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sahp- do you consider yourself a feminist?

post #1 of 131
Thread Starter 
Either way talk about your feelings and, if becoming a sahp has changed your feelings talk about how and why.
post #2 of 131
I am absolutely a feminist! First of all, to me feminism is about women having equal respect, opportunities and choices. That is a struggle that I feel is still important and not achieved in all areas and for all women. I also feel that feminism has to do with taking pride in being a woman and finding personal power in what is unique to being a woman (ie, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding.)

Nobody forced me to be a sahp and dh and I made a choice together that is best for our family and that I am very happy about.

Right now the feminist issue that is most relevant to me is the fact that so many work places discriminate against parents who take time off to be primary caregiver and make it so difficult for them to re-enter the workplace or to work any kind of part-time or flex time. I have started working part time now that my kids are in school and cannot find a part time or full time job in my field at all. The gap in my resume really seems to make a difference. I took a job that pays poorly and is way below my skill level because it is compatible with my kids' school schedule.

When I was in college and many years from having kids I felt it wasn't very feminist to be a sahp. When I was pregnant with dd1 I felt apologetic and embarassed that I wanted to stay home. But now I look back on it as a choice I made consciously and I am proud of myself and feel just as much a feminist.

Those who make it hard for women to either stay at home or to work outside the home are the ones who I think don't really "get" feminism.
post #3 of 131
I am a feminist to the very core of my being. Nothing about making the choice to stay home (or the choice to work) could change that in any way.
post #4 of 131
Thread Starter 
I definatly feel that I am struggling with my identity as a feminist. I am glad to hear you all aren't troubled.

I did consider myself a feminist but I feel very abandoned by the movement the moment I choose to stay home. It is as if I was free to make any choice but it was just understood that only a dolt would make the choice to stay home!

The writings now seem so totally slanted against sahp- refering to the work of a homemaker as lowly and pedestrian. THere is no celebration or even room for celebration for the importantce of that work unless we are talking about people who are PAID to do the work. And consistently there are veiled threats about woe be it to me if I get a divorce instead of a focus on how to make the market more accepting of me coming back and then of course there are those like the Good morning america woman who just out and out call me a traitor for abaonding the working woman and moving home.

I also admit that while I am still pro choice I find that I feel differently about abortion than I did before I had a baby and I find the language refering to fetuses as just "tissue" to be offensive. I am still totally in favor of a woman's right to choose but I struggle to stay calm with the way that the movement seems to dehumanize what is in fact a potential person we are talking about. It isn't a minor proceedure, it isn't "no big deal." It should be her right to decide but it is something big to decide about.

But that is just what I struggle with.

Today, I would not call myself a feminist.

In case you wonder (since when I talk about this I often get accused of all kinds of things) I have a background as a director of a non profit, I was a woman with a wonderful career I never intended to leave but after I returned to work I realized I wasn't willing to settle for anyone else caring for my child. I am not a fundementalist christian (or even a christian at all). I don't love housework.
post #5 of 131
Of course I'm still a feminist. I'm also a masculist if such a word exists - I don't see how being a SAHM would change that. I personally don't understand how anyone thinks being a stay at home parent negates feminism. Actually I don't understand how anyone could consider themselves to not be a feminist. Feminism is the theory that the sexes are equal. By equal I don't feel that means identical, just equal in importance and value in society. We each contribute different things, but they are both equally important. Just because I don't work doesn't mean what I contribute is any less valuable or that I have any less say in my marriage or family.

I suppose others think feminist = activist for women's issues and I do see how the feminist movement seems to think SAHMing is a step backward. I think that is a backward stance. The idea is to have women be free to choose what they want to do, including staying at home. Unfortunately women are faced with a choice between family and career that men don't have, because men do not contribute the unique things to a child that women do (pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding) and I think the feminist movement has a hard time with the fact that women can't "have it all" so to speak. They neglect to realize that men can't have it all either. They also choose between career and family, but since their part in family life is different it is not as obvious what they are giving up. And they cannot ever have the joy of pregnancy, childbirth and nursing. I think the feminist movement has done its job and it needs to evolve into something more - more like a family movement at this point. Women have a glass ceiling now because they choose family over work and we need a workplace that allows and allows both men and women to focus on their family AND succeed.
post #6 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
The writings now seem so totally slanted against sahp- refering to the work of a homemaker as lowly and pedestrian. THere is no celebration or even room for celebration for the importantce of that work unless we are talking about people who are PAID to do the work. .
I agree about the writings. I've read some really unsettling articles lately about the feminist view of SAHParenting. Reading those articles, I realized that earnings were a central value--you are what you earn. Even social service careers were scorned as a choice for women, because they don't have high earning potential.

