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sahp- do you consider yourself a feminist? - Page 3

post #41 of 131
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazelnut
And I don't think it's about valuing paid work more than child rearing (a very patriarchal concept)
See this cracks me up becuase I have never, ever, EVER had a man act like staying home with children was unimportant work. They always get how huge it is.

It is ONLY women who have acted like it was lowly work, or not worth my time, or that any paid caregiver could do as good a job or feminist writings that flat said I was a traitor to leave my job or that my work at home was only becuase I was too stupid to know I was falling for a patriarchal notion.

I am not sure this is a patriarchal notion at all. I think it maybe mother natures notion that women should do it. Since she gave us the breast and the intense URGE to do it.
post #42 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazelnut
I think it's patriarchy that devalues children and childcare, not feminism.

I agree that feminism has not done enough for mothers, but I think that's due to sexism in the movement, not feminism itself. And I don't think it's about valuing paid work more than child rearing (a very patriarchal concept) but about acknolwedging that until more women have more economic independence and more positions of power in both the workforce and the government, nothing will change in social policy to benefit mothers and children. Sadly, that's just reality. Men in govt. and men running companies aren't going to wake up one day and make this fair. Women have to get in and change it.
That's why I tried to differentate between real feminism and extreme feminism, like the previously linked author who said in her article that we all stay home because we are still repressed and think ourselves inferior. She had all sorts of plans, like how we should marry down so that our husbands are not as likely to want us to forgo our careers, and only have one child because more children will likely convince us that we need to stop working. The whole thing was qute insulting. No, feminism itself does not judge the SAHM or SAHP as wasting their time, but extremist feminism does.

Linda Hirshman writes, and this was in Dec 2005,
Quote:
But then the pace slowed. The census numbers for all working mothers leveled off around 1990 and have fallen modestly since 1998. In interviews, women with enough money to quit work say they are “choosing” to opt out. Their words conceal a crucial reality: the belief that women are responsible for child-rearing and homemaking was largely untouched by decades of workplace feminism. Add to this the good evidence that the upper-class workplace has become more demanding and then mix in the successful conservative cultural campaign to reinforce traditional gender roles and you’ve got a perfect recipe for feminism’s stall.
And this:
Quote:
Conservatives contend that the dropouts prove that feminism “failed” because it was too radical, because women didn’t want what feminism had to offer. In fact, if half or more of feminism’s heirs (85 percent of the women in my Times sample), are not working seriously, it’s because feminism wasn’t radical enough: It changed the workplace but it didn’t change men, and, more importantly, it didn’t fundamentally change how women related to men.
And this:
Quote:
Here’s the feminist moral analysis that choice avoided: The family -- with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks -- is a necessary part of life, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government. This less-flourishing sphere is not the natural or moral responsibility only of women. Therefore, assigning it to women is unjust. Women assigning it to themselves is equally unjust. To paraphrase, as Mark Twain said, “A man who chooses not to read is just as ignorant as a man who cannot read.”
And this:
Quote:
In her 1995 book, Kidding Ourselves: Babies, Breadwinning and Bargaining Power, Rhona Mahoney recommended finding a sharing spouse by marrying younger or poorer, or someone in a dependent status, like a starving artist. Because money is such a marker of status and power, it’s hard to persuade women to marry poorer. So here’s an easier rule: Marry young or marry much older. Younger men are potential high-status companions. Much older men are sufficiently established so that they don’t have to work so hard, and they often have enough money to provide unlimited household help. By contrast, slightly older men with bigger incomes are the most dangerous, but even a pure counterpart is risky. If you both are going through the elite-job hazing rituals simultaneously while having children, someone is going to have to give. Even the most devoted lawyers with the hardest-working nannies are going to have weeks when no one can get home other than to sleep. The odds are that when this happens, the woman is going to give up her ambitions and professional potential.
And this gem:
Quote:
The privileged brides of the Times -- and their husbands -- seem happy. Why do we care what they do? After all, most people aren’t rich and white and heterosexual, and they couldn’t quit working if they wanted to.

