In class the other day we had a discussion that led to feminism (as many times it does in a class in which the professor is the leading scholar on women in the reformations). Now, I always understand the need for dialogue about feminism and the role of gender rolls, but it also exhausts me.
I am a woman. I had not experienced gender difficulties until I decided to become a leader in the church who happens to be a woman.
I would not consider myself a “feminist,” in fact, I used to hate the feminist thought, and even “feminine” things (read: the color pink).
However, so many things in my life have changed in the past couple of years. I made a major life decision by coming to seminary. I have been told, after telling someone (including my own grandfather) that I wanted to be a pastor that “Oh, I don’t like women preachers.” “Women should not lead from the pulpit”.
This has colored my view of the “stained glass” ceiling as I have heard it been called in the classrooms of Valentine. I did not totally believe that gender stereotyping still happened so blatantly in the work force. I figured it happened to some, but not as common as everyone talked about. I was wrong. It is very much alive, and makes me frustrated!
When it was SO blatant in the 20th century-it was almost easier. The goal was to vote. The goal was to be able to work after having children.
What are we, as a country, working for now? And how will we, men and women, know if this undetermined goal is achieved?
I also however have a brand new giggly daughter. I think that having the responsibility of raising an upstanding woman in today’s world has also been weighing on me as I contemplate the gender role that I have been unwillingly thrust into. How can I tell her that these ceiling, stereotypes and attitudes exist while trying to teach her how to go beyond them and break through? Will they even exist when she becomes a woman and goes out on her own into the world?
My inner feminist is definitely broken through as I contemplate what this challenge means for my own life and vocation, as well as trying to raise my little girl.
I do know one thing; I have never liked the color pink more in my whole life.
I have not ever felt as feminine as I do as a mother.