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Inquiry: Are you a feminist? - Page 4

post #61 of 114
feminist and WOHM here
post #62 of 114
I want to change my answer. I won't call myself a feminist becasue I don't truely understand this label. I did what to add: Being an empowered person is certainly not about having the choice to climb as high as one can up the ladder of consumerism. Rather it is about examining our beliefs and choosing to live authentic lives. (I don't always feel authentic but I am activly engaged in the process of becoming a better person and that gives me peace). I hear a lot of women around me saying I have no choice. . . That makes me sad. I really believe that we create our own lives, the good and bad. I internalized this belief as I read Unassisted Birth following a very traumatic C/S. (A very interesting book even if you are not planning an UB). I feel that I can say this because I grew up in proverty and abuse. I know what it means to feel helpless and carry that into our adult lives. But I have come to believe strongly that there are always choices. I believe that consumerism teaches us hopelessness and dissatisfaction. Please Remember: Hope Floats.
post #63 of 114
Feminist and stay-at-home mommy. I have to agree with all of the other women posting. Feminism is about having the choice to do whatever we want; as human beings.
post #64 of 114
P/T WOHM feminist mama here. To me, feminism is a) working to end discrimination that negatively affects women and girls and b) working to undercut gender-based discrimination in general, to provide more equal oppotunity for all humans.
post #65 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgraine
I want to change my answer. I won't call myself a feminist becasue I don't truely understand this label. I did what to add: Being an empowered person is certainly not about having the choice to climb as high as one can up the ladder of consumerism. Rather it is about examining our beliefs and choosing to live authentic lives. (I don't always feel authentic but I am activly engaged in the process of becoming a better person and that gives me peace). I hear a lot of women around me saying I have no choice. . . That makes me sad. I really believe that we create our own lives, the good and bad.
WOH is not about necessarily about climbing the ladder of consummerism (though I suppose it can be that for some people). For myself, it about the joy of doing what I love. I cannot have this joy AND be a mother because of the way my profession is structured (read statistics on women who have kids before getting tenure at universities - they are harrowing). This structure is not necessary - it is a holdover to one parent income models, models that no longer reflect realities of work. Yes, we create our own lives, but when our creation is so constricted by unnecessary institutional structures that they don't feel like "choices" but like cutting yourself in half, then it is time to fight (complain like hell, raise awarness, etc) to change the structures. Because these unecessary structures only overtly affect women (though I would say men working 50-60 hour weeks and not seeing their kids much when their kids are young is not a good thing for men either) it is a feminist issue. A choice between kids and career is not one many men face - it is one a lot of professional women face. Professional career structrues don't allow for part-time or time off - this has to change
post #66 of 114

Just wanted to add something to my post above.

I am a WOHM because the job(s) I like to do and excel at are things that one just cannot do from the house.

I am a civil engineer and spend a lot of time on construction sites making sure structures are built properly.

There is just NO way to do that at home.

I think that this SAHM/WAHM/WOHM debate is a red-herring. If we really think that everyone should have the right to persue what they think they would be good at and enjoy, then having an arbitrarily assigned physical boundary is pretty much ridiculous.

I would like to point out that this is also a recent invention in the long trail of gender-roles. This is a result of the Industrial Revolution, a result of the creation of a proletarian class -- that is, a group who only have "wealth" (however much) through having offspring (latin is proles) to earn money in a marketplace of work.

But that is a whole other topic.
post #67 of 114
Feminist here and sahm. (well, most of the time, I took small jobs to make ends meet over the course of time)

Now I'm a part time student. I will be going to fulltime student next year when my youngest is in Kindergarten.

I value my work as a sahm but one thing that has concerned me has been the inconsistant message I've given my daughters. I want them to study and work to their full potential but I didn't do this for myself. I had my older children when I was young so that has been a factor but I think when a daughter sees her mother sacrifice the self over and over again it plays into the hands of the patriarchal society that tells girls to "be nice" and sacrifice the self. If *boys* were given a similar message it wouldn't be bad (after all would't the world be a better place if people didn't think so much of themselves?)

Now I'm going to school and getting good grades. I'm taking my first math class and I've been having angst over the Stats class but I started to realize that my angst is a bad message as well (Like Barbie, "I hate Math")

I want the world to be a more level place for my daughters.

Debra Baker
post #68 of 114
I haven't read anything but the original question, so that's all I'm responding to. I consider myself a feminist, and I choose to stay at home. My feminisim does have a bearing on my choice. The key word is CHOICE. The whole feminism movement started so we women would have a choice as to what we wanted to do with our lives. My gift is in staying home, and caring for the household. I have gifts, and they are best utilized here. I do not do well in a corporate environment. It's a personal thing.

I also want to say that feminism has so many different meanings now that you really need to define it when you use the word.

