Feminism and mothering

Ted’s back upstairs! Yippee! Now I’ll be able to hear the babies whenever they cry at night! Yip, oh wait. …  No, really, it’s great. Ted’s happy to be back in our room, and I won’t have to go up and downstairs to feed the babies. Also, our fabulous nanny is back after a 2.5-week trip away, and we are very, very happy to see her.

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Due to Hazel’s rapid self-potty-training, we need to get her more underpants. We’ve had a few waiting for her that we bought at least a year ago, but they are not sufficient now. When we went on an underwear shopping expedition, however, we discovered that the only option other than pink was to buy boys’ underpants. That was the case in two separate stores. Now, I understand that there are many different opinions on this matter, but the tyranny of pink is something we truly despise, and refuse to allow it to stick our daughters in its insanely narrow gender-id box. So, tomorrow Ted will pick up more Hanna Andersson underpants from the store near our house, in shades of white, green, blue, & other more gender neutral colors.

I am deeply grateful from the bottom of my heart for a) having a husband who’s on the same page with me on this issue, and b) having a brother I can call to talk about it with, and who, along with wicked jokes (pink is the devil’s color, and wearing it means selling your soul), can also give me good advice and his perspective on the matter, as he and his wife are also raising their kids to be able to see options outside the currently prevalent rigid definition of gender and gender expression.

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Speaking of gender, it is interesting to me how I experience internal shut-down and lack of confidence when in a place like a camera store. I love taking pictures, and have some very nice ones from the past few years. Of course, I am a total amateur, but do have a creative eye and am, after all, an artist in other arenas. However, I find that I have a mental block against really internalizing what all the various numbers mean, and so have in the past half-learned and forgotten what ISO, and f-stops etc mean and how to interpret the numbers I can see in my SLR camera. Also, when I’m around my camera-buff friends (most of whom are male), I instantly feel intimidated and turned off when they start spouting such numbers. Recently, I have decided that I just have to get past this, and have put effort into memorizing and gaining a better understanding of the technical side of photography, and am having success. Nevertheless, when we went into a Talls Camera store this evening, I found that I struggled to process anything said to me by the (smirking, irritating) guy behind the counter. I remembered reading about studies which have shown that when women and girls are exposed to statements about supposed gender-related truths – “Girls are worse at math,” etc – they in fact perform less well. And since girls and women are inundated by these messages, it gets very hard to get ahead in fields in which these assumptions are very prevalent.

So, I know all of this. And I know I’ve taken some beautiful pictures. And I know I’m no dummy. And yet, I feel myself shrinking when I enter that domain. It’s another thing to work on, as it’s another thing I don’t want to pass on to my daughters.

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The thyroid test came back negative, which was expected, but is still a relief to know. I have a big nodule on my thyroid, but it is not dangerous. Something to keep tabs on, but nothing to worry about.

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Right now I’m listening to the chorus of my babies’ little snorts and whuffles, along with the big-cat-growling snore Ted produces. The main thing is that it doesn’t seem to wake them up. Perhaps they’ll find the sounds of a motorcycle soothing later in life, though I hope it doesn’t mean they’ll have a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel. 🙂

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