because at some point I'm sure I will. (Isn't compromise a big part marriage, after all?) But I'm also certain that while bits of my identity are bound to shift, just as I would expect them to with any big life change and new perspective, the core of who I am will remain the same. No new name, white dress, ring on my finger or any other traditional convention is going to change that. For better or worse, I am who I am and I'm pretty solid in my identity. So when I read a column in the Guardian recently by Abigail Gliddon, a woman who claims "when a woman takes her husband's name, she surrenders her former identity and adopts his," I wondered how she came to have such low expectations for other women.
Men fix cars, figure out credit card bills and hook up the TV. Is it sexist to want a guy for that? "When I was in college I bought my first car... Normally this was a task that I would have heaped on my dad’s shoulders; after all, Dads are the people you turn to in times of vehicular crisis. Mine wasn’t there, so I went at alone." Later her boyfriend helps her deal with debt collectors. Does it make you a bad woman or anti-feminist to want a man to do certain things for you?