Feminism to me means that we recognize the inherent differences in women and men, and play to each other's strengths. Women and men are BOTH human, and should both have the rights previously allocated to only men (Such as voting, and equal pay in the workplace.) But that doesn't mean men and women are exactly the same. Nor should they be. We each have gifts to offer the other, and we would do well to understand them so we can join together and benefit us all.
post #69 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Persephone
Feminism to me means that we recognize the inherent differences in women and men, and play to each other's strengths. Women and men are BOTH human, and should both have the rights previously allocated to only men (Such as voting, and equal pay in the workplace.) But that doesn't mean men and women are exactly the same. Nor should they be. We each have gifts to offer the other, and we would do well to understand them so we can join together and benefit us all.
Individuals have different strengths and weaknesses, but I don't think genders do. Males tend to be a bit larger as adults and serve a different reproductive function, but other than that I see no inherent difference between the sexes.
post #70 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer
Individuals have different strengths and weaknesses, but I don't think genders do. Males tend to be a bit larger as adults and serve a different reproductive function, but other than that I see no inherent difference between the sexes.
me neither.
post #71 of 114
I keep seeing choice popping up. Are we talking choice as in WOTH, SAHM, WAHM, etc. or any choice made by a woman in general is feminist because she's a woman? I am just a little confused.
post #72 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer
Individuals have different strengths and weaknesses, but I don't think genders do. Males tend to be a bit larger as adults and serve a different reproductive function, but other than that I see no inherent difference between the sexes.
I mostly agree with that, but I think different cultures have different perspectives and that perspective is going to be based on how much said culture buys in essentialism. For example, in my trad culture, genders are very much believed to have strengths and weeknesses that are inherent in one's gender identity; ie, only a woman can ever hold the top mediator position in trad government because men are believed to be too passionate, not level-headed enough to be fair.
post #73 of 114
I think choice because if we didn't get to *chose* the path of our lives (including our parenting) what we have would be devalued.

So much of our past is characterized by the lack of choice. Our foremothers were oftentimes trapped in their circumstances.

To the level we have autonomy we have freedom.

DB
post #74 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by sohj
feminist and WOHM here
Me too
post #75 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selu Gigage
I keep seeing choice popping up. Are we talking choice as in WOTH, SAHM, WAHM, etc. or any choice made by a woman in general is feminist because she's a woman? I am just a little confused.
Feminism is about women having the right to make choices, whether it's a choice to woh, sah, or wah, or whether it's other choices.
post #76 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer
Feminism is about women having the right to make choices, whether it's a choice to woh, sah, or wah, or whether it's other choices.
Ok. I agree that feminism has empowered women to make choices of all types, I guess I just don't agree that all choices are feminist just because a woman is making them.
post #77 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selu Gigage
I mostly agree with that, but I think different cultures have different perspectives and that perspective is going to be based on how much said culture buys in essentialism. For example, in my trad culture, genders are very much believed to have strengths and weeknesses that are inherent in one's gender identity; ie, only a woman can ever hold the top mediator position in trad government because men are believed to be too passionate, not level-headed enough to be fair.
Interesting, cause here it is that women are too emotional to be rational and objective. Here, "women are more emotional than men" seems such an "essential" truth, and yet it is essential only in a cultural way - we are raised in this culture and thus we accept this culture's gender identity, which for women means "too emotional" or "emotional intelligence" (depending on whether emotions are something you consider useful at the time they are being displayed). It becomes a self-fullfilling prophesy.

But culture can change (especially if we give it a shove or two)
post #78 of 114
feminist and SAHM here! but those are labels...

I do agree that some women have more choices now. But if you consider the whole world, most women are stuck between a rock and a hard place with not many choices to get out. Lack of "good" jobs and healthcare, access to safe abortion and contraception, subject to random violence and abuse with no where to turn. we cannot talk about "Women" and truthfully group all of us together- there is a huge difference between the few women who are priveleged to have jobs, healthcare, homes, and food for themselves and their families and the majority of the worlds women who do not.

But I do agree that in america, women have more choices, as in the jobs they can take, but this is still an illusion of power. If we're only working to keep up with the treadmill of the costs of food, housing, childcare, costs of transportation........... etc etc. and living with anxiety and tons of strress... what good are the choices?
But I have had more choices than my mom- Ive had discussions with her , about her she got married at 16, mostly to get out of her house and parents, how she just did what was assumed from her, went along with the pressures, got married w/3 kids (by unnecessary C-S and told she couldnt bf after CS birth ) before she was 22, and it took her 17 years later to realize she had a huge emptiness in her life- she didnt have her identity to hold onto- it was only then that she started to think what she wanted, what she wanted to dream about and work towards, what her hope was, who she really was........ it took a divorce and a second abusive marriage and another divorce before she really found happiness,....


