It’s everywhere in my private feeds—my messages on Facebook, the news feed on my iPod. One friend of mine just recommended a book called Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, and another friend is sending me a draft of one of the chapters in her book touching on the infamous “submission” passages in the Bible. I think about, read about, or hear about issues of gender and feminism every day.
But I haven’t written about it in a while.
Not, as it happens, for reasons of grand statement. I didn’t get worn down by the occasional phone calls from “concerned” family members. I haven’t changed my mind; I’m not too busy being The Mommy. Nor have I given up in despair, red wine, and waspy convos about whether or not men consciously cultivate their inability to smell the poopy diaper first. (First sniffed, first served?)
I’ve just been… living it, you know?
I came late to the reality of women’s status around the world, and I did what I always do when I’m interested in something: I read about it. A lot. I read a lot of horrifying statistics and empowering stories, and I’ve filled up a pretty nice bookshelf in the last ten years with all of them. I changed and refined my opinions on things. I made some personal and parental goals.
And I have zero regrets about reading so much on topic, but I also hit a point where I needed to step back and spend less time thinking about feminism as a whole, venting about injustices, and generally being enraged at the political stuff. I have no criticisms to offer about those who ARE doing all those things—in fact, I’m incredibly glad people care enough to do all of those things—but for me, at this moment in my life, I needed to get more in touch with the personal than the political aspect of it.
I’m a stay-at-home mom with two kids who (usually) has dinner on the table at 6:30pm. I am also a feminist with detailed career goals and 4 unpublished novels on my hard drive. Figuring out what it means to live that particular blend—and in grandiose moments I would add: with courage and grace and self-respect—is challenging enough.
And I hope that someday I have something meaningful to contribute to the public conversations about women and men, marriage and children, jobs and homes. But right now I mostly just have a lot of questions and respect and compassion and indignation. And weariness.
And spit up.
So if you’ve been wondering, that’s where I’ve been. You can call it opting-out if you want, but I usually just call it research.