Feminism is loud and proud once more, not since our sisters in arms, the Suffragettes, has it been so visible and such a topic of conversation. This time, we might actually see a female President of America! We might get to smash the glass ceiling once and for all. Hallelujah!
So, how does this make me feel, when I find myself the quintessential busy little housewife, financially dependent and responsible for making sure my husband has dinner on the table when he comes home every night. Honestly? Pretty shit. I feel like I’m disappointing my gender. I feel like my university education was a waste. I feel like a feminist with a very small ‘f’.
Two and a half years ago, after I acquired an agent for my first book and got an Arts Council Grant towards writing my second, I decided to ‘take a break’ from my freelance script-editing work and concentrate on writing ‘full-time’ i.e. whatever time was left after taking care of two young children, a house and a husband. So here I am, two and a half years later still ‘not working.’
No publishing deal came through on my first book and I’m almost finished the second book. As my friends and fellow females climb to dizzying heights flying the feminist flag I’m at home doing the dishes overhearing my eight year old tell his friends, “no my Mum doesn’t do anything” (Ouch, yeah – that one hurt) No he doesn’t see his Mum ‘do’ anything cause its all done while he’s at school or (more often than not) in bed. My writing is not talked about; the unwritten rule is that it must not interfere with the schedules of the three other males that I live with (four if you count the dog!) It is my dream, and mine alone. If I go back to work it’ll provide sanity, but do little more than cover my childcare and eat into my writing time. So here’s the thing; I’ve gone too far now to give up. I’ve put in too many hours, days, weeks and yes – years! Lots and lots of years – seven and counting – to throw in the towel now.
So, I might be home doing the dishes, cooking, cleaning, and feeling like a feminist with a small ‘f’ but I’m also dreaming a dream. And WHEN I get published I will dedicate it to my boys. I will point at it in Waterstones and they will know how long it took and that Mummy ‘did something’. They will understand that nothing in life is achieved without quiet, steely, unwavering determination, whether you are male or female. So for now, and only now, I am practicing a quiet kind of feminism. The kind that looks like nothing, but the kind that is teaching my boys to persevere no matter what, and to never, ever give up on your dreams. I hope Hilary, and all the other women out there punching holes in the glass ceiling, would approve.