Forty years of feminism, and it all comes down to this?
My daughter, eight-plus months pregnant. In her kitchen, cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Barefoot, yet. At least until her feet got tired and cold. In South Dakota in November, one can only carry a cliché so far.
Is this what all those women back in the 60's and 70's protested for? Insisted on being called Ms. for? Pushed their way into law schools and med schools and men-only organizations for?
Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Because feminism is about being respected and having choices. On this particular Thanksgiving Day, cooking the holiday meal was what my daughter wanted to do. Being a loving mother, I graciously allowed her to. Anything for her. Especially anything that would keep me out of the kitchen.
Cooking has always been something I do for love. Not love of the culinary process, though—love of the family needing to be fed. My aim is to put a reasonably healthy meal on the table as quickly as possible, get out of the kitchen, and move on to more interesting things. That attitude is most likely the reason for what I've always seen as one of my parenting failures: not teaching the kids to cook.
In my defense, I did give each of them some sort of basic cookbook when they were brand-new adults. Despite my bad example, most of them have actually used those cookbooks. (Betty Crocker's classic was open on my daughter's counter yesterday.) They also use the Internet, of course. They've even, in occasional scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel moments, called me for advice. None of them, or their kids, have starved to death yet.
Thanksgiving Dinner was scrumptious. Somewhere around the third bite of my daughter's delicious made-from-scratch key lime pie, I decided to stop feeling guilty about letting the kids figure out cooking on their own. They seem to have managed it perfectly well.
Even more important, they've all married spouses who share the household responsibilities. My daughter's husband, who does most of the everyday cooking at their house, pointed out quite truthfully, "Without me, she would eat like a bachelor."
If that isn't feminism at its finest, I'll eat another piece of key lime pie.