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Motherhood and feminism - Page 3

post #41 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunar forest
I think annakiss put it really well with her illustration of power in relationships. It's not at all a power struggle, as you put it, it is the simple fact that we each have power (and strengths) in different places, and in different ways. No one truly has greater power than the other, in my eyes, but I do agree that money is a big issue, and certainly making it brings with it a lot of power. But again, it evens out. Nobody's king in my house, and there's no power struggle, either.
I agree that there is power in money, but I think there's a difference between that and voluntarily choosing to forgo participating in the money-making world. A person who is deprived of the option of financial independence is lacking power, but not a person who chooses to abstain from earning money.

Also, having money comes with financial obligations. Because he's the financial provider, my husband knows that he has to work and pay the bills. He doesn't have the option of quitting his job when he doesn't feel like doing it anymore. So that is part of his freedom that he's surrendered, the same as I've surrendered some of my freedom to have children. I think that regardless of whether you contribute financially or what your role in the home is, you have to surrender some of your freedom and authority in order to have a family.

My husband isn't the king in our house. We try to live consensually for everyone. He has authority, but he's also accountable to us.
post #42 of 160
There's a pretty big difference between not having more power (say, by earning money, having more status in society, and having a greater likelihood of being favored in divorce court), and benevolently choosing not to use that power.

My partner is much like yours (except in no way would I consider him having anything other than perhaps fully reciprocal "authority"), in that he earns the money, he would never consider leaving me to flounder, and we have a relationship built on mutual trust and, most of all, love.

But he still has more economic power than I do, and arguably more social power. Much of this is negated by the fact that the money he earns is directly deposited into an account with both our names on it, but he has the legal right to change that at any time, without my imput. He would never do it, but he has the power.

I'd expand on this further, but I'm sick, and I desperately need to get to bed.
post #43 of 160
What Arwyn pointed out is really what my example was about. Though my husband does not use or misuse this power, in making money that I do not make, he has inherent social and economic power that I do not. He has no authority in our household in this regard as per our agreement, but there is power.

I do not at all choose to give my husband authority over me at all and the power that is inherent in his economic status is not exercised, so I don't think it really is a semantic difference. I am not completely powerless since I chose this situation and would likely be able to transition into single motherhood and working should my husband decide to leave me, however, the transition for me would be much more difficult (since I have little to no economic power as a SAHM) than for my husband. I would have to rely on the assistance of family in all likelihood to afford a lawyer or exhaust what little savings I have just to get a retainer (nevermind having to find a place to live and paying bills), whereas my husband would not. Now, I have all confidence that my husband will not leave me and if we were to decide on divorce that he would assist me with a transition for the sake of his children, but that doesn't negate that he has inherent power in this situation.
post #44 of 160
Thank's annakiss - you and I seem to be on the same wavelength, which is kinda nice.

I wanted to add further that although both he and I are aware of the power dynamics that are externally imposed (that is, exist only because of outside, that is, political and social forces, in spite of our dislike of and work against them), they in no way diminish our relationship, that is, he and I trust each other and love each other no bit less because of our awareness of this difference in power. In fact, we have to trust each other more, I that he won't use his power and he that I will trust him to not use his power.

It's still not neutral power, however. Although, with our awareness of it and our conscious, deliberate effort, we have minimized its negative impact on our relationship, it is still true that there are thousands if not millions of relationships out there that are tainted by the power differential, and way too many millions of cases where the power did eventually get used (abused) by the (usually male) party who had the economic ability to leave the partnership/marriage. It happens - just because it doesn't happen to us because our partners have sworn either to work to rectify and eliminate the power differential or to use it benevolently doesn't mean it doesn't adversely affect millions of women.

And that's just here in the US, where we do have rights as human beings, rights to vote, and own property, and live our lives without a male relative/husband/keeper ruling over us - all of that in the last century or so, and all thanks to feminism, the radical notion that women are people too, and deserve to be treated like it.

Once again, there's so much more I want to say, but I'm tired, and I'm sick, and I'm going to bed.

