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#61 of 131 Old 03-17-2006, 09:57 PM
 
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Of course I am a feminist. I've got an education, I have proven myself in the workforce for some time and earned my keep, my last job came with a nice title so I drop that whenever somebody seems to be looking down on me/my choice (maybe that's childish...). Me staying home is a privilege thanks to my DH. Yes, I miss adult talk at times (and I still missed DS first steps due to him being babysat while we moved that day! Couldn't he have chosen a better day to walk???)

But feminism is more a choice of attitude I think than "choosing a career". It's more of how you look at yourself, your thoughts, your feeling good about yourself/choices/best for family. If anybody thinks that I am the little wife cleaning the house, doing laundry (oops, still in the dryer from yesterday) and cooking, well, think again. I have a brain which I use, I have opinions different than my husband/parents/peers/whatever. And I can earn my keep (seems to be important to me). I have done things all by myself (lived on two different continents in four countries). So, I am a pretty independent spirit.
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#62 of 131 Old 03-18-2006, 02:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyMine
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?
There is a wage disparity and there are other more complex problems that have been mentioned- jobs that are dominated by women are generally paid less, for example. Ideally, if there were a paradigm shift, then people would have the option to work fewer hours and not neglect their families. That's why logic like Hirschman's is faulty, because it isn't about changing the way we approach this problem, it's just abotu adopting the male model of working, and not questioning what that means and whether or not that is the better way to go.

Also, you or someone mentioned not putting up with crap from your dh. Well some women have to because they're financially dependent on them, can't get back into their old job, and have difficulty getting back into the workforce b/c the time they took off is counted against them. That is what needs to change.

I find it sad that you value what you do at home, and yet think it's okay to essenstially be punished should you need to return, by returning at a lower wage and not having earned any social security credits during that time. (I'd suggest reading Ann Crittenden's The Price of Motherhood.) And it's not likely your "sisters" that have stayed on at the firm while you took time off. It's mostly men whose wives are making the same sacrifices. There's a reason that single mothers and children make up the largest group of poverty stricken people in America and that the biggest predicting factor of poverty for a women in old age is whether or not she's a mother. That's just not right. And no one will change it but people lobbying for women's rights.
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#63 of 131 Old 03-18-2006, 04:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Hazelnut
Also, you or someone mentioned not putting up with crap from your dh. Well some women have to because they're financially dependent on them, can't get back into their old job, and have difficulty getting back into the workforce b/c the time they took off is counted against them. That is what needs to change.
I said I don't put up with crap from my DH, and yes, I agree with you fully, that society needs to help those mommies and babies when the husbands are deadbeats. It's tragic how many mothers stay in abusive relationships because they don't know how they will take care of themselves or feed their babies, and the idea of alimony and child support has proven itself ineffective and largely unenforceable.

However, I am simply referring to women demanding respect. My husband doesn't want a divorce, but like most people, he will see how much he can get away with before there are problems. If I don't ask that something change, it gets worse and worse until I do. That is why it sometimes doesn't work to simply try to be more patient and understanding - that sometimes sends a signal to the other person that you don't care about what they are or are not doing, so there's no need to do anything differently. It's not that he's being purposefully malicious, but wouldn't we all love it if the other person was the only one who empties the litter box and scrubs the toilet?

But most of us women are brought up to serve thers and think of others first - think of that book Fascinating Womanhood - if you want to get really angry one day, read that book. That book says we're all bad women if we don't dress up for our husbands and keep the house spotless and if we fail to be cheery and accomodating than our husbands will understandably look for it elsewhere. So, if our husbands lose their temper because dinner isn't ready, or tell us we don't need to worry our pretty little heads over how much money we have in savings, or tell us we owe them sex because they worked hard all day for us, we endure it because we've been taught that we can fix anything with kindness, and it is selfish and wrong to think of our own needs.

But I didn't get married to be just a housewife - I married my best friend so I could have a partner and confidante, and we treat each other like friends, and if one of us decides that the other should simply put up with us because of unconditional love, we call each other on it. I can be just as lazy and snippy, but he is no more willing to put up with that from me than I am from him.