That view of feminism does NOT speak for me. But I stubbornly continue to consider myself a feminist . I think we can disagree about specific details within a philosophy and still subscribe to the same philosophy. As far as labels go, I have yet to find any boxes that fit me exactly....just enough that I can squeeze in and find a comfortable spot.
post #7 of 131
Quote:
feminism is about women having equal respect, opportunities and choices
I agree with this. I do think that women should not be given special treatments either just because they are female ie the female firefighter should endure the same physical tests as the men etc. And if we are going to have women in the military they should be able to fight in combat along side the men as well. If we are going to be equals we need to be across the board.
post #8 of 131
Hellyeah I am a feminist. I don't feel abandoned by feminism at all. I guess it depends on your understanding of feminism... mine is not so much the "climbing the corporate ladder just like a man" feminism. Decent welfare system, resources for women dealing with domestic violence, teaching our girls and boys ways to be with their genders different than what we were taught, social justice issues, advocating for peace, respect, and the sharing of resources more equitably... all those things are feminist issues that affect my life directly.

On the issue of choice, I am more pro-choice now than I have ever been, knowing what it is like to be a single mama living in poverty. I wanted my child more than anything, and I am thrilled with my life, but I can also see how hard and soul-killing it would be if I hadn't come to motherhood so eagerly, and if mothering didn't hold the personal meaning it does for me.

I personally don't think choice is a light issue, I don't think a fetus is simply tissue, altho I respect that many feminists do believe that. I feel more like yes it is human life, and as women we are the gatekeepers of life. Abortion is a serious decision, but so is motherhood. Of whom great responsibility is expected, equally power must also be granted. Women get to decide if we choose to bring forth a child or not. Period.

I also think that if anti-choicers were really all that concerned about baby's lives, they would spend their energy creating better conditions for mamas to keep our babies and not live in desperation and poverty. Not picketing abortion clinics with stupid signs. Wouldn't the better strategy be to create optimum conditions for women to truly decide? Anything else is just an attempt to remove women's power over our bodies and our lives, disguised as concern for fetuses.
post #9 of 131
Yes, I'm a feminist. And I think that's perfectly compatible with being a SAHM, since feminism to me is enabling and empowering women to make their own choices.

Doesn't mean I haven't been thrown off balance a bit by my new desire to stay home and create a home for my kids, and put aside the career I love.
Mostly because our society does not respect motherhood and we are not compensated financially or with social security, proper benefits, etc. Much of Europe has a much fairer system.

I recommend the book Maternal Desire which has helped me clarify my own feelings and conflicts.
post #10 of 131
What kind of articles are y'all reading that have an unsettling view of stay at home moms? I have not seen any articles that put stay at home moms down but I have seen stuff on tv about it. I am still pissed off at Leslie Stahl of 60 minutes for implying that it was moronic for highly educated women to choose to stay at home with their kids. I do read an awful lot of articles about/by work at home moms. That is a trend that is on the rise I think. I guess stay at home moms just don't have a voice.

I do have an issue with the mainstream view of feminism as being so much about career. It is almost as if being a strong woman is the opposite of being a mother. I think feminism needs to expand its viewpoint to include mothers, staying at home or working. When taking care of children, and educating them, gets as much respect as being a doctor or lawyer or broker, then feminism will have really accomplished something, in my book. When we have great childcare and education, when children and mothers are held in the highest esteem, where they should be, then feminism will have accomplished its goal of equality of the sexes.

I am still a strong, powerful, educated, liberal, post-modern woman. I still believe I am worthy of respect and I act accordingly when I am out and about. That feminist part of me has not changed since I was 7 years old singing along with "I am woman, hear me roar" and will not change.
post #11 of 131
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
What kind of articles are y'all reading that have an unsettling view of stay at home moms?
LOL, well start with Friedan and the Feminine Mystique and move forward! Most recently I found a feminist blog that was supposed to speak directly to the sahm with an entry titled "why do sahm's say feminists are anti sahm" and then it went on to say disrespectful things about staying home of the sort of "mindless"
and polishing door knobs that kind of thing, and then the meat of the article was about how sahm better pray that our dh's don't beat us or hte kids or drink or something because if they do we are up the creek.

No talk about how they ought to keep good onramps for us to come back if god forbid that happens and the whole attiude was clear that she felt we had given up our power to stay home and were almost asking for it.
post #12 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
LOL, well start with Friedan and the Feminine Mystique and move forward!
Oh lord, I did not read that dinosaurish view of feminism even when I was in college studying women's issues! I much prefer Naomi Wolf and Carol Gilligan.