(I hate strep - just for the record.)
post #45 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
I see examples all around me of how far feminism has come. I see the mothers as strong examples of all that women can become. My closest mother friends and I are all well-educated, world-travelling women, all of whom chose to have our children after age 30. We have all accomplished a lot and now stay at home with children as a right and a choice.
Interesting wording. I'm not a "well-educated, world-travelling" woman, but I feel I've accomplished a lot, too...as a mother. I suspect you didn't mean it this way, but this has a lot to do with why I've always avoided identifying myself as a feminist. I'm me - I'm not interested in labelling my belief structure, so that other people can think they know what I'm all about. I'm certainly not interested in applying a label to myself that will cause people to think that I wanted to accomplish things before I became a mother. I'm guessing from the rest of this thread that feminism has changed a lot, but that's still what most people seem to mean by it, and your post indicates that you're one of those people.

Quote:
We are not demeaned by our husbands because we married strong, respectful men, men who see themselves and what they do as equal intellectually to our activities. We all do various different degrees of child rearing and household chores depending on what works for our families. Our husbands value us because they respect us. I see women in my MOMS club who work part and full time and who have husbands who do the same and who share the work load. I see men and women working hard all around me to raise children and have families and have good lives, complete with many opportunities.
I married a man who was fine with me being in charge of the finances. I married a man who believed when we were younger that I could - physically - kick his butt, and who freely admitted that I was smarter than he was. I was the primary breadwinner (the one with the "power", apparently). It was a nightmare, and he ended up being an emotionally abusive jerk. Now, I'm married to a much more traditional sort of man, and he's the breadwinner (I was for the first couple of years - before we had dd). Right now, he has more "power" in some senses...but I could go get a new job tomorrow, if the occasion warranted it.

I left my ex when I realized he no longer had respect for me. (I also had no respect for him by that point.) I'd leave dh if he had no respect for me. My husband doesn't demean me, because I won't allow it. I have a friend who is a staunch feminist, who has hooked up with one abusive jerk after another, and never even seems to realize she's being abused until it reaches ridiculous extremes (death threats, stalking, etc.). So...her feminism doesn't seem to mean much with respect to power in her life.

I have no interest in "accomplishing" things, if that means getting an education (I couldn't wait to get out of school, and university has never really interested me) or having a career outside the home. I may become a doula - I haven't decided if that's really something I'm cut out for. If I do, it's going to wait until my children are a little older. But, I don't, after WOH for years, see the bs involved in office politics, corporate culture, etc. as having "power". I have far more control over my day than my dh does...even with two small children at home. I wouldn't trade this for anything. This is my choice, and I'm grateful that dh is willing to give up his time with his children, in order to let me have my lifelong dream.
post #46 of 160
To clarify, I didn't mean that my dh doesn't have power over me because he doesn't use it. I meant that he doesn't have power over me because I have the same amount of power that he does, but I choose not to use it. If I wanted to, I could get a job, hoard all my money, and leave dh in the dust. I have the capability, i.e. the power, to be a breadwinner; I just choose not to do it.

If my dh were to suddenly leave me (not that he would, but for the sake of hypothetical) I would not be financially ruined. I would be unhappy, but I would get a job. I would be a little bit disadvantaged by having been out of the workforce, but again, that's because of my choice. He doesn't have any type of *inherent* power over me.

Think about these fast-track business types who drop out of the rat race and go live in a cabin in the woods. Are they powerless? I don't think so, just the opposite. They're *choosing* to sacrifice wealth for personal happiness. A person who was raised in the woods and had no marketable skills, who also lived in a cabin in the woods, might indeed be powerless, because he has no other options. So to me, it isn't about whether you make money, but about whether you have options. My dh and I have the same number of options, so we have the same amount of power. At least that is how I see it.
post #47 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
But, I don't, after WOH for years, see the bs involved in office politics, corporate culture, etc. as having "power". I have far more control over my day than my dh does...even with two small children at home. I wouldn't trade this for anything. This is my choice, and I'm grateful that dh is willing to give up his time with his children, in order to let me have my lifelong dream.
That is a good point. Yes, you get financial power from being in the "rat race," but at what cost to your personal freedom? My dh can buy himself whatever he wants, but I can take a nap during the day. I think I got the better half of the deal.
post #48 of 160
You do not have the same amount of power as your DH because you don't have a job. And this isn't power in your relationship, per se, but it's social power, economic power, which if abused could be used as power in your relationship. In fact, if you tried to go out to get a job tomorrow and couldn't find one and your DH started having anger problems and became abusive and your family didn't have the resources to support you or you didn't speak to them or they lived really far away, well then all his social and economic power would start translating into real power over you. It isn't power over you at this point, but it is power that he has and you don't. This is not to say that someone without a job is powerless, just that someone with an income has economic power.

