What Effect Has Feminism Had on Family? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 94 Old 02-28-2002, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am starting a new thread to continue our discussion/debate about the effects that feminism, the sexual revolution, etc. have had on the family. This is really just my opinion, supported with whatever research I have come across, and my own observations in my own life as well as society in general. I welcome any and all opinions on the subject.

My contentions are:
* Putting massive numbers of children in daycare has resulted in many social problems. Children really need (preferably, IMHO) their mother or another trusted, reliable, consistant caregiver to give them lots of love and attention. No one cares for a child quite as well as his/her mother, I think.
* While adding women to the workforce has resulted in greater financial independence for women, more career choices for women, the ability to postpone (or avoid altogether) childbearing until the woman has established her career, a higher standard of living, etc., it has also created the following difficulties: the higher standard of living can make it much more difficult for the family to make the "sacrifices" which enable a mother to stay at home to raise her family. Because we "made room" for women in the workforce, the overall earning power of men has decreased, making it extremely difficult for a family to survive on one income alone. Our society has failed to meet the need for quality daycare for all children.
* The sexual revolution lead to more women having premarital sex than ever before. Men, not women, seem to have benefited the most from this. This had damaging effects on the family because the greater availability of sex made it easier for your average husband to cheat on his wife. Just take a look at our divorce rates. (When I first heard this, I nearly died! I consider myself a feminist and I found this appalling. Well, someone thought it was significant enough to write a book about it called, "What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us." I need to check w/ a friend for the author, will get back w/ that info.)
* Now that women are frequently employed for pay outside the home, it has made the occupation of housewife, or the PC version homemaker, even less desirable and appreciated. How many times have you received that blank stare when you answer the question, "So, what do you DO?" with, "I'm a [whatever you call yourself to describe the hundreds of things you DO in any given day]." ?????? Or the condescending, "Oh, how nice." [end of conversation - how could your "work" possibly merit further discussion...]

I can't really think of anything else right now. I'll pass the ball on to someone else. I look forward to reading what others think.

Let me say again that I support every woman's right for freedom and self-determination. I just feel that society has perpetuated a selfishness in women and has encouraged women to value their careers over their families. I believe this has had and continues to have devastating consequences for our families as well as our society as a whole.
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#2 of 94 Old 02-28-2002, 11:19 PM
 
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I agree paula. I also think it has caused a divide between women as well. We begin to beleive that our way is the only way. If we work outside the home we feel defensive and lash out at SAHM's and tell them they're boring and unfullfilled. If we stay at home we get defensive and lash out too. Calling WOHM's selfish, and less than perfect mother's. Mean while the men are laughing all the way to the bank!!!
The women's movement was supposed to make it possible for women to have choices, instead it made us believe we should have it all. We should have meaningful careers, well cared for children, beautiful homes, independence and an interesting love life. No wonder we are tired and confused and lashing out at each other.
Iam in no way saying that we should remain barefoot and pregnant, but I think we are deluding ourselves if we think that nothing suffers when we "have it all"

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#3 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 01:08 AM
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Capitalism has a much greater influence on drawing women outside the home than does feminism. Feminism is a force that in part protects the rights of women both in and outside the home. I find these perspectives worthy but very middle class. I will do some research. I find it rather presumtuous of you to assume that most American women work because they WANT too. And what do you make of the welfare system being designed to force single mothers back to work, thus forcing their children into daycare?

And so if they WANT to work, if they have an intriguing career that moves and shakes and shapes the world we live in? What do you make of the many Christian women ministers and charity workers that spend countless hours outside the home?

What are you saying about the fantastic working mothers who work for the AP related field, like women who work for say, Mothering Magazine???

Not every working mother is by proxy non-AP. Most are. Again, this is more a reflection on SOCIETY and its influences on us than on feminism. Nearly every last feminist I know is a breastfeeding co-sleeping non-vaxing baby-slinging freak like me. Even if she DOES work.

What does this thread say to the working mothers here, members of this community? That they are LESS than us that stay home? I stay home. I love it. But I am a feminist!!!