Did you write any comments on that blog? I've read comments about how sahm's need to pray there hubbies don't beat them or leave them here at MDC, too. They usually get clobbered by the strong mamas herein.
post #13 of 131
Nope. I am the least feminist woman I know.

I read some article in cosmo mag. that basically said women staying at home(with or w/o kids) was a step backward for women and feminism. ugh. I cancelled my subscription. I heard that somewhere else too and it ticked me off.
post #14 of 131
My mother and grandmother fought hard for our rights. The right to chose, the right to play sports, the right to education, the right to vote. The list goes on and on.

I have a degree, and I stay home. Boy, my mom is pissed. She feels she wasted "her" money in getting me educated. She wonders if I was listening to the speaches and the rallys I was dragged to in the early to mid 70's. When I was growing up, she was working full time, getting her B.S. and Master's. I was a latch key kid. Six years old running around the U of O, checking in with the hotdog salesman. I could never go to a friends house after school, unless it was planned days in advance. We never had homemade cookies in our home packed lunch. and had many step fathers.


So I think I might be one of the backlash Fems. I saw my mom try to "have it all" and I got lost in her life. I was never sure why she had me, and was never sure if she loved me. I will fight for my right and my daughter's daughter to chose, play, learn, vote ect...

Ironically, I have a brother that is 23 years younger than me, and she stays home with him. It is good enough for her now, but not for me. (now or then) Also ironically, my best friend, who's mom was a SAHM, is now raising her son in Manhattan and is a loud and proud Fem. ( we joke about trading mom's to this day)

I stay home, love my kids and do the best I can for them. I know she did the best she could for me. Our best's are just different.
I do not begrudge any mom's choice to wohm or sahm. I worry that us sahm's will suffer if we ever divorce. (we have a post nupt that saves me some) I worry about my future in retirement age. We have retirement accounts but is it enough?
post #15 of 131
Hell, yes, I'm a feminist. I choose to be a SAHM. You all can can make your own choices, this is what's best for my family right now. There will years more to work. Isn't the retirement age 65 or something?

My mom worked and struggled to do it all. I'm thrilled I don't have to. My daughter can make up her own mind.
post #16 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
What kind of articles are y'all reading that have an unsettling view of stay at home moms? .
Here is an article by Linda Hirshman that I read a couple of months ago:
http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?...rticleId=10646
"Homeward Bound
Intro to the article:
“Choice feminism” claims that staying home with the kids is just one more feminist option. Funny that most men rarely make the same “choice.” Exactly what kind of choice is that?"

It focuses on the choices of "elite women", and assumes that they set the standard for the rest of us.....
post #17 of 131
Yes, I'm a huge feminist. Catherine MacKinnon rocks.

I'm a feminist and I still think there should be a parent at home. Doesn't have to be a mom.

There is a big problem still, however, with "women's work" being demeaned, with gender roles being based on just that, gender. Why isn't child care a well-paying job? Why do so many men (and women) assume that if anyone stays home it should be the woman?

At the same time it's hard because I don't subscribe to the "equality" argument. Equal to what? A man?!? So we're going to let men determine our entire paradigm? Sure that sounds really feminist.

We have come so far but there is still so much farther to go.

And you know what--my mom was a SAHM and I think she is mad, on some level, that I "wasted" her money in going to law school and I'm now wasting my degree. She always wanted me to pick a career that would make sure I was self-sufficient and now that I'm not actively using my degree, she is, deep down, upset that I've chosen what she thinks is the same path she chose 35 years ago.

I see it as a step forward, because I have the degree, I can use it when I want, but I still think someone should be home with the kids and I was the more logical choice of the two of us.

So I guess one person's step forward is another's step back.

post #18 of 131
Here's what Kim Gandy, President of NOW, had to say about the GMA piece with Linda Hirshman:

http://www.now.org/issues/media/mommywars.html
post #19 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil'M
Here's what Kim Grandy, President of NOW, had to say about the GMA piece with Linda Hirshman:

http://www.now.org/issues/media/mommywars.html
Great Letter!
post #20 of 131

Yes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
Either way talk about your feelings and, if becoming a sahp has changed your feelings talk about how and why.

It kind of seems like you are doing a formal poll, lol, but all I have to say is that the fact that I am a feminist has played a role in my (our) decision for me to be a SAHM. Frankly, we are doing "Women's Work" here. And it is the most important work, the most fulfilling work, and it is essential. I realize that some people have to work outside of the home, and I definitely feel blessed (though i had to work outside the home for a month, and I about died missing my dd!), that I do not have to. But feminism is about women having the right to make a choice for themselves. Any choice, about any thing!
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