There are of course entirely valuable and important reasons for people to choose to not have a job or to opt out of the rat race, which may not make them powerless at all, but without an income in a capitalistic society you will not have much power socially or politically. When primarily low income women were in the workforce and middle and upper class women depended on their husbands, women had very little power. And before first wave feminism we couldn't even own property or vote. Talk about being powerless! The opposite of having a job is not powerless, but having an income brings with it certain status and inherent power, ecnonmically and socially.
post #49 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
That is a good point. Yes, you get financial power from being in the "rat race," but at what cost to your personal freedom? My dh can buy himself whatever he wants, but I can take a nap during the day. I think I got the better half of the deal.
Because he supports you, of course.
post #50 of 160
Brigianna, I think you misunderstand; we're not saying that we want the power, or that it's even desirable in any way. It is a fact of life, living, like annakiss said, in a capitalistic society. It would be lovely to have both parents home, able to do whatever they want, whenever they want to, without having to worry about money. Unfortunately, that is not possible.
post #51 of 160
I'm also a little irked (not that I think it's being done deliberately) that "economic power" and "power/status in society" are being confused for ALL kinds of power.

There are many, many different kinds of power - in an aggresively capitalistic society like the US, monetary/economic power has disproportional clout compared to some of the others, which is part of the problem, and why feminism in the 70s and 80s focused largely on getting women into the workplace and earning money, not because they thought economic power SHOULD be more important, but because, in this royally screwed up society, it, in many ways, IS more "important".

I certainly don't think I'm powerless - I have the power of equality and status within my relationship with my partner, I have the power of potential (the potential of getting a good job, which I do think some here are taking far too lightly - go talk to a couple SAHM-turned-unexpectedly-bereft-and-single moms and see how "simple" and "easy" it is to actually start earning enough money to keep the family afloat, and how "little" employers care about having taken a couple years off), I have the power of status as a white, middleclass, able-to-pass-for-straight person, I have the power of being a childbearing, nurturing, breastfeeding woman (and least I hope I do), I have the power of my vote... I have all kinds of power, including some economic (again, in large part because my partner chooses to grant it to me). The problem is, that in a patriarchal and capitalistic society, most of that don't mean squat compared to economic power. I don't have a paying job, so I'm not earning social security to help support me when I'm older. I have no one paying for my health insurance, or putting money into my retirement account. The work that I do, and that most SAHMs do, is neither recognised nor supported by our government and society in real, tangible ways. (Like providing us healthcare or retirement benefits.)

I'm getting lost in my own damn argument. I think I was trying to say: money is power, it's not the only power, it's not the most important power, or at least it shouldn't be, but it's the primary counter of power in our society.

I do feel like we've gotten completely sidetracked off the original purpose of this thread. Not that this isn't an interesting conversation, but I thought I would point that out.
post #52 of 160
just wanted to interject a point brought up a few posts up- it's true- there seems to be an elitism that goes along with *some* upper middle class women who say things like, "I graduated college, had a professional career, and then at 35 chose to stay home and have kids- BUT it's okay because I did so much/accomplished so much/am so much more varied than being JUST a SAHM".
someone like me, who graduated high school, did bits and pieces of college (including a summer session in Sociology of Families at Brandeis that interestingly focused on these exact arguments!) but only worked for a few years as an exec assistant before marrying relatively young (22) and having my baby immediately, is sort of the anti-poster child for the 3rd wave feminist movement. I plan to further my career when my dd is older, which many consider "doing things backwards".
So to many, at a certain point it's like, "Now it's ok to give up the career and turn the power over to the husband, because I'm educated and could get back into a job easily & support myself and children." So it seems as long as the woman has a great looking resume and the *potential* to be a breadwinner it's ok for them to not actually be making money, but a lack of that dormant power is considered weak and irresponsible and risky.
In other words, "yes, we should all have the CHOICE, but the choice to stay home needs to be backed up with a solid education or it's not acceptable." I totally disagree with this and think this mindset can often lead people to *never* be able to stay home with their kids even if they want to, because once they have the established career and the house and the multiple cars and the credit card debt and spent years attaining a great education (often with a hefty chunk of student loans), their life is just not set up to choose to stay home anymore.
post #53 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss
You do not have the same amount of power as your DH because you don't have a job. And this isn't power in your relationship, per se, but it's social power, economic power, which if abused could be used as power in your relationship. In fact, if you tried to go out to get a job tomorrow and couldn't find one and your DH started having anger problems and became abusive and your family didn't have the resources to support you or you didn't speak to them or they lived really far away, well then all his social and economic power would start translating into real power over you. It isn't power over you at this point, but it is power that he has and you don't. This is not to say that someone without a job is powerless, just that someone with an income has economic power.

