Friday 28 October 2011

Guest Post: Does This Feminism Make My Butt Look Big?

Feminist Friday is on hiatus this week but instead I bring you this guest post from my fellow expat and general bad-ass the Stay at Home Babe. We met for the first time this summer and I have a feeling if we lived closer we'd get up to some major hi-jinx and I'd make her cook me dinner at least once a week :)

When good old Blondie asked me to guest post, I immediately started brainstorming ideas. Our blogs aren’t completely similar: I like profanity. A lot. I also talk about my vagina in a much less anatomical way than she speaks of hers.

But there are several common grounds to our lives and therefore our writing. We’re both American transplants to the UK. We’re both suckers for our husbands’ accents. We both love blogging, motherhood, womanhood and food. In fact, the first things that popped into my mind were Oreos and feminism

So, I thought I’d be honest about my struggle with being a modern-day feminist and a foodie at the same time. It sounds like a weird combo to be conflicted about, right? 

When I was growing up, my mother worked full-time and it seemed like she was too busy to cook. As an adult, I know that she was home in plenty of time to make supper, she just didn’t. But still, I grew up thinking successful, strong, career-minded, feminist women weren’t barefoot in the kitchen. 

For now, I’m a stay-at-home mom. I LOVE to cook. I love the planning, choosing of ingredients. I love the preparation and combining of flavors. I love the process of cooking and of course… I love eating. Food is a very big thing for me. 

It means I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and a lot of my identity gets wrapped up in this fact that I’m a good cook and someone who enjoys feeding friends and family. It makes me sound like such a mom. It took me a very long time not to think that sounded like a complimentary-insult. 

It also means that if I’m not really careful, I end up ten to fifteen pounds heavier than I feel comfortable. When I can so easily make myself really yummy food in fifteen to twenty minutes, and when I really enjoy the process, I cook stuff just because I can. Then it needs to be eaten. It’s not very feminist to be wrapped up in the vanity that makes me hate being squishy around the middle. 

It’s taken me years to realize that I don’t have to burn my bra as a modern-day feminist (editors note: feminists actually never burned their bras; it was back of the backlash). My mother’s generation did that for me so that I don’t have to. I get to be in the kitchen because I want to be. I am staying home with my daughter until she starts school because I am lucky enough to be afforded the opportunity to do so. I get to do it because I want to. I could just as easily have gone back to work and found a good daycare if I’d wanted to. 

I’ll be totally honest, I still struggle with the whole vanity pounds thing, but I figure that will come with time. At least I hope so. Because I know that loving myself means I should accept myself as I am, but do I have to? I just don’t know.

I just know that, luckily, most days my life has more important things for me to address. Like taking care of my kids; making sure they know they’re loved while still trying to set aside some time for myself at the end of every day. 

Hopefully the conundrum of the extra ten pounds can weigh heavily on my mind well into old age when I finally have time to sit and ponder my feminist stance on vanity weight. Until then, you’ll find me in the kitchen at least once a day—barefoot, in an apron. Because that’s exactly where I want to be.
Lerner is a heavily-tattooed, hen-keeping, profanity-loving, die-hard foodie mom who has a personal blog (with moxy) at Stay At Home Babe. She spends way too much time on Twitter and is also available on Facebook or by email at


Melaina25 said...

I think the point of "this is what a feminist looks like" is that there is NO mold. Feminists come in all shapes, sizes, colours, ages and styles.

Melaina25 said...

I couldn't agree more with your last point. It's totally anti-feminist for you to do what's expected of you rather than what you want. Totally. :)

Melaina25 said...

Right?! It's kind of frustrating, but being able to have this time with my daughter has been worth it. I have the rest of my life to be in amazing shape I guess :)

Melaina25 said...

Great post :)  I think being a "feminist" is that you love yourself and take care of yourself and do not let extra pounds creep onto you :)

Melaina25 said...


Melaina25 said...

You know, I think it shows just how NOT far we have come that women have to apologize for doing what they want. I've never been a fan of "feminism" because so often it ends up being "This is what a feminist looks like" and I never fit that mold. I hate that women have to feel like they need to apologize for ENJOYING things like being a mom or housewife. 

If you're doing what you want, then that's awesome.Labels be damned! :)

Melaina25 said...

Well said. I struggle with the stay-at-home thing. We're currently trying to juggle things so I can (while doing some writing while the kid's asleep). It will involve me taking care of the house and doing general stay-at-home stuff but I look at friends who look forward to going back to work and at my Masters degree and wonder sometimes if I'm being anti-feminist. I'm pretty sure I'm not. It would probably be anti-feminist to do what's expected of me rather than what I want to do.

Melaina25 said...

extra pounds creeping or not, I think loving myself is definitely a part of it. For sure.

Melaina25 said...

The mold of feminism is pliable, I think. It's elastic... just like the waistband of my favorite pants :). I think it allows for not only women of all different walks of life and styles... but for ME, the individual, to go on many different walks and have many different styles. It's not just that I am entitled to have different roles from the woman to the left of me, but that I am allowed to have different roles from myself ten years ago. You know?

Melaina25 said...

great post! I agree being at home leads to me weighing more than I would like too!!