Again, I do not believe it is FEMINISM that is leading to the demise of our ability to properly nurture our young but indeed a capitilistic society that values product over people. Think about it for me.
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#4 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 01:40 AM
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Now that women are frequently employed for pay outside the home, it has made the occupation of housewife, or the PC version homemaker, even less desirable and appreciated. How many times have you received that blank stare when you answer the question, "So, what do you DO?" with, "I'm a [whatever you call yourself to describe the hundreds of things you DO in any given day]." ?????? Or the condescending, "Oh, how nice." [end of conversation - how could your "work" possibly merit further discussion...]
In all respect, I find THIS attitude condescending. No, working women are not always at home all day. Some are not home all night, though, working night shifts so they can be home w their kids in the day. And MANY women come home to face all the tasks of housekeeping and childrearing that WE SAHMS have ALL DAY to get done. I find it very competitive and discerning that you would imply that only SAHMS have SAHM responsibility. Again, this shows that you are assuming that the female work force is entirely middle and upper middle class when indeed, nothing could be farther from the truth.

THis is not a personal attack on you Paula Bear, or NM, or Peggy, in the least. It is simply a matter of challenging your statement. I feel VERY strongly about this issue and may come across kinda like a bull in a china shop but PLEASE know I am not attacking you personally.
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#5 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 01:45 AM
 
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mamapie,
You are proving my point. You are taking this as a SAHM vs WOHM issue. It is not. I was saying We All suffer.
Yes, Capitalism has many negative effects on society, but we were not talking about that. We were talking about the effects of feminism.

I believe women should be treated equal. I believe they should be paid equally. I believe they should have all the choices available to them as men do. I do not how ever believe they should buy into the "Bring Home the Bacon..Fry it Up in A Pan" mentality. It puts all the responsibilty on women and none on men.
Feminism meant to make us equal..it fell short.

Feminism is middle class. Do you think the lower income single Mom's feel feminisn has rescued them from anything?

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#6 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally posted by mamapie
Capitalism has a much greater influence on drawing women outside the home than does feminism. <snip> I find it rather presumtuous of you to assume that most American women work because they WANT to. And what do you make of the welfare system being designed to force single mothers back to work, thus forcing their children into daycare?
Very good points. Did you read my comments in the other thread, Nurturing Magazine? I did not say that most women work because they want to. I mentioned that since women entered the workforce en masse, the average wage has actually gone down (after factoring in inflation) and most households have little choice but to send kids to daycare so that both parents can contribute toward keeping the family afloat. I agree that the so-called welfare reform does not adequately deal with the importance of the mother-child bond, but (go ahead and slam me for this one) I can see where politically these programs are popular because if middle class moms need to go out and work (and pay taxes...) to help support their families, why should poor women get to stay at home?

Quote:
And so if they WANT to work, if they have an intriguing career that moves and shakes and shapes the world we live in? What do you make of the many Christian women ministers and charity workers that spend countless hours outside the home?

What are you saying about the fantastic working mothers who work for the AP related field, like women who work for say, Mothering Magazine???
I am not judging individual women who choose or must return to work. I value every woman's right to choose what best fits her situation. A woman with passion certainly has the right to pursue her calling. I never judged any woman as bad for leaving her kids to go out and work. However, in many of the occupations you gave as examples above, one could do these activities with children around at least part of the time. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but isn't Mothering one of the top ten child-friendly workplaces in this country?

I still believe that it is possible to follow one's calling without having to spend 50+ hours a week away from one's children, especially when they are young. Our careers will be there when our children outgrow the need for our undivided attention, but lost childhoods cannot be recaptured. My contention is that in the past 30+ years, motherhood has been downgraded to an occupation that can be adequately performed by a basically untrained worker receiving little more than minimum wage. And personally, I think our children are worth more than that and I think that the mothers who are in the postion to do so and choose to stay at home with their children are doing their families and society a great service.

