IHM linked to an interesting TED video on her blog and asked a very important question, “Are you a feminist?”. There’s no doubt that I am. Unlike what some (the ignorant?) might think, that does not imply that I’m a man hater or even a “militant feminist” but I am indeed a feminist in the most positive sense of the word. Of that there is no doubt. But there are these moments that make me wonder.
My first reaction when we decided to make the move to India? It wasn’t about career opportunities, being close to family, or seeing my friends again. My first uncensored thought was, “I can hire a maid and never do the dishes again.” The first thoughts that popped into my mind centered around housework, child care (in inescapable reality in the next couple of years), restrictions on what I can wear, airing out my mangalsutram (something I only wear to the temple here), and sobbing over giving away my favourite corporate attire. Given all the advantages I have – a husband who shares all house work (as opposed to “helping”), parents-in-law who are more supportive than my own parents, all the advantages of education, a solid start to a career – all I can think of is how running a home is going to be easier once I return.
I understand that there are many women in the US who would not want to hire domestic help not just because it’s expensive but also because it goes against their principles. But I subscribe to my mother’s view that having a driver/maid/cook is mutually beneficial for both parties as long as hours and pay are fair. So it’s not that I am outraged at my own laziness or my lack of principles. I’m upset that all I can think of is the luxury of not cutting vegetables, cleaning, or doing the dishes.
What kind of feminist am I? Or am I making too big a deal out of this?