There are of course entirely valuable and important reasons for people to choose to not have a job or to opt out of the rat race, which may not make them powerless at all, but without an income in a capitalistic society you will not have much power socially or politically. When primarily low income women were in the workforce and middle and upper class women depended on their husbands, women had very little power. And before first wave feminism we couldn't even own property or vote. Talk about being powerless! The opposite of having a job is not powerless, but having an income brings with it certain status and inherent power, ecnonmically and socially.
Yes, he has more economic power than I do, but that doesn't mean that there is a power imbalance in our relationship, because I have other things that are as valuable or more so. My dh does not trust anyone but me to raise his children. If we separated, I would have many options for replacing his income, but he would have no options for replacing my childcare. The scenario you describe could happen, but it could also happen that dh could lose his job and I would need to get one, and then I would certainly have more power than he did. But I mean any number of things could happen, but we have the same legal rights and not much different income-earning potential, so I don't think one of us can really have power over the other in any meaningful sense. More power in one area maybe, but not overall.

And I do have power politically and economically, because we consider my dh's income to be our joint family income. We don't think of it in terms of, he earns this much, and I earn nothing, and then he pays me as he sees fit, but as we, as a family, have this much money per month that we all contributed to and is used to meet all of our needs. I think this is how most families do it, whether they have one or two or more income-earning adults--not his income and her income, but the joint family income. And of course, our kids aren't contributing to this at all, but their needs take up most of the family income. Now my dh, as the income-earner, could, if he so chose, take the money and hoard it and not share it with us, but if he did that, I would have recourse, so I wouldn't consider it a power situation, but more like a consequence situation.

I don't think that he could have that kind of power over me, because if he did there would be consequences. Just like in theory, it could be said that I am mooching off his money and could just neglect the kids and spend it all on new shoes for me. But while I could, I suppose, do this if I wanted to, there would be consequences. There are always consequences when people don't live up to their responsibilities.

My dh and I do have a lot of privilege, which I don't deny. We are college-educated, white, Christian, comfortably middle-class, relatively socially accepted, adult, native-born citizens who can pass for mainstream when it counts. All of these things make us benificiaries of unjust social privilege. But I don't think there is power and privilege *within* our relationship. We are a unit, a collective. And if one of us isn't fulfilling our responsibility to the unit--like if dh were hoarding the money, or I were neglecting the kids, both of which would be within our legal rights--there would be consequences.

Quote:
Because he supports you, of course.
Sure, but I support him too. We both have responsibilities and contributions to make.
post #54 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
Interesting wording. I'm not a "well-educated, world-travelling" woman, but I feel I've accomplished a lot, too...as a mother. I suspect you didn't mean it this way, but this has a lot to do with why I've always avoided identifying myself as a feminist. I'm me - I'm not interested in labelling my belief structure, so that other people can think they know what I'm all about. I'm certainly not interested in applying a label to myself that will cause people to think that I wanted to accomplish things before I became a mother. I'm guessing from the rest of this thread that feminism has changed a lot, but that's still what most people seem to mean by it, and your post indicates that you're one of those people.

I have no interest in "accomplishing" things, if that means getting an education (I couldn't wait to get out of school, and university has never really interested me) or having a career outside the home.
I have no idea what you mean by stating I "am one of those people." My knowledge base is that which I have studied, that which I have lived, and that which I have learned from friends and family. This is how it works for all of us. I judge no one as any better or worse than I because I have no right to do that. I am accomplished according to my idea of what that means. I would love to be accomplished musically or artistically or in other ways but I am not. One does not have to be educated to be accomplished but being educated is important to me. That does not mean it is the best way to go. Accomplishments vary. I am a feminist according to what I know about it and that is also important to me. I am "one of those people" who are me. I judge not you and I am not sure why you are judging me. If you do not want to label yourself, that is your choice. But don't judge me when you do not know me and are not sure what I am stating. Stand up for who and what you are. Don't let anything I say put you on the defensive, particularly when it is not even about you.