Quote:
What does this thread say to the working mothers here, members of this community? That they are LESS than us that stay home? I stay home. I love it. But I am a feminist!!!
I never said or infered that. Where did you get that idea? I feel very fortunate that my husband supports and encourages me in our decision for me to stay at home. I feel grateful that he is able to provide for us without necessitating my early return to paid employment. I also consider myself a feminist.

Quote:
Again, I do not believe it is FEMINISM that is leading to the demise of our ability to properly nurture our young but indeed a capitilistic society that values product over people. Think about it for me.
This is a very valid point that I had not previously considered. However, this country was built on the foundations of capitalism, but it is only in the past few decades that so many women throughout society (meaning all socio-economic classes) have left the home to pursue paid employment outside the home. Whether this is a result of capitalism, feminism, or whatever, what I would like to discuss is the ramifications of this phenomenon (sp?) and how it has had an impact on the family unit (micro) and society as a whole (macro).

I expect that yours will not be the last adversarial response. I just feel that no one wants to take a serious look at these issues. It seems to me that society is in complete denial that growing up without the benefit of a mother readily available to him/her does, in fact, have a negative impact on a child a great percentage of the time. I do not mean to pass judgement on any one in particular, I am speaking in general. I do not think that women should remain at home, or that women who work are "bad." But no matter what the reasons behind a woman leaving her child in someone else's care for a large percentage of his/her waking ours, and no matter how high the quality of the daycare, this DOES have an adverse effect on a child. Just my opinion.
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#7 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 01:24 PM
 
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I would just like to say that feminism offers far more choices than limitations. Working-class women have ALWAYS held jobs. They paid less than men's jobs, and many jobs were unavailable to women. Providing more women the option of working EXPANDS their options, and even if their families choose to put their children in day care and that is seen as a negative consequence, the alternative situation [limited choices for women] is far worse.

I think that living in a society where gender is not as important a definer of roles is a net gain, even if it does mean more kids are in day care. [And yes, I feel strongly about parents raising their own children, but that's another thread.]

I also have noticed that no one in this thread has mentioned the ability of a FATHER to care for his children while their mother works- why do so many people believe the only choice is between mom working and day care? A logical extension of most branches of feminism is allowing BOTH sexes to take on roles once dnied to them.
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#8 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 01:34 PM
 
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That is exactly why I said feminism has fallen short. Until men also see staying home and caring for their children as an actual option, we are still left to do everything. Until staying home and caring for your own children is seen as a valuable contribution to society by both sexes..we can't truly make any progress as women or a society.

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#9 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 02:39 PM
 
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Feminism is about a lot more than career choices. Early feminists fought because women could not vote, own property, seek a divorce, or do anything without the permission of a husband or father.

The way we birth is a feminist issue. Paternalistic, mostly male OBs want women to be submissive and obedient during childbirth. They sedate us with drugs and use interventions we don't want. When you demand the birth you want, you are a feminist.

Choosing to breastfeed is a feminist action. It says "I am proud of my woman's body. I am capable of nourishing my child." When you breastfeed, you reject society's conventions that women must be modestly covered at all times and that breasts are the sex toys of men. When you breastfeed, you reject the male invented chemical breastmild substitutes.

I consider myself a feminist because of these issues. I agree with Peggy that modern feminism has pitted SAHMs and WOHMs against eachother. I hate it that my choice gets so little respect. It is mainly men who respect that I am a SAHM and women who make insulting and condescending comments.
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#10 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 05:05 PM
 
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It seems to me that we had a thread very similar to this not long ago that turned into quite a heated debate and turned very adversarial (sp?). At the time I was advocating for mothers to support each other no matter what their choices were, SAHM, WAHM, or WOHM. We are all (at least I think so here at this board) doing what we think is best for our own families.

I am a teacher and though I work about a 40 hour week, I do have about 4 weeks off during the school year (Thanksgiving, winter break, spring break, and those "banking" holidays). I also have about 10 weeks off in the summer. I do have to continue my education during these breaks in order to recertify and keep current but this does allow me more family time than most working full time moms. I know that many other working full time moms have it really hard.

