There was a time when I feared the thought of feminism. I felt that all feminists were radicals, felt that they were constantly screaming oppression, never wore make-up or shaved their underarms.
That the word feminist was out dated now the era of bra burning was over.
I thought feminism could never fit in with my religion, that it wouldn't suit to be a feminist and a Mormon. To me, they were two very different ideals.
One night I was watching a program on 60 minutes about a British woman living in France who caused an uproar by saying she is a beautiful person and then deciding to live as a trophy wife.
Her name was Samantha Brick.
Mum and I were sitting watching and Germaine Greer appeared on the screen.
After the segment Mum grumbled an unapologetic " ugh, shut up Germaine Greer " - I wasn't shocked at the slight.
But it got me thinking. What does feminism mean to my Mother? A woman who lived in a time when the biggest feminist movement in history was playing out.
Of course I don't always agree with Germaine Greer, in this instance I severely disliked the fact she scathingly said " because she's just not a great beauty " and then " people discriminate against her because she's a pain in the arse"
Although I'm not perfect, remarking rudely about people's looks or attacking them is one of the things I'm trying very, very hard NOT to do.
Because, really, what gives you the right?
But more than that, the segment got me thinking. Germaine has a point.. But Samantha Brick has a point too.
I am constantly seeking validation from Hunna, Do I look beautiful? Am I beautiful? Does this look good? to make up for my own insecurities.
Was I raised to never say " I look great" and then did I eventually just start to think I am not beautiful because admitting it would be prideful or boastful..
When people compliment me I mostly cheapen their compliments with a huge massive ' BUT' and point out faults.
" Jess, I love your jacket "
" Oh, ( surprised) thank-you ( I look down embarrassed ) but its nothing flash"
I have occasionally gone to the other extreme.
" Jess, I love your jacket"
" oh! I know " ( other person is shocked at my bravado)
But why can't I just look them in the eye and appreciate it and say " Thank-you" ?
It also goes the other way. People often put a big ' BUT' in the middle of their compliment.
Here's one I got the other day.
" Jess, Boy is so placid - he sits so well in sacrament BUT I bet he's not like that at home "
( I was confused for a second and desperately wanted to rebut: actually he is pretty amicable most of the time )
" Yeah.." ( awkward pause because I lied by agreeing )
Later, I was reading a blog by C.Jane who is also a Mormon - this particular entry explains exactly what I have been struggling with.
Am I too expected to just hand over the remote?
Why do I feel so guilty about not feeling completely fulfilled in my role as a mother?
I constantly pep talk myself, "Boy is only young, there is a time and a season, do this now for our family and you can work on your hopes, and dreams later when it's your turn."
How is it that I constantly try to do what's best for Boy and Hunna and our financially shallow pockets but not what I need?
If I did go back to school or work, would I be a better wife/mother? Or would I be time poor and a worse wife/mother?
How would doing any of this fit in with my role as nurturer. How would it fit in with Mormonism?
Just over three years ago, when we first moved to Victoria and moved in with Hunnas parents - I was four months pregnant with Boy and I started looking for work.
I was able to work, being pregnant doesn't incapacitate me, I worked right up until we moved. I felt like I still had plenty to give.
I was very honest in my applications and stated I was pregnant, I didn't know if I would leave permanently after Boy was born or just take a few weeks off. I thought I would decide how I felt as I went.
I applied for many, many jobs.
I never got a reply. Apart from one. From a woman who had advertised for after school care.
She stated that my résumé was immaculate and that I sounded like I would fit into the job perfectly but because I was pregnant they wouldn't be able to employ me as they were looking for someone a little more long term.
It confirmed what I already knew- why I wasn't getting any replies. I was sad that she never asked if I intended to stay on after baby was born or facilitate any more options.
But I admired her for being the only one honest enough to say what every one else was thinking.
It was a blow to my ego, and it made finding somewhere to accept us into a rental very difficult because an apprentices income is not very appealing on an application.
The situation was made even worse one day when Hunna's brother ( who, at the time was also living with the parents ) approached me and asked when we would be moving out.
I shrugged sadly, now not knowing what the future would hold. I was now 8 months pregnant and still couldn't find work.
He said rather callously " What do you do all day? You should look for a job. Then you could move out "
Sadly enough, " why don't you just move out" was a phrase I got very use to hearing over the next 2 years.
Today while I was on facebook I found a link to ' I need feminism because'
I need feminism because as a SAHM ( stay at home Mum) I can't get a new phone or a car loan without my husband signing every form and being guarantor on the contract.
I need feminism because as a young SAHM people have stigmatised me and implied I must be dumb or illiterate or bogan for choosing to have a baby and not finishing University.
I need feminism to give me courage to help deflect the negativity that is constantly thrown my way for choices I make.
So I am beginning to think.
Is feminism really out of date and is it possible for me to be a Mormon and a feminist?