We care because what they do is bad for them, is certainly bad for society, and is widely imitated, even by people who never get their weddings in the Times. This last is called the “regime effect,” and it means that even if women don’t quit their jobs for their families, they think they should and feel guilty about not doing it. That regime effect created the mystique around The Feminine Mystique, too.
And my favorite:
Quote:
Finally, these choices are bad for women individually. A good life for humans includes the classical standard of using one’s capacities for speech and reason in a prudent way, the liberal requirement of having enough autonomy to direct one’s own life, and the utilitarian test of doing more good than harm in the world. Measured against these time-tested standards, the expensively educated upper-class moms will be leading lesser lives. At feminism’s dawning, two theorists compared gender ideology to a caste system. To borrow their insight, these daughters of the upper classes will be bearing most of the burden of the work always associated with the lowest caste: sweeping and cleaning bodily waste. Not two weeks after the Yalie flap, the Times ran a story of moms who were toilet training in infancy by vigilantly watching their babies for signs of excretion 24-7. They have voluntarily become untouchables.
Chew on all of this for a while. According to this extreme feminist, we as stay at home moms are bringing all of our mothers and grandmothers' hard work into a horrible downward spiral, and our choice is bad for us and bad for society. To me, this kind of feminism is Machiavellian, power hungry and greedy. It is shameful.

Now, read the response of the National Organization for Women to ABC's Good Morning America's spotlight on the provebial "Mommy Wars" and use of Linda Hirshman as a valid view point on working vs stay at home moms:
Quote:
The choice of retired Brandeis law professor Linda Hirshman as the inspiration and framework for the segments was obviously intended to be inflammatory. The position she takes—that all well-educated mothers will be leading "lesser lives" if they don't work outside the home—is a minority viewpoint. Repeating it sure stirs the pot but it doesn't lead to a productive discussion about the work/family balancing act that most parents face.
This reinforces what we know, that stay at home life is not a wasted or lesser or inferior life, and that feminism does not exclude us. Our careers and education are not thrown away by investing that knoweldge and wisdom into the raising up of future little members of society, our future political leaders and teachers and scientists and stay at home moms.
post #43 of 131
I don't know what "extreme" feminism is. The type of feminism that emphasizes career and climbing the corporate ladder is very middle-class and narrow-focused, IMO.

Truly progressive feminist thought shifts the paradigm entirely.
post #44 of 131
Yeah exactly. I don't consider that "extreme feminism" at all. Seems very bourgeois to me.
post #45 of 131
Thread Starter 
This isn't even EXTREAM feminism. This is orginal feminsim. This goes right along with "women need men like fish need bicycles."

It isn't all that "out there" as far as today's feminist thought goes. So NOW dismissed it as radical but the fact is it isn't that out of mainstream. It is only a tippy toe over the line from what is generally accepted.
post #46 of 131
That is the problem - there is no one definition of feminism anymore. I think dthat's good, because my definition is that a woman gets to do what is important to her without anyone standing in her way.
post #47 of 131
Thread Starter 
Do you really think there are that many people standing in our way anymore?

We are more than half of the admissions to law school and graduate programs. We are filling up medical school too.

If you compare men and women in the same field with the same experience women are generally paid equal if not higher then men.

What am I fighting except other women who are trying to keep me in the office in order to be true to my sisters?
post #48 of 131
I personally stay at home with my baby because being a mommy is a full time job, it suddenly became taboo to be a homemaker, but it also suddenly became a world where guns are brought to school, children are depressed, familys are split up, grades are low and drugs are widespread. A homemaker is called a homemaker because of what the homemaker does; making a home. Without the homemaker your home is kind of empty and your kids suffer. I think a woman willing to stay home is the best kind of woman in the strongest sense; she is willing to do what is best for her family. Any mothers with careers, please do not take offense to this post, I support those who decide to have careers, but I'm an advocate for stay at home moms and strongly believe in the benifits of it.
post #49 of 131
Well, there are all different tyes of feminists, and it's not a monolithic movement. But I don't consider hateful women like Hirschman to be feminists, no matter what they call themselves. They don't speak for most women. And first wave feminists aren't even comparable to today, because they were starting from ground zero, in a society that was hostile to women working who didn't have to, so they had to out and out reject staying at home. I stay at home, btw. But I will plan to go back to work eventually when my kids are not as young. If I had had longer maternity leave (we're talking a year, like in other countries) or the option of shorter hours and fewer days I may have returned.

And Yes, there is absolutely still work to be done. Women are not paid the same, for starters. I don't have time to argue this though. The information is out there.
post #50 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
Do you really think there are that many people standing in our way anymore?

We are more than half of the admissions to law school and graduate programs. We are filling up medical school too.

If you compare men and women in the same field with the same experience women are generally paid equal if not higher then men.

What am I fighting except other women who are trying to keep me in the office in order to be true to my sisters?
Yes, more women go to law school and grad school than me, but six or seven years later, women are not making partner or tenure. More women go to college than men, but women are not making their way in the same numbers (or even comparable numbers) into business or government leadership roles.