I agree with mamapie that many working women do both jobs. I know I do. My dh works many more hours than I do so the meal planning, food purchasing, cooking and cleaning as well as taking care of the baby until he gets home falls on me. I think about how much harder that would be if I didn't get home until after 5 pm every night.

Even though I know that I work because I have to, many SAHMs on the previous thread have been quite critical of my "choice". Many replies were centered around the issue that I really didn't "have" to work if I would just make some sacrifices that they had made. I still believe and want to make the point that no one knows another's circumstances well enough to make that judgement. I could just as easily pass judgement on others here who are SAHMs but constantly complain about their dh's! I certainly hear a lot of that!

That is why I advocate so adamantly for support of each other as mothers. I think everyone here is doing the best job they know how to do with the resources that they have.
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#11 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 05:32 PM
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Donna is right on. You claim that I am turning this into a working mom vs. SAHM issue but you guys are the ones w the issues about working mothers children and no advice on how to amend the economy so fewer women have to work. I will reply more later as i am not feeling well now.
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#12 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by dfoy
That is why I advocate so adamantly for support of each other as mothers. I think everyone here is doing the best job they know how to do with the resources that they have.
I agree wholeheartedly. I didn't start this thread to insult anyone or judge anyone's choices. What I really wanted to discuss is that in the past 40 or so years, more women than ever from all walks of life have sought paid work outside the home. Now whether this is a result of feminism or other factors, what I would like to focus on is, how has this effected the family unit?

I do not want us to go back to the way things were. But I think that we as women and as a society could make some improvements to the way things stand at present. What started out as a choice has become, sadly enough, a necessity for many families. Average wages have not kept pace with the rise in the cost of living, and many couples simply could not manage on one income. Factor in the high divorce rate and all the single moms trying so hard to make ends meet, and we have a great number of children being raised by other caregivers. I would like us to take an honest look at that, without pointing fingers, assigning blame, or trying to make anyone feel guilty. I just feel that we cannot move ahead and forge new solutions until we are willing to at least recognize the problem.

I also agree that fathers are wonderful caregivers. Peggy made a valid point too, that until that is seriously considered as a viable option, we haven't reached a true eqality.

I also want to point out that women working outside the home still perform most of the traditional tasks assigned to "our sex" such as tending to the children, keeping the laundry from piling up, putting the meals on the table and cleaning up afterward, cleaning the house, etc. Men have taken on much more than they did before, but I think women still carry more than their fair share. We wanted the best of both worlds, but to me it seems that we were given more than one person can handle without getting burned out. JMHO. I don't know how working women manage - I really do admire them. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed as a SAHM.

I would like us to help each other with this issue. Please, let's not let this turn into us against them - there is only US! But if we can't talk about these things, how can we create solutions that work for everyone?

I also want to say that perhaps I worded my original question inappropriately. I do not mean to attack feminism. I just couldn't come up with a more suitable term to describe the changes that have taken place in our society. I think that the benefits greatly outweigh any negative consequences, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take steps to improve the situation if we can.

One of the improvements I feel is necessary is a stronger family leave policy. We will probably never acheive what they have in Sweden, because our birth rate hasn't declined too much. We have to demand that our government respect the importance of families and concentrate more resources to help us. Someone already mentioned how our tax code discriminates against the family. I think that each parent should have at least some paid leave after having or adopting a child. When I moved back to PA from NJ, I was appalled to learn that State Disability does not cover pregnancy and the early postpartum period. People here only get paid leave if their company provides it!

Anyway, I am very open minded (sometimes to the point of being wishy-washy, I think) and willing to consider other points of view and any solutions brought to the table. I just ask others whose first impulse is to react to try to see things from a different perspective and respect other opinions here.

