Eek! This is SO not the place for this, but I just can't help myself.
*quietly gets up on soapbox*
Originally Posted by monkeyscience
Much to the irritation of some of my friends, I flatly refuse to associate myself with the term "feminist" because I feel that feminism is so unsupportive of my life goals. And yeah, I've heard arguments to the contrary, and yes, I certainly believe women should be able to vote and be considered real people, but I really can't support an ideology that seems to consider my intended career choice (SAHM) as invalid, or, worse, damaging to all women everywhere. :P
(bolded mine, of course)
Monkeyscience, I totally get where you're coming from. I can't wait to be a SAHM! Yay for being a Mama! It's not that I think everyone needs to identify as a feminist in order to support it. It's totally cool if you don't like the stigma that's been given to the term. And I definitely respect that people are at different places in self-identification, etc, but I'd be lying if I said that this part of your post didn't make me cringe a little... okay, a lot!
I know Church-going feminists, SAHM feminists, breastfeeding feminists and attachment parenting feminists. Maybe you do, too? I know feminists who read Dr Sears and feminists who read the bible and feminists who identify as republican, even. I think it's scary that much of the media is always using the word "feminist" to describe people who are staunchly against active mothering (though I've never actually met any "feminists" like that, and I know A LOT of feminists!). I have met a lot of mothers who would rather not identify as feminists because they feel that their work doesn't fit in, which is a sad fact of incentive propaganda, unfortunately. Anyone who advocates for the right for women to make their own choices, and not to be essentially owned by their male spouses is a feminist by definition. Some people use the term "feminism" to demonize female autonomy or to justify their choices to join the workforce (the latter of which would be totally credible, regardless, of course). The choice that you have to be a SAHM, to be a participant in the choice to conceive and when, and to ultimately have a say in how you parent is because of feminism. As hard as it is for us to fathom, women haven't always had these choices. They were fought for by feminists. The choice of who (or whether or how) to marry was fought for by feminists. Even the choice as to whether or not one would be a handfast spouse is feminist. So, before feminism, you could well be forcibly handfasted to someone you didn't choose, who was abusive or neglectful. Women were, essentially, slaves.
Self-identified feminists are why maternity leave exists! And lactivism is a feminist movement. The home-birthing / free-birthing movements are feminist! The large portion of youth-rights advocacy has been done by feminists, or other women who have (wittingly or not) benefitted from their efforts in policy. Granted, not every person involved in these movements identify as feminists, but these movements exist and will continue to exist because of the feminism's existence. The concept that women can give birth by the power of their own bodies is a very feminist concept. Midwives do radically feminist work, even within the framework of patriarchy. Sometimes midwifery is the only sign of feminism within a anti-feminist fascist state.
Without feminists, we'd have no choice but to give birth in male-owned hospitals, by male doctors. Without feminists, we wouldn't be allowed to make any of the choices regarding the care of our children. Public policy would be entirely male-run and families would be male-owned. Feminists didn't just fight long and hard for the *right to vote*. In doing so, they changed policy to have a concern for the respect of mothers. They fought long and hard to be able to participate in family choices. Until feminism, women were property and had no right to any financial means, even in case of emergency or the death of their spouse. Until feminism, women were not legally allowed to protect their children without the consent of their husbands or male law-makers. Her children were always the property of her husband, to do with as he sees fit. He could send them to boarding schools or orphanages, and often did. He could abuse them or discipline them as harshly as he wanted. Single mothers or widowed mothers were completely ostracized. I have the right, under law, to have a baby the way I know is right (as a SMBC) only because feminists (female and male) fought for that right. And "boy", am I glad!
It was feminism that changed this, which is why I'm absolutely terrified that so many mothers are anti-feminism.
Feminism is not about forcing mothers to join the work-force. It's about recognizing them as equals and capable of making their own decisions about what is right for them, in the context of their situation. What feminism seems to be, according to some (popular, apparently) sources and what it actually is and has done for mothers are two very different things. Feminism is not anti-male/anti-men or anti mother/father. Feminism is pro-family, and recognizes the mother as central to, or at least an equal in, that family. Not to mention society at large.
*off soap box* sorry.
ANYWAYS... Pass the bean dip, and ... Has anyone been thinking of names lately??? I've been tooling with the following:
Ella Ashen Gray
... what do you think?
PEACE AND JUSTICE!