Thursday, July 08, 2004

Stepford Anybody?

I haven't seen the new remake of the Stepford Wives yet. I want to; I've been "saving" it to see with a friend of mine. I did see the original, long ago.

I've been a feminist probably as long as I've been a female. I've never questioned the idea that I have the right (not mere privilege) to have my own career, my own opinions, my own life. I married a man who agrees with me, and in fact, is almost more driven than I am in pursuing my career. I believe that my children, when I am ready to have them, will be enriched and strengthened by my independence and strength. If, for some reason of fate and destiny, I am unable to have my own biological children because I have waited a little longer than some women then I will adopt-- or go without. It probably goes without saying that I don't believe we have a biological imperative to reproduce-- I want children, very much, but am NOT willing to sacrifice my own life and my own happiness to have them.

"So what's your point?" you may be asking. "This is all obvious, and we figured this stuff out a long time ago about you."

About a week ago, one of my "relatives by marriage"-- a young man, not the typical old guy who pesters me every time I see him-- lectured me on the problem with "you career women." This lecture came suddenly, in the middle of another conversation, and I really had a hard time with the rudeness and ridiculousness of finding myself having the discussion. At first I thought he was joking; when I realized he was serious, I felt sick to my stomach.

Why he felt, based on a casual family relationship with me, that he had the right to lecture me when my husband and I have BOTH made the choices we made is infuriating. (I have had maybe one other serious conversation with the guy in the years I've known him so it's not like this was something that had precedent).

I did want to tell him to get stuffed, but for family peace, held my tongue. But he felt that it was perfectly alright to butt into my personal business and literally lecture me. He eventually said "Oh, it's just my opinion" but also said things like "That's the trouble with YOU". This was not a rhetorical discussion, and I did not invite his opinions, nor did I feel comfortable debating it with him.

Can you believe that there are still people who believe that merely because of their maleness they have a right to tell others what is right for their lives? And without any knowledge of my situation would feel justified in lecturing me? It makes the Stepford Wives feel much less like a science fiction speculation and much MUCH more scary.

originally published at Kim Procrastinates

*an interesting editorial about this is available at Women's E-News

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