Thanks,
Paula
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#13 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 05:57 PM
 
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daylily, you are my hero. The wind beneath my wings. A candle in the wind. I could go on and on. Thank you for saying all that so well!

srain also makes the point that I think needs to be the next wave of feminism; true equality. We need to stop holding men to different standards than we do ourselves. We need to empower everyone to make good choices for themselves.

Feminism is not about jobs, at least it is not just about jobs. It is about the myriad ways that women are marginalized or discounted by our society and what has been done and still needs doing to remedy those ills. Like the fact that men are used as the 'medical norm' so many medications that women need have not been adequately studied for their different effects on womens bodies. Like the fact that women caring for young children alone are the largest and fastest growing catagory of people living in poverty. Like the fact that 'no fault divorce' was supposed to help women get out of bad and dangerous marriages and has, instead, made it easier for men to shed their families like a snake shedding it's skin, leaving them in poverty while he goes merrily on his way. THESE are feminist issues and I can't see how addressing them can do anything but improve the family life of everyone involved.

Edited to say: While I was typing the above a bunch of stuff got posted. Maybe we need to ditch this thread and start a new one with a better statement of intent. Maybe one that leaves the word "feminism" out of it.
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#14 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kama'aina mama
Maybe we need to ditch this thread and start a new one with a better statement of intent. Maybe one that leaves the word "feminism" out of it.
Good idea. I started the thread, can I edit it to change the title? Do you have any suggestions? See, I told you I'm open-minded, LOL!
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#15 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 06:13 PM
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The book was written by Danielle Crittenden. She made some valid points in her book, but one of her main theories was that women should get married at a young age before they start a career, have kids and stay home, then when the children were older go to work. Well, I don't know how getting married younger is going to help with all the problems discussed on this thread. For one thing that is when a husband is going to make the least amount of money. That is what women of my mother's generation did and many of them ended up divorced in mid-life without a career to fall back on.

I have been a part-time working mother, a work-at-home mother, a full-time working mother, and a stay-at-home mom at different times during my almost 18 years as a mom. All these situations had advantages and disadvantage, but being a full-time working mother was very hard for me. Other people are energized by working full-time and may be better mothers because of it. Let's support each other in our choices, the so-called "mommy wars" have been going on since I can remember and we don't seem to be getting past the insults and judgments. Also like me, many of us do not stay in the same situation during our whole mothering career, no matter how we had it all planned.

If anyone wants the book mentioned above, PM me and I will be happy to send it to you.
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#16 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 06:28 PM
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Paula, the subject line of this thread is "What Effect Has Feminism Had On The Family?" Yet you want me to overlook the fact that we disagree on the REASON women are seeking work outisde the home to discuss the effects of it?

Maybe a few women of my generation work outside the home because of feminism. More likely they learned from the mistakes of their mothers and realize that feminism is more than proving you can do everything a man can do and more. It is really about being the best you can be as a woman. THis includes being a mother.

Does anyone here crunch numbers well? I truly believe that it is inflation that is drawing women outside the home to work. I think the non-feminist SAHM's attitude is that working moms are all attorneys and journalists and that their biggest concern in life is messing their hairdo when they bump it on the glass ceiling.

In reality most working moms work as office help, factory workers, retail workers, maids, bus drivers, etc and their biggest concern is getting DINNER on the table and paying the rent.

In the original posts by the first few posters on this thread there was the implication that working moms are judgemental of SAHMs and while this is true I actually find that SAHMs are much more judgemental blaming all the ills of society on families that are unconventional and on working moms. Sorry, that is how I see your views and to me calling feminists and working moms judgemental is the pot calling the kettle black.

Feminism DID NOT FALL SHORT OF MAKING US EQUAL. It has a long way to go. If you think it is the wrong way, do you have any suggestions? Feminism is responsible for a lot more than Ms. magazind and the Gloria Steinem is no longer her voice.

Feminists are out there fighting for worker protection, for equal oppurtunity, for providing birth control to those who need it and more. The working class women I know are not opposed to it and its ideas, but are opposed to say someone like Pat Robertson and HIS ideas.



