Feminism

By
February 23, 2006

Elizabeth F. Clayton

So, last week was Valentine's day, and my boyfriend Toby bought me a dozen red roses he bought at a grocery store. And I told him to buy me flowers. And when I said flowers, I was hoping for something that was not red roses, which are so cliche they kind of make me want to puke.

But still, when he walked into the kitchen-where I was standing up to my elbows in raw chicken, in the middle of cooking dinner for him-holding those grocery store roses, I melted.

Yes, that's right, I cook my boyfriend dinner and practically take off my pants when he spends $10.99 on flowers that don't smell because they were grown in a hothouse somewhere in Mexico. Want to call me a bad feminist? Go right ahead.

Feminism is a funny word, because lately it's been used to divide women, not unite them. I am proud to call myself a feminist, but there's nothing contradictory about doing that and still loving it when Toby opens the car door for me.

Yeah, I'm totally capable of opening my own door, and in fact, most of the time when we go out together I drive because I'm a total control freak. But on the occasions that I can bear to give up that control and let him drive, if he makes the extra effort to come around to my side and open the door for me before opening his own (and he has an old car, no clicker, so opening the door actually involves sticking the key in and turning it) I practically swoon. Whoops, there go my pants again.

But the fact is, just because I can do it doesn't mean I have to. When Toby drives me to the airport, he carries my suitcase to the check-in counter for me. Not because I'm weak, but because it's a nice thing to do. All those old rules, although they may have originated for the wrong reasons, to me just signify respect.

Toby and I both know I can carry my own damn bag and open my own door, or drill my own holes in the wall to put in that earthquake hanger for the 50 pound mirror I bought for the living room, and most of the time that's what I do. But I love being "treated like a girl," and if that makes me a bad feminist, then hand me a cosmopolitan and an apron. And hey, while you're at it, can you carry this for me?

 

Elizabeth Clayton is an aspiring rock star/housewife and a Mills senior. The title of her column comes from a 1940's advertisement for Pink Pills, marketed to help teen girls who have "out-grown their strength." Write to her at photo@millsweekly.com


Feminism was published on February 23, 2006 in Features

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