Though the truth is, I will be homeless before I ever let someone abuse me again. I would rather have my baby on welfare than subject him to constantly fighting parents. I think children need peace and gentleness at home more than they need a nice house. That of course is my conclusion based on my own traumatic experiences.

So, as we try to redefine feminism and address what issues need to be changed, I would like to see more being done to help women learn to recognize when they are being taken for advantage, and how to recognize the subtleties of emotional abuse and controlling behavior, and what resources are already there if it's time to give a partner the boot, and I'd like to see more being done to help mommies and their children when they are abandonned or exploited by fathers. I'd like to see our young people getting more training in interpersonal relationships and communication and cooperation. And more programs to train up boys on how to treat girls and both genders on how to treat children. Maybe then divorce rates wouldn't be so high and less women would be killed by their partners and less babies would be permently brain damaged by shaken baby syndrome.

Ah, to dream. and babble. Sorry about the babbling, I'm thinking out loud.
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#64 of 131 Old 03-18-2006, 04:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyMine
we do choose less dangerous jobs (that pay less).
Pink collar jobs are not necessarily less physically demanding or dangerous than blue collar jobs. I've worked in a factory-type setting and as a waitress, and waitressing was as physically draining (just less pay and less stable pay and no benefits). If you waitress in a place without a smoking ban, you are being exposed to dangerous levels of second-hand smoke that, over a career, WILL cause lung cancer.
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#65 of 131 Old 03-18-2006, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Hazelnut

I find it sad that you value what you do at home, and yet think it's okay to essenstially be punished should you need to return, by returning at a lower wage and not having earned any social security credits during that time.
I actually do support ss being paid for sahm but I am not sure who would pay it...I mean I am not anxious to pay those taxes myself. I can't think of who else wants to pay them. Pie in the sky I would like our country to pay them since I think our country benifits from having children with sahm. But I don't see that happening.

I don't think that me not being paid the same as someone whe didn't leave is "punishing" I think that is fair. Say I left my career at $10,000 a year and my co- worker who stayed on now makes $12,000 should I get to come back at $12,000? I don't think so. That would devalue the years that my coworker put in while I was home. Do I think I should come back at $9,000? Well maybe, it depends on the sector. In computers 2 years off work would mean I was way, way behind the times so yeah I think my salary should reflect that I am not as qualified as a recent grad who is current. If I was current despite my time off (taking time to educate myself) then I would think it was unfair to be paid less.

I think sometime we women are demanding really special treatment when we demand that we be brought back at $12k even though we took time off. THat isn't fair to those who stayed and there are a lot of women as well as men who do stay and frankly if I stay home it is my dh who is one of the "men" at the office so I need those men to be making money.
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#66 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 02:12 AM
 
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I just don't think removing obstacles to women reentering the workforce in a fair manner is about "special privileges." I think it's fair. Right now so much is unfair, that it just gets me upset when people talk about not granting special privileges, as if the status quo is somehow equitable. And it's not.
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#67 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 02:19 AM
 
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jeez.
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#68 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 02:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hazelnut
I just don't think removing obstacles to women reentering the workforce in a fair manner is about "special privileges." I think it's fair. Right now so much is unfair, that it just gets me upset when people talk about not granting special privileges, as if the status quo is somehow equitable. And it's not.

yeah, not to mention the fact that parenting* is important economic work. After all, if we don't make the "personal choice" to parent children, then who is going to keep this econmoy going for future generations, and for ourselves as we age? I know when I'm eighty years old, I'll need a doctor, a plumber, a hair stylist, someone to ring up my order at the grocery store. Parenting is NOT about personal fulfillment. It is valuable (as opposed to "priceless" which is a word that is often used to describe nurturing/caretaking that women do without compensation) and should be counted as much as any public sector contribution, in economic terms.

