Monday, October 17, 2016

Thoughts on Feminism and Why I Feel Bad for Ivanka

 For those of you who are new to my blog (which at last count was over 1,000,000), you're going to have to get used to my blogging style. While I try to be succinct and hopefully make some sort of point, my blog has often been the place I go to try to make sense of things.

And that sometimes happens in a roundabout way.

So, I was in the car with my 15-year-old daughter and we were talking about feminism. Before you give me too much credit for having such an enlightened conversation, I will admit that our talks usually center around how bad her feet smell after practice and questioning when I might see the carpet in her room again.

Anyway, she had just finished an AP World History study session with her friends and she said, "It's weird. I don't think a lot of my friends know what feminism is."

"Really? What do they think it is?"

"They said they've heard from boys that feminism means that it's okay to hit a girl because now we can hit back."

I glanced over at her. "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."

"I know."

I stared at the road through the windshield. "You know, I've been thinking a lot about Ivanka Trump lately."

Now, this is more like our regular conversations. We'll go from global warming to what's on sale at JC Penney and if you're not paying attention, you'll wonder how in the hell we got there.

But I promise I'm going somewhere with this.

~

I don't consider our household particularly "feminist"...although if you asked my son he might tell you differently. Since my husband passed away, he is completely surrounded by women and I've often said I'm raising the best husband in the entire world. Marriage will probably be a lifelong vacation after the houseful of hairspray and fingernail polish he's been growing up in.

But I do believe in raising strong young adults, no matter their gender. That doesn't necessarily mean that I expect my kids to all be CEOs someday; it means that I want them to make their own decisions and find their bliss and know that anything is possible.

Does that mean I'm a feminist? I don't know.

My kids have had ringside seats to my own changes as an adult. I went from working in an office to being a stay-at-home mom to working from home and running my own business and becoming a writer. I've had a role as a traditional homemaker that morphed into being both the stay-at-home parent and breadwinner.

I believe in leading by example and that was never more true than when my husband died.

I knew that I had a choice. I could fall into the despair that was threatening to swallow me or I could show them that happiness was something that you have to work for sometimes - but it's worth the fight.

And one of the reasons I believe that is because no one told me that I couldn't be exactly what I wanted to be.

~

One of the things that Hillary Clinton mentioned as one of Donald Trump's attributes is that he's raised children who are obviously very loyal. Actually, with both candidates that's true - each seem to have kids who think the world of them.

But knowing how Donald Trump feels about women (yes, I know that he loves them) has made me wonder what it was like to grow up with him as a father. I know that with my own parents I always had a fear of disappointing them and pleasing them still makes me feel good.

But my dad is no Donald Trump.

My parents are still married and  have a good relationship (unless my mom is reading a map on a road trip) and I'm extremely close to both of them. Even as a 40-year-old woman, their opinions are valuable to me. And as I watched and listened to videos of Donald Trump talking about his daughter, saying that he would date her and allowing someone else call her a "piece of ass" it got me to thinking...how would I feel if my own father said that?

Actually thinking of my dad on Howard Stern in the first place makes me want to throw up a little.

Of course, Donald Trump isn't the first dad to say stuff like that. Remember when Joe Simpson talked about about Jessica Simpson's breasts? If you don't, you probably don't read Us Weekly on a regular basis like I do. But I can guarantee that every woman who read that cringed just a little.

Knowing how I feel about my parents and hoping that I'm a good daughter, it made me wonder what it was like to grow up as Ivanka (and Tiffany who has been MIA during most of this campaign). Did she feel like she had more to prove as a business woman - or as a woman in general - because Donald Trump was her dad? Knowing that he probably thinks that there are capable women out there who can't get very far without being beautiful...did she thank her lucky stars that she's as lovely as she is? Did she have to work harder than her brothers to gain his respect in the business world?

I don't know. But during this whole campaign, my heart has gone out to her a little.

Now, for all of you out there who are going to comment and say that she's an adult and she has a mind and a path of her own...I agree. But I also know that when you're completely ensconced in your family and have been brought up a certain way, it can be hard find your way out of it.

Especially when the world is watching.

~

As I explained my train of thought to my daughter, she nodded along.

"Can you imagine having a father who says things like he has about women?" I asked. "Can you imagine what that must have been like growing up?"

"No," she said.

"Well, what did you say to your friends when they told you what they thought feminism was?"

She thought for a minute. "Well, they think that being a feminist means that...well, that...."

"You're a bitch?" I offered.

She looked at me sideways, surprised that I'd actually said the b-word. "Yeah."

"What do you think it is?"

"I think it means I can do anything a guy can do."

Hells yes, you can.



11 comments:

  1. Hell yes she can, you are doing an excellent job!

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  2. Bravo for your daughter realizing that and for you for having the conversation. You're an amazing mom.

    As for feeling sorry for Ivanka, the same could be said for Chelsea. I felt sorry for both of them with the mudslinging during the debate. Neither father is known for being a gentleman, but somehow have raised wonderful daughters. We know inside their hearts have been so hurt though.

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  3. Well said. By both you and your daughter.

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  4. I agree, it's awful for any father to say the garbage he has about women, let alone about his daughter. His children's mother though has shared that Donald didn't raise his strong, capable children. According to their mom, she raised them alone.

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  5. he is one creepy slimy excuse for a Y chromosome. I wonder what she thinks when he tells people he would date her/have sex with her if she wasn't his daughter.

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  6. Maybe it was Ivanka & Chelsea's Mothers that had more of a hand in shaping who they are today???

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  8. You go girl and I love your daughter definition!

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  9. A feminist is someone who believes women are not inferior to men and deserves equal rights and protections under the law. And yet, you hedge on calling yourself a feminist? I would think about why that is and write a post about what you discover.

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  10. You can earn $20 for each 20 minute survey!

    Guess what? This is exactly what big companies are paying for. They need to know what their average customer needs and wants. So large companies pay $1,000,000's of dollars per month to the average person. In return, the average person, like myself, answers some questions and gives them their opinion.

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