Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stereotyping Myself

Recently, my hubby casually mentioned that it seems I have a need to stereotype myself. He wasn't trying to be mean, it was just an observation. It definitely made me stop and think. It's true, I do stereotype myself. And I kind of like it. But, why?

I took some time to really mull over in my brain why I am always categorizing myself into certain groups. I think I figured out why.

"It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other." -Marjorie Hinckley
"...women have the same basic needs—no matter in what era they live. We have the same needs of food, clothing, warmth, protection. We have the same emotional and psychological needs of wanting to love and be loved, to give understanding, to be accepted, to find self-fulfillment, to express ourselves." -Barbara B. Smith
“As women we are becoming so concerned about having perfect figures, or straight A’s, or professional status, or even absolute motherly success that we are being torn from our true selves. We often worry so much about pleasing and performing for others that we lose our own uniqueness, that full and relaxed acceptance of ourselves as a person of worth and individuality.” -Patricia Holland
[italics are mine]

My stereotyping includes calling myself "crunchy" or "a modern day hippie, minus the drugs and free love". I find myself trying to connect and identify with other women who: breastfeed longer than a year, don't remove body hair frequently, share sleep with their kids, don't vaccinate their kids, don't use shampoo, don't circumcise their sons, use reusable/cloth menstrual products, have homebirths, have unassisted homebirths, rarely wear makeup, wear their babies in soft carriers, wash their face with honey, prefer alternative medicine, don't watch TV, don't paint their nails, want to have large families (quiverfull), don't use products in their hair, are skeptical of the excuses for high c-section rates and low breastfeeding rates, prefer wearing long skirts/modest clothing/minimal jewelry, have a desire to homestead/garden, put their babies in cloth diapers, are artistic and crafty (painting, crocheting/knitting, sewing), want to eat healthy/locally grown food, cherish and know about their bodies and fertility cycles, think natural/drug free childbirth is the best option, want to homeschool/unschool their kids, are anti-hormonal birth control.

I don't know if I can really come up with a comprehensive list of things that set me apart from the average modern woman, but all these things are ME. These things are me, but at the same time, I am still insecure. These are the things that I WANT to be. I am still a young adult. I am still trying to figure myself out and be confident in myself. Sure, I may be married and be working on my second child, but I haven't made it to the "I don't give a darn" phase of my life. Of course, all women want to have good friends. And I know my good friends don't have to be all those things that make me who I am, but it is nice to have friends that agree with me on some things! It's especially hard when I am often looked at as being "radical", "different" and "controversial". It's ok if I have a friend who thinks I'm crazy for not wanting an epidural to birth my kids, but it's hard to have a friend who wants to call CPS on me because I want to have an unassisted homebirth. Women need other women to support them. That is why I stereotype myself. I give myself a label, so I can go find other women who are like me, and who will support me in that particular aspect of my life.

Stereotyping often has a negative connotation to it. However, this is the kind of stereotyping that I don't think is negative. It helps me see who I am, who I am proud of being (even if I am still a little insecure). It helps me find other women who I can identify with, and it helps other women find me. It helps me to express myself. So, if you are also a "modern day hippie, minus the drugs and free love", label yourself as such, and we can find acceptance with each other!


TopHat said...

I think accepting labels can help. This past week at church, we had combined RS/Priesthood (they did the 5th Sunday a week early b/c of Memorial Day). Our new ward has new converts, investigators, and move-ins introduce themselves. We were supposed talk about our interests and hobbies. I knew better than to introduce myself with "Hi, we're planning an unassisted birth and I haven't used shampoo regularly in over a year!" but I did feel like I needed to mention at least one crunchy passion and said, "After Margaret was born, I got involved with lactivism, which is breastfeeding activism. If you google my name, you'll find information about the FB nurse-in from a year and a half ago and that I organized it." I wondered if admitting and labeling myself as a "lactivist" publicly in front of my ward would cause people to avoid me- and I guess we'll see how it plays out in the future- but it was very liberating for me as a person to openly acknowledge the label IRL instead of just on my blog.

Hercules Family said...

Well I am not a hippy mom at all, please give me the epidural! haha... but I'm happy that we all have the choice and if people aren't willing to accept it then they aren't worth being friends. Anyway, I hope Scotty gets to do the job thing and you guys come visit in Texas. We will have to get together! Let me know your plans.

Mommy Bee said...

I just want to know when we get to see a belly picture :D

Sara, Nick, and kids said...

i used to hate the label thing. my sister got a job at "carol tuttle's dressing your truth" in draper, utah a couple years ago and it is about personality typing with types 1 2 3 and 4. like get in touch with your true nature stuff. my mom and sisters got totally into it and i thought it was so dumb! i felt like i didn't need someone stereotyping me, i knew exactly who i was and was extremely confident in everything i do. well... my mom sent me to a class about it when i was out there last summer and now i am totally hooked!! i guess the part i like the most is the colors- like getting your color tested- for the colors and type of clothes you look best in that bring out your personality. anyways i wrote about it a little on my blog last june called "trip to utah" if your interested. i love it!

Martha said...

You are a wonderful woman, with ideals that are perfect for your family. I love that you can accept who you are (passionately) and view yourself as a woman of value. Each of us, as daughters of God, are loved by Him, who accepts us as we are, so long as we repent of sin and love others.

Who Dat Girl said...

I love your blog. Even though I thought I was "getting to know you" pretty well...your blog has helped me even more. I have never labeled you except for the "crunchy parent" and only because I saw it in a brief personal self-description on your FaceBook page right after we first met. And I find it fascinating, personally. Do your thing, girl!