I’m a pretty tough cookie. My mom taught me and inspired me to be that way when I was growing up, and I’ve only become more so over the years. You have to be to live the life I do, moving, traveling, adventuring, and often doing it all alone.
I can drive power boats and motorcycles, find and catch a bus in 3rd world cities, haul tourists over 3 miles at a time in a bike trailer, safely take down psychotic angry people, and outsmart and surpass any idiotic male supervisor I am unlucky enough to run across.
Here at the ranch I can carry hay bales and feed livestock, chop wood and build fires with it, shovel snow, smoke meat, and oil tack. I can accomplish any task needed to keep the place running. OK, I can’t drive the tractor, but only because I’ve haven’t yet asked to learn how.
I’m really quite capable of most anything, because not only do I feel good knowing that fact, but also simply because I’ve needed to be. I could, from certain angles, look like the ultimate feminist.
Here’s the thing though. There’s a foot of snow outside, it’s less than 30 degrees most days, hay bales are heavy and itchy, and the cows know I’m small enough to knock over, so they bully me. I can do anything, but I don’t really want to.
Not to mention, somewhere along the way (pre-birth I’m guessing) I developed a very traditional side to me that any feminist would despise and ridicule me for. I love being the queen, caring for my castle and king, and being pampered and protected (from evil cows, cold weather, and sharp sticks).
So here at the ranch, most days, unless I insist on going out to help, I stay in the farmhouse, being very “girly.” I sweep the floors, do laundry, make breakfast, then clean the kitchen and make snacks and prepare dinner, fetching more coffee when requested, and keeping the fire stoked and the house cozy while the man goes outdoors to do the “man stuff.” And I love it that way.
I see this attitude as a sort of Farmhouse Feminism. I, as a strong and capable woman, stay in the house doing very traditional “woman” tasks and my strong and capable man goes out into the cold, dust, and dirt to push smelly cows around, plow snow, and heave dozens of hay bales into big trucks. This works out great for me.
I appreciate that the girly things I do are appreciated. I’m happy to be hugged and kissed and patted on the butt, and left to bake cookies while the man puts on 4 layers of canvas, fleece, and sawdust to tramp through fields of cow poo and icy mud.
I know that just because I can do everything a man can do, it doesn’t mean I have to in order to contribute as much or even more to keeping a home running smoothly and a “family” cared for. So, sorry feminists, I don’t for a second have a problem with my man making cracks about how “a woman’s place is in the kitchen.” My place is cozy and clean, with snacks.
Now if only I could be barefoot…