When I met my husband in college, I wasn't as open about my feminism as I am now. I wasn't ashamed or embarrassed by my very strong views, I just wasn't educated enough on the topic. I knew I cared strongly about women and justice and equality, but I also knew I needed to take the time to learn about feminism and everything it embodied. Still, when I married my husband I didn't expect to take on "traditional" gender roles. I mean, I didn't know how to boil water, let alone cook. But now, as a feminist, I often find myself speaking in defense the traditional marriage to people who don't understand that choice. I know plenty of feminists in traditional marriages, some who chose their roles and others who kind of just fall into them. Most of these feminist women (and men) are happy, because they are in healthy marriages with loving partners.
I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember. Back in third grade, a boy from the fourth grade kept pulling on my pig tails. When I told him to stop and he wouldn't, I told his mom. His mom, who happened to be my third grade teacher, said, "He probably likes you." To that I replied, "Well, I don't like it, I don't care if he likes me, and he needs to stop." I was 9 years old. In high school, when a boy slapped my butt as I walked past him, I shoved him against a locker and he didn't touch me again. In college, I studied mass media and wrote about how women are represented in society and how sexist fairy tales are. So, yes: I was always a feminist, I just didn't always call myself one.
I realize that the "traditional" marriage is a long-standing tradition with sexist, patriarchal misogynistic undertones. I know that, in many ways, it's problematic. I know many women who struggle with taking their husband's last names, feeling as though they're giving up a piece of their identity. I understand that struggle, in fact, so I decided to hyphenate.. My children, however, have their dad's last name, and that's a decision I slightly regret. I understand why feminists speak out against traditional marriages. I totally get it. But my traditional marriage works for me. Maybe that's because I'm married to a feminist man, but it's definitely because of the following reasons: