When I was a child, I wanted to become a teacher, a wife and a mother. Now none of those is any trouble but to look at those roles and say oh it is because she is female will be a great disservice to me for there are so many other reasons for my choice. Anytime I tried to explain it though, adults either tried to change my mind by explaining the poor value of teachers in the society or to accept it as a role that will help me raise a good family. Either way, it was resting on the premise of gender rather than my interest and ability.
They were forgetting that those roles are that of a nurturer, a person interested in raising a new generation by impacting knowledge and values that will shape their future lives and in deed the lives of their own children. In limiting it to just my gender, they were limiting my capacity as a human being to be whoever I want to be and essentially to think independently. In prescribing and following gender roles, we limit the individual as a person and their rights as a functional individual. This belief held by so many around me was because they assumed that as a female I had to aspire to marriage anyway.
I on the other hand absolutely hated it. Yes, I love those roles and I wanted to wear it proudly but I was annoyed that it somehow became more important because I was female not male. I was very irritated by it to say the least.
If you know me like some of my friends do, you will know that I wasn't even thinking along the lines of my gender when I chose those rather I was doing that because of my deep need to nurture, to educate, to love and to be loved.
Growing up, I was fortunate to be raised by a feminist and a liberal academic, put together, you can imagine the kind of powerful influence they had on my life. I never even understood gender roles when I was younger until I started to read about it but as I did, I began to see myself in it, to see instances I had been limited or told to shut up not because of any valid reason but because of my gender.
Today, I still want to be a teacher but I have narrowed it down to teaching literature and writing. I am in school for a degree in Education and English just to make sure that dream comes true. I still want to be a wife, although I have not yet met the one to marry me but it is a gradual process and I'm learning to take it one day at a time and of course I will love to be a mother. The only other role I have added to that is the role of a feminist, in this case, someone who will speak up against the limiting of my intellectual, social, political and economic capacity because of my gender and I plan to speak up not just for myself but for everyone I can, even if it is just one. And yes, it is a role I am proud of becoming.