Don’t Put Me in a Box – An Open Letter to Amy Glass

As much as I hate to link back to Amy Glass and give her any more attention than she’s already gotten, there seems to be no other option.  Read her post before you read mine.

Ms. Glass,

You and I clearly have different ideas on different things.  And that’s okay.  But I will say that I find some of your ideas to be exceptionally flawed.

Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit.

dont-put-me-in-a-boxValidation?  Really?  If you think that we’re all seeking external validation, that’s just showing that you’re perceiving us all as weak, fragile creatures who need someone else to tell us that we’re doing the right thing.  It’s not necessary at all.  Quite frankly, if I spend my life dependent upon the validation of perfect strangers who don’t know me from Adam and don’t care, then that shows a level of insecurity that’s quite troubling.

Every time I read some idiot thinking that feminism is about validation, I wonder if she’s trying too hard to use her big girl words and is failing.

Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same.

Of course they aren’t “the same.”  Equally valid lifestyle choices don’t mean that they are the exact same choice.  I’ve been both.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with either.

It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers.

It’s hard for me to believe that, in spite of your ability to be long winded, your understanding of the English language is what it is.  I embrace the term “mommy blogger.”  I’m a mom.  I’m a blogger.  I blog about the life that I life with my kids, charity work, and so forth.  If people are living their lives in a way to avoid “getting in trouble” with other people, I suspect that they are the ones that are seeking validation.

But, fine.  Since you’re operating on the erroneous conception that I want or need your validation, then here goes.

Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?

Of course they are life milestones.  Because it’s a change from one state of being to another.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you have absolutely zero understanding or knowledge of cultural anthropology.  These aren’t just “milestones.”  These are rites of passage.  The celebration of a new baby isn’t celebrating the “achievement” of “getting knocked up.”  It’s celebrating the new life that is coming.  It’s marking the upcoming rite of passage of having someone that you care for so much that it would be to your own detriment if needed.  By the way, no, not “literally anyone” can “get knocked up.”  If that were the case, then we wouldn’t have the industry of fertility doctors that we do.  In fact, it’s estimated that 10% of all women have polycystic ovarian syndrome.  That’s a disorder that often comes with fertility issues.

Celebrating a marriage is the rite of passage that happens when two people live their life together and merge two separate lives into one.  At one point, that merger was a political and financial merger that was for the benefit of others.  Those two had little, if any, input on who they would marry.  Now people are allowed to marry who they want to marry for love.  If you think that love is “average,” I’m going to guess that you have not experienced it.

If, by some miracle, you have, then you would realize that rites of passage are not about achievement.  Rites of passage are about moving forward in life based on where you are.  Go read some Joseph Campbell.  It may make more sense to you that way.

The other examples you speak of?  Going backpacking through Asia and getting a bachelor’s degree?  Maybe you just have crappy friends, because my friends’ adventures are celebrated.  We’d have a welcome back party for the intrepid wanderer.  She’d have the opportunity to regal us with her adventures along the Great Wall and the time she spent in Tokyo.  Don’t most people you know have grad parties?

As amazing as those things are, they are achievements.  They are not rites of passage that have been observed for thousands of years and across all cultures.  You understand the difference, right?

Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play is holding us back.

Do you think that these things are not important?  I’m not saving the world when I hang up the kids’ shirts, but I’m happy.  If you don’t think that raising the people who will inherit the earth and teaching them to have respect for themselves, the planet, and others is an unimportant job, then you are part of the problem with society embracing rudeness and slovenliness.

But your insistence that those of us who do not value the things that you value or are doing things that are not at all valuable under the title of feminism is the most disturbing.  What you are doing is very much like the patriarchal roles thrust upon women in the past: stay home, take care of the kids, keep the house up, and just smile and look pretty while the menfolk make all the important decisions.  Only now, you’re insisting that if women do any of those things even when it’s what she really and truly wants, she is not important or valued.  That you feel that women must be forced to live the way that you think we should live is actually worse than patriarchy: that was men forcing these positions for their own benefit with no concern at all for what the women in their world wanted.  Now it’s you trying to force women into “traditionally masculine roles” with no concern for what other women want.  You’re suggesting that we should all subjugate ourselves to your desires in order to receive validation from you for our life choices.

You’re doing this to other women.

So with that in mind, Ms. Glass, I don’t care if you look down on me or not.  I do not need your validation.  I am happy with my life choices.  Can you say the same thing?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. Since she looks down on anyone who does laundry, I hope she wears the same dirty underwear and clothes every day. But I bet not.

    She can think whatever she wants. She can live her life how she wants. Her opinions and choices have no bearing on my life. But kuddos to her for garnering pageviews. That’s something as equally important in life as being a doctor or engineer, right? *Eye roll*
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  2. Well were to start? The comment that stood out to me was “You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.” Primarily the work “Exceptional”. So to be exceptional I need to back pack through China? Anyone can put a backpack on and walk. Before becoming a SAHM, I worked as a Recreation Therapist with seniors. Did having a career and a BA make me exceptional? Not in anyway. Being a Dr. doesn’t make you exceptional, in fact I think back to a resident’s Dr. coming into the centre for her check and talking to her, but ignoring her communication cards that she pointed at as she was deaf and non verbal. Am I an exceptional mom? I think most people would say no. But I know someone who would say that (if he knew that word and its meaning) – my 3 year old son.

    The other thing I would like to touch on is showers (not the ones that as a mom your lucky to have). Wedding and baby showers happen because people are happy for you, but mostly because those big life changes incur a large financial output. Back when couples didn’t live together before hand, you were establishing a household together and shower gifts were often to help give you the supplies/tools to have your own household (not unlike a housewarming gift). Babies need lots of things that are quickly outgrown and that greatly helps new parents to have many of these items gifted to them. As an added bonus an after birth shower lets you family and friends meet and snuggle your baby. So don’t think these events are just to congratulate you on getting knocked up or finding some sucker to walk down the isle with you.

    I don’t think anyone should put down someone else’s job. Everyone has a role in life that is often changing, and they all end up contributing to society in some manner. Each job has positives and negatives and all have “menial” tasks that are associated with it in some way. As for me, I like my job looking after my kids (the housework a lot less) and will keep doing it for love.

  3. Yeah, good response. I don’t mean this in a judgemental way, but she’s clearly just selfish…part of what makes marriage, parenting, and staying at home so *difficult* is that they involve sacrificing self for someone else. And to her, that’s not what feminism is about. But relationships are sacrifice, aren’t they? So she wants to live in a world where we just do what we want whenever we want and damn everyone else’s needs. She’s not cut out for marriage or kids yet.

    (Also, I hate to be picky, but you want “rite” of passage instead of “right”; I wouldn’t normally say anything but you use the word many times.)

  4. This is the first I’d heard of “glass-gate” but I’m not even sure what her opinions really are. http://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2014/02/hi-i-am-amy-glass/

    What she wrote isn’t my thing regardless….the far “right” and “left” of any issue typically gets on my nerves.

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