As much of the online world is debating Time Magazine’s recent survey faux pas about whether the word “feminist” should be banned, and as discussions this year about feminism have been fueled by people like Beyonce and Nicki Minaj, friend of The Broad Side Neil Kramer asked his mother, a woman of the first wave, this simple question — are you a feminist? Neil was kind enough to let us post his conversation with his fabulous mom here:
I’m eating some chicken soup my mother made (yes, true!) while reading an article online, when I decide to ask my mother the big question that will finally decide the course of Western history.
Me: Mom, are you a feminist?
Mom: Uh, what do you mean?
Me: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Mom: Well, I always worked as a woman.
Me: That doesn’t mean you are a feminist. Do you believe in equal pay for men and women?
Me: And do you believe that both a man and a woman can be the boss?
Mom: Of course. I was an office manager.
Me: Will you vote for a woman president?
Mom: Sure. Like Hillary Clinton. But it’s not like I’m going to vote for that Kardashian woman just because she’s a woman.
Me: Do you think a feminist should look a certain way? Like not wear lipstick or shave her legs?
Mom: She could do what she wants. I mean, eventually, she’ll probably have to shave her legs at least once. If she wants to date. Or before her wedding.
Me: And what do you think about the different roles of mothers and fathers?
Mom: Well, I do believe that a parent should stay at home with a young child.
Me: Aha! Gotcha! So, you think a mother should stay at home?
Mom: No, it could be the father.
Me: Interesting. So it doesn’t matter?
Mom: I think women tend to have a better touch with young kids, but if the woman makes more money than her husband, what’s the difference? As long as one of them stays home.
Me: Hmm… so, isn’t it a bit hypocritical considering that you didn’t follow your own rule. You and dad both worked. You weren’t always home for me. Is this why I’m in therapy?
Mom: No, you’re in therapy because you’re crazy. I DID stayed at home until you went to first grade. Don’t you remember?
Me: Not really.
Mom: And then when I worked in the city, you always had your Grandma Annette to go to after-school in case I had to work late.
Me: Still sounds like I was a latch-key child without a home. I’m blaming feminism for giving me social anxiety.
Mom: Maybe, but remember this, with both of us working, at least we were able to afford to send you to an expensive college. Where you ended up studying poetry.
Me: OK, well, thank you for that. And talking about college. Here’s a big issue today. Do you think both men and women are equipped to study in fields such as math, science, and engineering?
Mom: I wish YOU had studied in math, science, and engineering rather than being an English major who spends time taking photos on his iPhone. Maybe that’s why you’re in therapy!
Me: So you believe women belong in technology?
Mom: Mrs. Kubota’s daughter, Grace, works in Silicon Valley and sends her mother on a cruise every year. So, yes, women can work in match, science, and engineering.
My mother goes into the kitchen.
Mom: Would you like some more soup?
Me: No, thanks.
Mom: Are you sure? There’s only a little left.
Me: Mom, we are talking feminism here.
Mom: So, you can’t be a Jewish mother and a feminist?
Me: OK, I’ll have some more soup.
My mother pours me some more soup.
Me: And while we’re at it, let’s discuss cooking at home? Do you think that is more a job for a wife than a husband?
Mom: Ha Ha, no.
Me: So why didn’t Dad ever cook? You did all the cooking. That wasn’t fair.
Mom: Well, that’s me marrying wrong. Or the fault of Grandma Annette for never showing your father how to make anything other than a peanut butter sandwich. That’s how it was back then. But today, men love to cook. When you watch Top Chef, half of the best chefs are men, so I sure hope they are also making dinner at home for their wives. In fact, this weekend, I’m showing you how to make a brisket.
Me: What about cleaning? Why do women do more of the cleaning at home? That’s also not fair.
Mom: Now THAT has to change. The biggest scam ever created. By men.
Me: So you ARE a feminist?
Mom: Yes. And I think cleaning the house equally should be the top priority.
Case Closed. My mother is a feminist.
Image via Neil Kramer, with permission