Why?
1) Partly patriarchal norms (expecations of what is feminine clash with the job at hand and create unique hardships for women trying to do that job)
2) mentorship norms (for example congressmen in washington are great mentors to thier male aides and they sleep with their female aides - their female aides are simply not going to get the same kind of see-myself-in-you-and help-you-move-forward help. And anyone in a professional career knows how important mentorship is to moving up teh ladder).
3) But the main reason is motherhood. Women (even full-time wohms) simply cannot work the 50-60 hour weeks necessary to make partner/tenure and move ahead in tehir field. Work structures have to change if there is going to be REAL oportunity for everyone.

According to my brother, my brother's law firm is quietly reluctant to hire female associates because there is a big chance they won't make partner because if they have kids in the six years between law school and partner, they simply won't be able to work the required hours. From the firm's point of view, why would they want to put so much training etc into a lawyer that is just going to have to leave them? Same for women and tenure. Something like 85% of women who have kids before making tenure don't get tenure (most women who don't have kids before tenure make tenure). Men's rates of making tenure actaully GO UP if they have kids before tenure.

And there is dispartity between men and women pay even when they work at the same job with the same credentials. It is about supply and demand, and some of the higher demand for male workers has to do with "family work" still falling mostly on women. Male workers are in higher demand, in part, because they are not going to be using their sick time to stay home with a sick child, they are not going to be running family errands on lunch breaks, they are not going to be leaving work to bring an extra pair of pants to school for a child who had an accident. Taking care of the family still mostly falls on women, even wohm.
post #51 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama
I don't know what "extreme" feminism is. The type of feminism that emphasizes career and climbing the corporate ladder is very middle-class and narrow-focused, IMO.

Truly progressive feminist thought shifts the paradigm entirely.

yes yes
post #52 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
See this cracks me up becuase I have never, ever, EVER had a man act like staying home with children was unimportant work. They always get how huge it is.
I just want to say that this is so not my experience.

My baby's father thought my providing childcare was no big deal, and that he shouldn't be required to pay child support, even tho my providing child care allowed him to work for money, and even tho my daughter and I were living in poverty while he built his business and created a solid financial cushion for himself.

All you have to do is look around here to see posts about men who hoard and control the money they earn while working for pay, to find men who think staying home with children is unimportant work, or not work at all.
post #53 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
See this cracks me up becuase I have never, ever, EVER had a man act like staying home with children was unimportant work. They always get how huge it is.
Read the many threads in this forum about dhs who either want their wives to get a "real" job or who act like their sahm wives don't "work" and so don't need a break in the evenings/on eweekends like they do.
post #54 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawanabe
Read the many threads in this forum about dhs who either want their wives to get a "real" job or who act like their sahm wives don't "work" and so don't need a break in the evenings/on eweekends like they do.

Exactly.
post #55 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawanabe
Yes, more women go to law school and grad school than me, but six or seven years later, women are not making partner or tenure. More women go to college than men, but women are not making their way in the same numbers (or even comparable numbers) into business or government leadership roles.

Why?
1) Partly patriarchal norms (expecations of what is feminine clash with the job at hand and create unique hardships for women trying to do that job)
2) mentorship norms (for example congressmen in washington are great mentors to thier male aides and they sleep with their female aides - their female aides are simply not going to get the same kind of see-myself-in-you-and help-you-move-forward help. And anyone in a professional career knows how important mentorship is to moving up teh ladder).
3) But the main reason is motherhood. Women (even full-time wohms) simply cannot work the 50-60 hour weeks necessary to make partner/tenure and move ahead in tehir field. Work structures have to change if there is going to be REAL oportunity for everyone.

According to my brother, my brother's law firm is quietly reluctant to hire female associates because there is a big chance they won't make partner because if they have kids in the six years between law school and partner, they simply won't be able to work the required hours. From the firm's point of view, why would they want to put so much training etc into a lawyer that is just going to have to leave them? Same for women and tenure. Something like 85% of women who have kids before making tenure don't get tenure (most women who don't have kids before tenure make tenure). Men's rates of making tenure actaully GO UP if they have kids before tenure.

And there is dispartity between men and women pay even when they work at the same job with the same credentials. It is about supply and demand, and some of the higher demand for male workers has to do with "family work" still falling mostly on women. Male workers are in higher demand, in part, because they are not going to be using their sick time to stay home with a sick child, they are not going to be running family errands on lunch breaks, they are not going to be leaving work to bring an extra pair of pants to school for a child who had an accident. Taking care of the family still mostly falls on women, even wohm.

