I read a post recently over at No Seriously, What About Teh Menz that really got me thinking about how I view my own femininity and, more specifically, what I think other people think about my femininity. Though I am not a "high femme", I wear makeup, dresses, and jewelry even if I am not dressed up.
But this post isn't about looks, it's about interests. I like a lot of stereotypical lady things: cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, and weaving. These are just things that I like and am good at. I'm not very good at sports- never have been- and I just like doing quiet, solitary activities where I work with my hands. The precision of baking and weaving especially appeal to me- an outlet for perfectionism I suppose.
There have been moments where I feel a little ashamed that I like these types of activities because they are associated with women and femininity. I'm a feminist I'd think Aren't I supposed to go against traditional gender roles? But my aversion to running/balls/wind/loud noises/wildlife/places without bathrooms kept me inside, happily crawling around on the floor pinning sewing patterns on fabric or carefully weighing ingredients for a cake from scratch.
Then it occured to me that if I were a man, all of these activities would be considered revolutionary because they do go against what is traditional expected from men. So it would be ok if a man were doing these things? This changed how I thought about this quite a bit.
I never did these things because it was what I, as a woman, was suppose to do or like. These are just the types of activities that I'm good at. My mom taught me to sew when I was young because sewing was a big part of her childhood. My grandmother made all of my mom's and aunts' and uncles' clothes when they were children (six kids total!) and my mom made all of her own clothes until she was about 30. This was because she grew up with no money and the only way to have cute clothes was to make them herself.
My mom was taught to sew because she was a girl and girls were supposed to know how to sew. But that is not why my mom taught me how to sew. It was something important to her life history and she wanted to pass that along to me.
I don't worry about not being a good enough feminist anymore because I'm a lot more comfortable with who I am as a person. I like the things that I like because I like them. Simple as that. I like that when I sew or cook I hear my mom's voice in my head with the endless tips and tricks that she told me over the years. There is no sense in me pursuing activities that I don't really like just for the sake of breaking through what is expected of me as a woman. I barely have enough time for the hobbies I love, let alone taking on new ones that I ultimately have little interest in.
I love the things that I do and maybe that is the most "feminist" and "revolutionary" thing I could do.