That being said, if it were not for feminism, you would not even be able to entertain the idea that being "accomplished" meant anything other than financial and political power, in the male sense of the words. Once again, I bring up the book America's Women: 400 years of dolls, drudges, helpmates, and heroines by Gail Collins. Seriously, anyone, particularly any woman, who casts any doubts on the impotance feminism has played in your life needs to do some reading. There is absolutely no way that there does not exist a woman today who's life has not been made better by feminism. We are all in better places today than our greatgrandmothers and we have feminists to thank for that. To cast any doubt on that at all is to not understand the history of women.

In fact, that would be a great point to bring up now. Feminist mamas: recommmend some reading!
post #55 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunar forest
Brigianna, I think you misunderstand; we're not saying that we want the power, or that it's even desirable in any way. It is a fact of life, living, like annakiss said, in a capitalistic society. It would be lovely to have both parents home, able to do whatever they want, whenever they want to, without having to worry about money. Unfortunately, that is not possible.
Sure, but that doesn't mean that the income-earner has power over the non-income-earner. I'm not denying the power of money in a capitalistic society, but only that the power dynamic extends into a mutual relationship.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn
I'm also a little irked (not that I think it's being done deliberately) that "economic power" and "power/status in society" are being confused for ALL kinds of power.
Right, there is more than one kind of power. So someone with more economic power does not necessarily have more power or influence in a mutual relationship.

Quote:
There are many, many different kinds of power - in an aggresively capitalistic society like the US, monetary/economic power has disproportional clout compared to some of the others, which is part of the problem, and why feminism in the 70s and 80s focused largely on getting women into the workplace and earning money, not because they thought economic power SHOULD be more important, but because, in this royally screwed up society, it, in many ways, IS more "important".

I certainly don't think I'm powerless - I have the power of equality and status within my relationship with my partner, I have the power of potential (the potential of getting a good job, which I do think some here are taking far too lightly - go talk to a couple SAHM-turned-unexpectedly-bereft-and-single moms and see how "simple" and "easy" it is to actually start earning enough money to keep the family afloat, and how "little" employers care about having taken a couple years off), I have the power of status as a white, middleclass, able-to-pass-for-straight person, I have the power of being a childbearing, nurturing, breastfeeding woman (and least I hope I do), I have the power of my vote... I have all kinds of power, including some economic (again, in large part because my partner chooses to grant it to me). The problem is, that in a patriarchal and capitalistic society, most of that don't mean squat compared to economic power. I don't have a paying job, so I'm not earning social security to help support me when I'm older. I have no one paying for my health insurance, or putting money into my retirement account. The work that I do, and that most SAHMs do, is neither recognised nor supported by our government and society in real, tangible ways. (Like providing us healthcare or retirement benefits.)

I'm getting lost in my own damn argument. I think I was trying to say: money is power, it's not the only power, it's not the most important power, or at least it shouldn't be, but it's the primary counter of power in our society.
Yes, we live in a materialistic capitalist society that values economic power disproportionately. But that doesn't mean that as individuals we have to accept society's standards as our own. I have *chosen* to forgo social status and wealth in order to take care of my children. I'm not a socialist; I don't believe that all people are entitled to economic equality regardless of the choices they make. I *do* believe that all people should have the same access to opportunity and resources so that they can make a meaningful choice about how to sustain themselves. I am privileged enough to have a meaningful choice--I have a college degree and marketable skills. I think those choices should be availible to anyone who wants to go that direction. But I don't think it's unfair that someone who chooses a high-status, high-paying job earns more money than someone who doesn't, as long as it was a meaningful choice for them both. There are plenty of people who choose to give up their high-income careers to do the work that they love or feel called to, whether it's sah childrearing or volunteer work or whatever. I don't think they give up power in doing so. To me, power is the ability and freedom to make a meaningful choice, not necessarily which choice you make.

