Is Becoming A Teacher A Hit To Feminism and Gender Roles?

I am a woman, and I understand how hard the women of the past had to work so that I could have the rights I have today. While there are still discrepancies between how men and women function in today’s society, I can vote, go to college, speak my mind freely, and work in traditionally male professions. These things that I get to do, and that every woman should have had to the opportunity to do from the start, are beautiful things that I am eternally grateful for. But what does it mean for progress and female empowerment if I want a to work in a traditionally female career that falls directly into gender norms?  

My sociology professor often speaks on gender norms, and how detrimental they are to women and the progress of society as a whole. Just last week she told us about how when her mother was applying for college, she wanted to apply as an elementary education major. Her college told her that they had too many elementary education majors, so she had to be a home economics major. As a female embarking on her college career, she had only two, very specific options. In 2019, I have hundreds of options, yet I am choosing to major in something that used to confine women.

When my sociology professor talks on these subjects, I feel a twinge of guilt. How can I be a feminist if I naturally love caring for children and I am excited (in many, many, MANY years from now) to start a family? How can I be a feminist if I’d rather do traditionally female tasks such as  washing the dishes and folding the laundry, rather than taking out the trash and cutting the grass? How can I be a feminist if I want to work in a profession that is over 70% women and has kept women in a very gender specific role for many years. I believe the answer lies in action and awareness.

If I wanted to become a teacher because I perceived it as a woman’s duty or because I felt it was one of my only options as a female, that is where becoming a teacher would be harmful to my own feminism and society’s view on women. I want to become a teacher because I want to influence and educate the minds of our future generations and be there for them when no one else is. A man could also do this, just as I could be a doctor or work on a construction site. If I preferred to do the dishes and fold the laundry because I believed a woman’s place was in the house or that men shouldn't have to complete these tasks, that is where my mindset on house chores would be a detriment to my own feminism. I like doing these chores more than taking out the trash or cutting grass because I get to sing along to my music while I do them and spend time with myself doing repetitive and relaxing tasks. I know that a man could do these tasks exactly the same way I can, and I also know that I can cut the grass and take out the trash if my heart so desires. I do believe that more men should take on the role of becoming teachers because it would give young male students a positive role model and someone they can relate to in the classroom, but my becoming a teacher as a female has nothing to do with a man’s desire to break his own gender roles.

I can do WHATEVER I want to as a female in today’s society, and if I choose to educate myself for four plus years to go on to an emotionally laborious job so that I can be an advocate, educator, and shoulder to cry on for the youth of our country, then so be it. While doing this, I’ll also be voting, voicing my opinions, and never letting a single man influence who I am as a women, and as a human being who is equal and capable in every way.