Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Apron Strings

The introduction of Sarah Palin into the current political mess has sparked a flood of talk about feminism in America. Frankly, I haven't heard a single political comment about Palin and feminism that I agree with. I heard an article on NPR about Palin a few months ago, and she struck me as a strong, powerful woman. Still, I was shocked at McCain's choice of a running mate with so little experience. I cringed at what seemed obvious: He was gunning for Clinton supporters. There have been so many cringe-worthy moments since that initial announcement.
One thing that's driving me crazy is the people saying that they are going to vote for Palin because the "talking heads" are saying she shouldn't run for Vice President because she's a mom. Moms are great, they say. Moms can do anything. Well trust me, I know that most Moms are superheroes. Even Palin has donned this pitbull-with-lipstick-hockey-mom image with pride. But frankly, I have a real problem with the "I'm a mom just like you." line of thought. I want an individual who isn't all that much like me, frankly. I have some major ideas about government, but do I think I'm qualified to run the country? Heck no. And frankly I cringe at the fact that these self professed "feminists" say they are voting for Palin because the powers-that-be say she can't do it, or because Palin is a Mom. Shouldn't we empowered women be intelligent enough to realize when someone is chosen based on their gender? Palin may be a strong woman, but the idea that she is qualified for VP is outrageous. Shouldn't we expect more from our politicians than this?

Amidst all of the gender talk, I keep hearing the term "Apron Strings". They say Palin is tying on the apron strings with pride. (Some say this against Palin, some for Palin.) They play clips of conservative analysts accusing Hillary of "hiding behind the apron strings". Outside of politics, people accuse people who stay close to their mother's as "holding on to" the apron strings. I recently became the proud owner of an apron, so maybe that's what made these comments stick out to me. What does that mean, apron strings? In context, people seem to think it represents feminine, stay-at-home, dinner-on-the-table womanhood. Are strong women "hiding" their strength behind femininty? If so, apron strings are the wrong way to go about portraying this. As I was tying on my apron the other day, I realized something. Apron strings are designed to cross in back, and tie in front. Why? Because while we women are going about our business, there is no one standing around waiting to help us out. There is no one there to tie the strings of our aprons so we can keep our dresses clean. No, we tie our apron strings ourselves, and get down to the business of doing all of the hard work that--while behind the scenes--is so crucial to keeping everything running as it should.

My youngest started school last week. I have been a proud stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) for nearly seven years now, so this was a huge change. People kept telling me I would have "so much time" now, but I couldn't believe it. Indeed, I seem just as busy now as I was before. I still have two non-profits to Direct, a gardening business to co-operate, a house to keep, 3 dogs to care for, and 2 kids that now not only need much more of my attention when they are here, but need to be shuttled back and forth to school and have all sorts of new needs because of school. People used to tell me I was a superwoman, and I shook my head. But now I look back and wonder how I managed it all. I don't often pat my own back, but I'm doing it now in hopes that some of my readers will acknowledge their own superhero status as well, and wear their self-tied aprons with pride.

Sweet retro apron by Pretty Industries--ampirlot on Etsy.com.

3 comments:

Ashley Nicole said...

This was a great post - I really like what you said about feminism, and women, and womanhood. I've read a couple of very interesting articles lately that I think you might enjoy on this very issue, including one by Gloria Steinem. Thanks for posting!

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-steinem4-2008sep04,0,7915118.story

http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/09/01/palin_baby/index.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/us/politics/02mother.html

Heather Ray Worley said...

Well said

I have another friend who posted about Palin. As a special ed teacher and the sister of someone with special needs, she writes about what it may be like for the family if they are elected.

I know no one wants to hear - she's a mom of 5, so she's not capable. She is capable. She's a mom of 5. But what about the fallout for her family. And it's not the same as the other candidates. It's not. They don't have a child with special needs. They don't have a young daughter with a baby on the way.

Anyway, here's my friend's blog post. She's a supermom in my eyes, too.
http://kellyswritelife.blogspot.com/2008/08/strange-set-of-priorities.html

womynrev said...

not to mention that there are kajillions of other reasons to wear an apron... if you're a welder, for example, or if you're operating radiology machinery.

and another random thought... did you ever read the book Katy NoPocket to your kids?

http://www.amazon.com/Katy-No-Pocket-Sandpiper-Emmy-Payne/dp/0395137179