These are great points, thanks for posting them. Also the disparity in wages between "pink" and "blue" collar jobs is worth noting. When I was a college student, I worked at a child care center where the janitors earned higher wages than the child care workers, who were required to have college educations, continuing ed credits, and several special certifications including cpr. The bottom line was that maitnenance or janitorial work was "mens work" and the child care was "women's work". : And this was a NFP agency dedicated to the promotion of the importance of the first three years of life.


Hazelnut I agee with you 100%. Especially about it being patriarchy, not feminism, that devalues child care and children in general. The patriarchy treats child care as a hobby in my opinion.

By the way, I am a feminist married to a pro-feminist man, and I find it difficult to reconcile being a SAHM with my feminist values, but only from a status quo, economic level. I agree with the pp who said that what feminism needs at this point is a complete paradigm shift at all levels of policy/government. So I don't feel like a "bad feminist" for staying at home, but I haven't stopped being an activist and just totally dropped out, either.

However, my "philosophy" is not going to make up for the years I have fallen behind my peers by choosing to be a SAHM, and if my husband ever left me, my philosophy is not going to pay the bills either. So I do find it hard to be a SAHM feminist, because at the end of the day, I AM dependent on my husband. HE can talk all day about our "family economy", but the paycheck that supports us has his name on it, not mine.
post #56 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowdypea
Also the disparity in wages between "pink" and "blue" collar jobs is worth noting. When I was a college student, I worked at a child care center where the janitors earned higher wages than the child care workers, who were required to have college educations, continuing ed credits, and several special certifications including cpr. The bottom line was that maitnenance or janitorial work was "mens work" and the child care was "women's work". : And this was a NFP agency dedicated to the promotion of the importance of the first three years of life.
yes. And unskilled work that women typically do pays MUCH less than unskilled work that men usually do. I do believe that the devaluing of childcare (whether done by sahms or childcare workers) comes from its association with women/the feminine.
post #57 of 131
No, I do not consider myself a feminist.
post #58 of 131
I would love to see more of a focus on the self-esteem of girls and women and the recognition of not simply domestic violence but also emotional abuse and the more subtle issues of control. I would like to see less women who stay with mean husbands because they don't think they can get any better, or don't know how they will do it on their own, or who erroneously believe that true love means accepting a person for who they are no matter what.

I would never put up with my husband making me do all the housework or controlling all the money. I've had emotionally abusive relationships. I don't tolerate that kind of crap anymore. If my husband even so much as raised his voice in an arguement, he'd be sleeping at a motel that night. Not to say he hasn't tried to leave me with all the housework - and when he does I make dinner for myself and wash only my underwear. He gets it.
post #59 of 131
Of course, I'm a feminist!
post #60 of 131
Thread Starter 
mamawanabe the points you make are points I see too. But I think the reason Hirshman (and other feminists) are so angry at sahm is we are the elephant in the room in all that you just mentioned.

We do leave to raise our kids- but why do we do that? I think by in large it is becuase we WANT to. We like it. We enjoy raising our children and we feel the need to be there for them when they are sick. Were I to go back to work I am certain I would feel more "driven" to take time off work if my kids were sick because I know exactly how they like to be tucked in and I feel that URGE to be there for them in a way my husband (and he is a great dad) doesn't. He does care for them but he doesn't feel the NEED to be home like I do.

I think if work structures changed women wouldn't be more likely to work longer hours or do more. I think there are a lot moms who might pick up more part time work if it were easier to find but I doubt there would be a major change becuase the bottom line is I know I would drop part time work the second it interfered with my being a mom.

I will never be the career woman I was before - ever becuase I will never pick my job over my kids. In fact when I consider working I consider "pink collar" work becuase it is easy, it is in and out, it is work I leave at the office. And I don't want a job where I have to come home and "decompress" from work again. I want to keep my head open and my heart open for my kids not my career.

I think that is why hirshman is mad. But I don't understand how Hirshman can act like kids aren't worth this sacrafice? I know mine are!

I don't believe there is any serious wage disparity anymore. I think there is that $.74 to a dollar stat but that is comparing all mens jobs to all women's jobs and that is a false comparison becuase we do step in and out of the labor force, we do choose less dangerous jobs (that pay less). If you compare two people in the same job with the same experience the man and woman generally are paid the same- or the woman higher since she will often make what a man at the same pay grade makes even with less experience (for equity's sake). But shouldn't it be that way? I mean, if I go back to work should I really make the same as my sister who stayed at the firm while I was gone? NO! that would be unfair to her! If I choose to back off my career to be on beck and call of sick kids or school things shouldn't it be reflected in my pay?
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