Quote:
I do feel like we've gotten completely sidetracked off the original purpose of this thread. Not that this isn't an interesting conversation, but I thought I would point that out.
We're within the general theme I think. I could go really off-topic and list all the problems I have with the feminist worldview, but I will refrain.
post #56 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn
I certainly don't think I'm powerless - I have the power of equality and status within my relationship with my partner, I have the power of potential (the potential of getting a good job, which I do think some here are taking far too lightly - go talk to a couple SAHM-turned-unexpectedly-bereft-and-single moms and see how "simple" and "easy" it is to actually start earning enough money to keep the family afloat, and how "little" employers care about having taken a couple years off),
With the kind of work I do, that doesn't matter. I don't have a career, and I'm not climbing the ladder. I work in "pink collar" and/or semi-professional work at a low level, and nobody gives a damn whether I took a few years off or not. At that level, it's not about how "dedicated" you are to your career or any of that bs. It's simply about whether or not you have the skills. It doesn't pay a whole lot, but I managed to keep my family fed until I went on mat leave three years ago.

I do understand what you're saying, but having spent a lot of time on the "working outside the home" side of the fence, I think the freedom and power are exaggerated. There are only so many high power, good paying jobs available. Most people I know...male or female...SAH or WOH, are working damned hard just to stay afloat. Yeah - if dh and I split up (which I don't see coming), I'd take a hit in terms of buying power. But, the same thing would happen to dh if I died or something, and he knows it. Sure, most of the really powerful - in the economic & political sense - people in our society are male, not female. But, I'm not one of them, and neither is dh...and I wouldn't want to be.
post #57 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276
just wanted to interject a point brought up a few posts up- it's true- there seems to be an elitism that goes along with *some* upper middle class women who say things like, "I graduated college, had a professional career, and then at 35 chose to stay home and have kids- BUT it's okay because I did so much/accomplished so much/am so much more varied than being JUST a SAHM".
someone like me, who graduated high school, did bits and pieces of college (including a summer session in Sociology of Families at Brandeis that interestingly focused on these exact arguments!) but only worked for a few years as an exec assistant before marrying relatively young (22) and having my baby immediately, is sort of the anti-poster child for the 3rd wave feminist movement. I plan to further my career when my dd is older, which many consider "doing things backwards".
So to many, at a certain point it's like, "Now it's ok to give up the career and turn the power over to the husband, because I'm educated and could get back into a job easily & support myself and children." So it seems as long as the woman has a great looking resume and the *potential* to be a breadwinner it's ok for them to not actually be making money, but a lack of that dormant power is considered weak and irresponsible and risky.
In other words, "yes, we should all have the CHOICE, but the choice to stay home needs to be backed up with a solid education or it's not acceptable." I totally disagree with this and think this mindset can often lead people to *never* be able to stay home with their kids even if they want to, because once they have the established career and the house and the multiple cars and the credit card debt and spent years attaining a great education (often with a hefty chunk of student loans), their life is just not set up to choose to stay home anymore.
That is a really good point. Personally I did the go-to-college-and-have-a-career-before-becoming-a-sahm thing, but not by conscious design, just the way my life worked out. I do think that our lives have stages, and the mother-of-young-children stage is all too fleeting. My kids will not need mama around all the time forever. But I think it's ridiculous to say, it's okay to take time off to raise your kids as long as you do your real accomplishments first. Raising kids *is* a real accomplishment! I don't look at being a sahm as taking a break from my career, but of my career time as something to do while I was waiting to have children. I didn't exactly think of it that way at the time, but I certainly do now.
post #58 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
I have no idea what you mean by stating I "am one of those people."
I didn't say you were "one of those people". I said that your post indicated that you were. I'll admit I probably worded it badly. Your comment about "accomplishing a lot, then becoming a mother" absolutely reeked, to me, of the same "women's work doesn't count" atttitude that turns my stomach. I did mention that you probably didn't mean it that way (I can't imagine anyone posting here who would mean it that way). I quoted you because those words gave structure to one of the issues I've always had with most feminists I've met.