SO- with my life, I was able to choose to go to art school, choose to travel around the country as i found jobs in different cities, choose to live together with DP for 6 yrs befroe marriage, choose to wait another 5 yrs before having a child of my own, choose to have a natural homebirth with midwives I'd admired and felt comfortable with, choose to stay home with my ds while he is a baby and toddler, choose to figure out how to make a business that I can base mostly from home, etc etc....
I have many more choices that have come easier for me, than available to my foremothers.........

but my mom has said she feels that it is more difficult now to be able to afford to raise your kids than when she had little ones. that we have more obstacles in our way. How when she had kids, all she had to do was go to the dr. And show her bluecross card and everything was paid for (my dad had a factory type job) - no premiums,deductibles, copays, endless forms or phonecalls, etc... and they were pretty poor then, but my dad had a job that paid for it,-- today.most of us arent that lucky, most of us cant really afford health insurance....
There were cultural, societal, and economic influences that made my Mom feel like she didnt have choices back in the fifties. Today I can feel like I have more choices, and I do in many ways and realize that I am priveleged in that respect. But everyone should have choices- it shouldn't have to be a privilege. even with my percieved choices, I still know that I do not have enough power over my life. There is no safety net that would catch me if my husband suddenly lost his job. I do not have economic security. I really don't know many who do. I do not have the power to get out of debt. I do not have the power to stop my gov't from doing whatever the hell it pleases , wreaking havoc, death, and torture around the world, in my name.
A lot of decisions are made w/o any consideratiion of what mothers want. Mothers just simply do not matter in this country- even with all the lip service for "family values". So many things are just so screwed up and backasswards to such extent, as if to make us heel down and not stir up too much trouble for the ruling class (and dont even try to fool yourself that there isnt a ruling class just cause we're in america), and when we do, there are convenient steam valves for us to vent through, which doesnt really change anything real, jsut another illusion. Get together 50,000 people and take over the streets in demonstration, scream and yell about it- big deal, what does it really change?- it feels good doing it, and some peoples minds are opened and friendships made, some community is strengthened- but what real change is made in the heirarchical power structure and its tentacles through culture, society, the workplace, etc...? we can organize but I am cynical about it these days.............
So many words are just empty concepts these days- feminism seems to have lost its relevance. Its been coopted in many ways. and as pps pointed out- its never had a concrete definition that everyone could agree on. I think it might just be one more of those Big Ideas that need to be let go and refreshed. Arundhati Roy said something about that in The COSt Of Living- (I am paraphasing)-- that about the question of where are the heroes today-? that maybe with the end of the 20the century, ended our idea of the Big- the Big hero, the Big idea that would free us- that was something Big that could save us if only we could get it to work... ...that we have lots of small heros and small movements and ideas around, we need to shift our way of thinking to a less heirarchal structure, and not fool oursleves that we need a big leader or concept. Do the work that needs doing with what we have. shift our paridygm (sp?!)


But I do call myslef a feminist if asked, because at its basic level it is assumed to mean an equality of the sexes, and that I do agree with. I think all sexes and races are equal in all aspects. I want equal rights and justice for all beings. I do not think feminism is a relevant battle these days, when it is part of a larger battle for human rights.
I was turned off when I discovered that some of the early white suffragists were racists whose motivation partly stemmed from their disgust that a black man would be given the right to vote before a white women.
I also so not understand why bfing would be considered anti feminist- maybe someone sould explain that??? to me, bfing has been very empowering- to see my ds thrive on mamas milk ....
Back to the SAHM label on me- I had a hard time even thinking about myself this way, or using it when someone asked waht I "DID". I dont really see it as my job. I view a job as something you wouldnt do normally except for h the fact that you get money in return since we need money to live. i just see it as my life, being a mom is huge part of it., esp. right now since my ds is only 18 mo.s..... I only describe myself as SAHM when needed on forms, etc.



WHew! that was a long rambling post- hope it made sense to someone!
great thread to read!
post #79 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by musingmama
I was turned off when I discovered that some of the early white suffragists were racists whose motivation partly stemmed from their disgust that a black man would be given the right to vote before a white women.
I can't dispute isolated cases of racism, but the feminist movement was the civil rights movement's greatest ally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musingmama
I also so not understand why bfing would be considered anti feminist- maybe someone sould explain that???
I have never heard a feminist say that bfing is anti-feminist, and I have talked to lots and lots of feminists. I think it is non-feminists who spread the rumor that feminists are anti-bf.
post #80 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer
I can't dispute isolated cases of racism, but the feminist movement was the civil rights movement's greatest ally.


I have never heard a feminist say that bfing is anti-feminist, and I have talked to lots and lots of feminists. I think it is non-feminists who spread the rumor that feminists are anti-bf.
ohh ITA, I didnt mean to generalize that the whole feminist movmt was racist! a lot of feminists did extraordinary work in the abolitionist and civil rights mvmnts!!

about the bfing thing- I had never heard that it was anti feminist until some pps referred to that--- in this thread- so I was wondering what they meant by that??? struck me as strange logic!

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