Quote:
Of course many many women to not wish to work, but many are forced to because the main breadwinner is not around and many single women are keeping their out-of-wed-lock children, thus having to support them. Our particular state automatically takes the child support out of the fathers paycheck to give to the mother if she has sole custody. I think that is a good idea, but all this has contributed an effect of the family.
NM did you know that the average welfare mom is a divorced mother of two children? That most working mothers do not HAVE out of wedlock children? Most working moms are MARRIED. Where do you think the "main breadwinner" went? I think that frequently he is an abusive fool out spending all the money on strippers and booze.
And I have no idea what automatically deducted child support has to do w the demise of the american family. And I hate to tell you but I truly believe that alternative families are as viable as the nuclear family.

If you want to discuss the effects of two income families on the children of America fine. Do it. But start a new thread that is not so anti feminism if you want me to join in the convo.
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#17 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 06:30 PM
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Just saw your post up there. However, the implications are really getting to me and I am stepping out of this conversation,
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#18 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 06:42 PM
 
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I was really hoping we could actually discuss feminism.This issue is so much more than SAHM and WOHM
I keep pointing out that for us to keep fighting over which is best is ridiculous.
Has anyone actually read what I said? Or do you just assume you know what I'm saying after the first line? I'm not against feminism in it's true form. I just feel the point was lost somewhere. Feminism needs to be re-thought and revived. Maybe I am coming from a different place than some of you. I was a teen in the 70's, bra burning and "you've come a long way baby" is what I grew up with. Everything I read back then made me feel to be a true feminist you had to hate men, never get married, never act feminine, never be tied to children etc. I agree some things have been accomplished. We do have many more oppurtunities, but so many things haven''t..We have such a long way to go...

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#19 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 06:47 PM
 
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i am a stay home mom
by choice

but i see NOTHING wrong with daycare at alllllll.

it teaches kids to share...and to get along...and to follow directions...and to engage in play with other children...teaches them how to behave in a group.

my mom is 65 years old and her mother always worked.

i dont think it is any "new thing" for mothers to work


i believe women are Individuals! first and foremost!

we are human and we have rights to our own lives
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#20 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 06:55 PM
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Peggy, we appear to agree on this. If a new thread is opened I would love to discuss this with you.

sleepies you are right... women have always worked. My grandma had too because they were so very poor.

However daycare in the long run is not alright. Kids need their families. Ideally we could bring our kids to work in slings when they are little provided we do not work around dangerous stuff.
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#21 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 07:08 PM
 
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Regarding economic factors that force mothers into the workforce: I often hear it said that it's impossible for a one income family to own a house or to raise children. I'm not good at crunching numbers, but one of my heros is Amy Dacyzn of Tightwad Gazette fame. She wanted to be a SAHM and she wanted a houseful of kids and she achieved this even though her husband was in the military on a modest income. The media tells us we "need" new cars, big suburban houses, Pop Tarts, fast food, expensive gadgets and toys. Some people buy into this and think they can't make ends meet on one income.

I'm not trying to discount all the hardworking families who really need 2 incomes. I'm just saying that the primary breadwinner doesn't have to be a doctor or a CEO in order to have a spouse stay home.

Back to feminism: by and large the feminist movement has helped all of us. I confess, I used to be a little judgemental about some working moms. (Not all of them.) After reading "The Price of Motherhood" by Anne Crittenden, I realized that we are ALL in the same boat and should be supporting eachother not judging eachother. Ms. Crittenden herself seems to certainly be a feminist, yet she expresses frustration with certain feminist organizations for failing to offer support for mothers' issues.
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#22 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 07:32 PM
 
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at least!

One is probably "Feminism: What has it accomplished, where has it fallen short and where should it be going?"

The other is along the lines of, "Our children desrve to be raised by their parents (or another close family member who cares for them out of love, not financial interest). What can we do to help more kids in our society get what they desrve?"
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#23 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 07:51 PM
 
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I agree that the name of the thread should be changed in one way or another, but still, there are things that I need to go ahead and say. I'm just touching on the few things that really stood out to me, but I'm only skimming the surface here....