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I judge not you and I am not sure why you are judging me. If you do not want to label yourself, that is your choice. But don't judge me when you do not know me and are not sure what I am stating. Stand up for who and what you are. Don't let anything I say put you on the defensive, particularly when it is not even about you.
I'm not on the defensive. As I said, your post read to me as the elitist brand of feminism that I can't stand, and have run into all too often in my life. And, of course I was judging you (badly) from your post - you're doing the same, by suggesting that I'm defensive. We all do that online...it's the major flaw of internet communication.

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That being said, if it were not for feminism, you would not even be able to entertain the idea that being "accomplished" meant anything other than financial and political power, in the male sense of the words.
Of course I would. I may, or may not, believe that it meant less than male accomplishments, but women have always felt that they were "accomplished" in various things, be they embroidery, sewing, quilt-making, music (as you mentioned above), cooking, etc. As I'm a complete write-off at most of the domestic arts, I'm far more impressed by a good seamstress than I am by a college degree or a high-paying job.

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Once again, I bring up the book America's Women: 400 years of dolls, drudges, helpmates, and heroines by Gail Collins. Seriously, anyone, particularly any woman, who casts any doubts on the impotance feminism has played in your life needs to do some reading. There is absolutely no way that there does not exist a woman today who's life has not been made better by feminism. We are all in better places today than our greatgrandmothers and we have feminists to thank for that.
Actually...my great-grandmother couldn't have cared less about leaving her home to work, and today she'd probably have had to, as her husband wasn't well educated, and probably couldn't have supported them in a modern economy. She was a very accomplished woman - a great mother, an unbelievably good cook, talented seamstress, etc. I doubt she'd have found a lot of improvements.

However, that aside, I agree that things are better than they were in many ways because of feminism. I also feel that it's a mixed blessing (there are many women now who have to WOH, instead of having to SAH, because one income won't cut it), and that a lot of it would have happened because of technological improvements, anyway.

I hope dd knows that she can be whatever she wants when she grows up. I hope both my boys know the same thing. That doesn't mean dd won't choose to be a homemaker (I did, and I always knew I could do whatever I wanted). I don't think feminism is incompatible with motherhood, but I do think some forms of it are.
post #59 of 160
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride
women have always felt that they were "accomplished" in various things, be they embroidery, sewing, quilt-making, music (as you mentioned above), cooking, etc. As I'm a complete write-off at most of the domestic arts, I'm far more impressed by a good seamstress than I am by a college degree or a high-paying job.
I am also quite impressed by anyone who can sew well. But, there was a time when women were not allowed to do anything else. They were not taught anything academic at all, they were forbidden to own property, to have custody of their children, to make money, to sell anything on their own. It is all well and good to say that women were most likely proud of their accomplishments but those accomplishments were severely limited.

I don't think it really matters what I did before I became a mother or why. I did what I did and I accomplished what I wanted to and now I am a mother and proud of it. If you went a different route, so be it.

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Your comment about "accomplishing a lot, then becoming a mother" absolutely reeked, to me, of the same "women's work doesn't count" atttitude that turns my stomach.
I never stated this nor implied it nor does it come close to stating anything about my life. It is very sad that you think this poorly of women who have made different choices than you.
post #60 of 160
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Originally Posted by boongirl
I never stated this nor implied it nor does it come close to stating anything about my life. It is very sad that you think this poorly of women who have made different choices than you.
I don't. I simply misunderstood what you wrote. I have had multiple women who call themselves feminists get on my case about "wasting my brain" because I didn't choose a post-secondary education. I had a woman I worked with go to my boss and and ask her to talk me out of getting married the first time, because I was "too young and too smart to waste my life like that". (She was right that it was a mistake, but not because I was young. It was a mistake, because he was an irresponsible, deceptive jerk, who ended up a drug addict.) As you say, we all base our reactions on our experiences. If you don't think the same way as the women I'm referring to above, I'm very happy to hear it. I've simply had very bad experiences with feminists who think they have the right to tell me how to live, simply because I'm intelligent.

I'm glad that men in our culture don't have the same power to dictate to women that they used to have. But, that doesn't mean that I think other women should have that power, and I've certainly met a fair number who think otherwise.

I also see the issue as being a lot more complicated than "women had no power then, and have some now". My dh doesn't have the power to choose to stay home, and if we didn't need money, that's exactly what he'd be doing. Yes - he has more economic power than me, but he'd have been very happy to stay home with the kids while I went to work.
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