How exciting! I have a guest blogger joining me on the Lounge today – mother of two, blogger, sub-editor, and author….(insert drum roll) the fabulous Peta Jo.
As some of you may already know, today is International Women’s Day. Peta Jo shares her thoughts on what this means to her.
Romancing the Feminist
I AM a feminist.
I believe in women’s equality. I applaud those who shatter glass ceilings underfoot. I did as Caitlin Moran instructed and proclaimed it to the world.
… Well, to the lounge room and two disinterested children, at least.
I hate that Yumi Stynes was attacked and George Negus wasn’t.
I agree with Elisabeth Badinter that modern expectations of mothers has regressed women’s liberty in favour of cloth nappies and organic baby food.
I am all of these things.
But I am not a man-hater.
I don’t tromp around in Doc Martens shouting down the patriarchy with a placard and a megaphone.
In fact, I write romance novels.
I wear too much pink and sometimes retail therapy and chocolate is the only pick-me-up.
Does that mean my opinion no longer counts? Does that mean my sentences should always start with “I’m not a feminist or anything, but…”?
Since feminism was once accused of breaking up marriages, of calcifying romance, it’s a tough thing to say I am both a feminist and a romance writer.
I do wonder sometimes – when I’m struggling to find that delicate bedroom equilibrium – whether a woman’s right of refusal has made marriage that much more complicated.
But feminism comes in all different shades. I don’t believe I need to taste my own menstrual cycle to be in touch with myself. Nor do I need to watch pornography to know why I loathe it so.
I did ask for a promotion every year of my career until I left to have children. And the fact that I got it every time may have had something to do with my hard work – or my DD cup size. Frankly, I don’t want to know.
This is the beautiful spectrum that feminism can – and should – embrace. In the same way that romance is no longer a virile young man rescuing a helpless damsel, feminism is not just Germaine-Greer-or-nothing.
If I can say I’m a romance writer and a feminist, then surely women everywhere can.
“I’m a feminist and a wife.”
“I’m a feminist and a Tom Hanks fan.”
“I’m a feminist and I tell my daughter she’s beautiful before I say she’s smart.”
“I’m a feminist and I have 63 pairs of heels.”
“I’m a feminist and I laugh at ‘Shit Girls Say’.”
Break this reluctance to say what you feel. Stop apologising for believing you’re equal. Especially today.
Peta-Jo is a self-confessed amateur feminist and is also the author of Feral Bells,
a romantic comedy set in balmy Queensland, distributed by Four Ingredients’ Rachael Bermingham.