Peggy wrote:
Quote:
I'm not against feminism in it's true form. I just feel the point was lost somewhere. Feminism needs to be re-thought and revived.
From the first post, I felt like there was an idea that "feminism" was something that could clearly be pointed out, like a Democrat or a Republican. But there is no Grand Council of Feminism; it's not something you can join like a political party. There is no party line.

The effects of feminism on the family can hardly be measured here, because we can't even agree on what feminism is, much less what it means, or what kind of value it has brought to our lives as women. Some women in this thread have posted really terrific ideas about their beliefs as feminists, and the way they define themselves makes it difficult to ascribe the sins cited as those of these feminists. It's never going to be as simple as "Feminism put women in the workplace, harming children", or "Feminism made premarital sex okay (thank GOD!) accounting for infidelity." The last one really got me, in essence it's like saying: "Feminism is responsible for the moral weakness of men." !!??!!

I am a feminist, but I disagree with much of what others who call themselves feminists say. That's fine. No one owns the concept. The one thing "feminists" generally agree on is that women should have all the freedoms and rights that men have. My understanding of feminism includes men, who should have the same rights as women do, for example, more flexible jobs so that they can be truly involved parents.

mamapie wrote:
Quote:
Feminism DID NOT FALL SHORT OF MAKING US EQUAL. It has a long way to go.
Even here we are taking a step in the right direction. Talking about feminism means that we are taking part in the evolution of the concept. We are discussing ways to expand the opportunities for women, regardless of how we see that happening. If feminism drove women into a corporate culture that stripped us of some of what made our lives valuable, maybe it wasn't feminism, but CORPORATE CULTURE that's the problem. My husband, working at a corporate job, was deprived of much of what he needs to have a good life. Time off if his children were sick, paternity leave, more than two weeks vacation...

The good news is that we, as feminists, have the power to change that. Better family policy, more involved husbands (that's one great thing feminism has brought us!) and the CHOICE to have different configurations for combining work and family so that we have real choices about working or not...those are all things in the future of feminism (as I see it!).

By the way, I think childcare can be a very nice *supplement* in a child's life. My kids would have a fit if I tried to pull them out of their very cool Montessori school. They love having their own social circle and community. I do think that some very insulting statements about childcare have been made in this thread, although I feel the same way about much childcare available. But responsible, involved parents find rewarding alternatives for their children, no matter what configuration they choose in order to do so.
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#24 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 08:18 PM
 
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I recently found myself saying this in another thread...

I think that saying you are a feminist is like saying you are a doctor
what kind of doctor are you... oncologist, pediatrician, neurosurgeon
you get the idea. Feminism is an umbrella word for lots of things these days,
it's a bigger word than it was in the 60's.

I know some "feminists" that f-feed and go back to work after a 3 week maternity leave and feel that it is something that they have earned. It does have a lot to do with family values and how they are developed.

I know of a feminist single mom who took their kids out to the woods and raised them with pretty much nothing but a farm for sustenance.

I know a woman who works 60+ hrs a week, and is having a terrible time getting pregnant and is trying to adopt a white baby (she's on the list) that she is going to put into daycare, and she wants it all, her career, family, etc. and she calls herself a feminist.

Many strippers consider themselves feminists, because they say they are in control of their experience. And prostitues as well.

My aunt considers herself a feminist. She is on welfare, but living with her father, and learning to be a massage therapist while raising her grandson. She gets odd jobs at the circus, and has all sorts of ways of making under the table money while remaining on public aid. She sees herself as somewhat liberated.

I am not even sure what I am trying to say here, maybe that in order to continue the thread we have to define what kind of feminist we are talking about, because lots of women think that they are feminists, and you certainly don't need a degree to claim to be one!
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#25 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 09:07 PM
 
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As for finding a definition of feminism that appeals to everyone, I think that might be quite difficult.

"Any feminist standpoint will necessarily be partial. Thinking about women may illuminate some aspects of a society that have been previously suppressed within the dominant view. But none of us can speak for "woman" because no such person exists except within a specific set of (already gendered) relations - to "man" and to many concrete and different women." from Postmodernism and Gender Relations in Feminist Theory by Jane Flax, 1990.

Self-efficacy & voice....to me that is the most important part of feminism whether yesterday, today or tomorrow.

I was a teenager in the "you've come a long way, baby" 70's as well, Peggy, and in no way did I come away from the women's lib movement thinking that I could not be a feminist if I didn't hate men. I have no idea, Peggy, how you came away with such a different view than I did. Perhaps your upbringing was quite different than mine?

My mom was a concert violinist, taught violin lessons & directed a church choir. Not your traditional working mom, but worked nontheless. She and my dad were true partners (he was a minister and an accountant). She had the choice to do something she loved. That is what I saw the movement advocating for. As an aside, she did complain, however, that the men in the philharmonic were paid more than she was. And she was 1st chair violin.
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#26 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 09:20 PM
 
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Because you did not come away with that view does it make my view any less relevant?

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#27 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 09:59 PM
 
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I agree with the opinion stated above that it is capitalism, not feminism, that has forced more women to work outside the home. The economic reality of life in 21st century America is that it generally requires two incomes to provide for most families. It is an unfortunate fact of life that one income is no longer sufficient to sustain an average family.

I think the ideal situation is for one parent to work, either the mother or the father, and for one parent to stay at home, to raise the children. It isn't right for our children to be raised by strangers. When my DW did home daycare (so that she could stay home with our children), the children that she took care of liked her better than their own parents. That is not normal.

I get to be a SAHD for the first time in many years. I'm getting to spend more time with my kids than I have in a long time. I am taking them to and from school, going to basketball practices, etc... I am getting to know the washer and dryer again. It's all a really nice change from being at the office 50+ hours a week. My DW is working part-time now, and she's even getting us insurance. I'm so proud of her.

I'd like to re-visit this subject later. I've gotta go pick up my lady from the office... she's almost done for the day.
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#28 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 10:15 PM
 
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WOW!
What a great thread! How did I miss this one?
There is much that feminism has given to us -- however I do beleive that it has been in many cases taken to an extreme.

There are two relational negatives that I see all the time -- from my work in the south side of Chicago to my highly WASPY church now.
One is that some women in an attempt to be equal have thought it ment same and have taken the worst of men and become like men. YUCK. Being assertive has been confused with agression. The other part of this (and I see it alot with women in my own profession) is the fear of appearing "girly". I finally gave this one up. I admit to the men that I think and speak differntly than they do. (The Venus and Mars book helped me alot in this) But never let it be said that just becasue I come at the situtation from a womanly point doesn't mean it is less, just different.

Second -- feminism has casued and allowed men to go to thier caves, giving women even more work and responsiblity.

As to working by choice or need -- both exist. But according the a report I just read based upon the 2000 cenus, the vast majority of double income couples could live on one wage. We just think we NEED alot more than we really do. The report didn't say that they just showed the average wage needed in various locations and then showed income levels of individuals.

One of the worst traps we get into is not being able to take time off to raise a family and then go back to work. That's why I work part time, but I am lucky I have a job where I just take my children with me. That's who I am -- Mom first, minister second. I had another women clergy tell me I was putting the "casue" back 70 years always putting my children first. Can you imagine!
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#29 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 10:54 PM
 
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Peggy, I didn't say nor did I mean to imply that your view was any less (or more) relevant than mine. Only surprised that it was so different. Did you read what else I said? Like that voice was an important element of feminism? Everyone's voice. Including your's and mine. And I am also the one striving for advocating mothers as a whole and supporting them. Not tearing each other down.
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#30 of 94 Old 03-01-2002, 10:59 PM
 
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Sorry Donna,
I was feeling like I was not being heard and it was frustrating.
I feel like people are begining to see me as against feminism, and as I keep repeating, that is not the case.

reverendmother, I liked what you said.

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