So I think it is about freedom to move in and out of the public sector as well as having contributions made in the caretaking roles count as real work. And that would extend to include a higher status for the women and men who are in the profession of caretaking, whether it be for the young or old, or others. We don't bat an eye at paying fifty dollars an hour for someone to fix our car, or twenty dollars an hour for someone to install hardwood flooring, but when I made twelve dollars an hour as a toddler daycare worker, the United Way suspended it's contributions to our organization, citing fiscal irresponsibility in the fact that I and my fellow employees were "overpayed". I have a bachelors degree, by the way, that cost me well over thirty thousand dollars. The other child care center in town paid its employees between 6.50-8.00 an hour


*caretaking for the elderly, too, is difficult, important work that women are also often expected to perform without compensation and could be included here

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#69 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 04:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Rowdypea

*caretaking for the elderly, too, is difficult, important work that women are also often expected to perform without compensation and could be included here

Yes, my best friend and her husband just moved in with HIS grandfather who had a stroke and needs care. They both woh fulltime. Guess who is taking care of meds and arranging doctor appointments and cleaning shit splatter from the bathroom wall . . .
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#70 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 05:13 AM
 
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Yes, if work structures were really equitable, men and women (though it would mostly be women since childcare and eldercare mostly falls to women) would be able to move in and out of professions. I'd be happy to be able to work in my profession part-time or take a few years off and re-enter at all. Neither are a possibilty.

We'd also aknowledge the real contribution sahm make by having those sah years tied to a spouse's social security benefits (so say your dh makes 50,000 a year - his ss recond shows 25,000 salery earned/ss taxes deducted and your ss record shows 25,000 salery earned/ss taxes deducted) so that no matter what happens (divorce), you get some ss credit for those years you were at home.

But after reading the "how much does you dh work" thread, I am more convinced then ever that the work stucture we have is BAD for not only women, but for KIDS and DADs. There is NO reason that a o parent should have to work 60 hour weeks and never see thier kids. If part-time jobs had benefits and careers allowed part-time work, then both dh and dw could work part-time (20-30 hours) allowing BOTH partners real time with their children and with each other. It is crazy that the choice is partners either both have 40 hour a week jobs or one partner stays home and the other has to work 60 hour weeks and not know his kids.

My dad worked 50-60 hour weeks I thought our generation would do it better.
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#71 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 11:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamawanabe

We'd also aknowledge the real contribution sahm make by having those sah years tied to a spouse's social security benefits (so say your dh makes 50,000 a year - his ss recond shows 25,000 salery earned/ss taxes deducted and your ss record shows 25,000 salery earned/ss taxes deducted) so that no matter what happens (divorce), you get some ss credit for those years you were at home.
What you are describing sounds like a shift toward a true family economy.

I wonder how single-parent or blended families or same-sex parents would fit into a policy like this. I think it is a great idea.

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#72 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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mamwanabe the agenda you just put out there about ss and families having more time with children is one I can get behind. I do agree that we have a problem in this country undervaluing sahm and our contribution to the economy. I do agree that we need to compensate with ss the work we do and I do think that both men and women don't get enought time to care for their families.

I wish I heard more talk about these issues going on. I don't.

I do agree that traditionally women's work does get paid less then traditionallyl man's work. I frankly am appaled that we pay more for people to watch our parked cars in my area than we pay for childcare workers. But what I hear from our local feminists is how can we make childcare cheaper not more expensive (and paying workers more makes it more expensive)

I think the women's vs men's work stat that gets me is the one that says that HR when it was primarily a man's field got paid a lot more than it does today. Now I think one issue that needs to be considered in all this is that traditionally "women's work" like waitressing, nursing, and so forth are usually careers that can be structured around family- time taken off and women moving in and out of the workforce. Longevity and staying "current" on the material aren't as big an issue nor is networking. I know that nursing is drawing more and more men recently and I do wonder what will happen to pay as that happens mroe and more. Also what will happen to dr.s pay as more and more docs are being women and are demanding the same family friendly flexible work hours their nurses enjoy.

I wish I heard more people talking about supporting family as an agenda instead of just supporting women.
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#73 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 01:45 PM
 
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I wish I heard more people talking about supporting family as an agenda instead of just supporting women.
Yes, but practically speaking, anything that supports women ends up supporting families in the long run.
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#74 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, but practically speaking, anything that supports women ends up supporting families in the long run.
I am not sure that is true.
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#75 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 02:33 PM
 
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But I don't consider hateful women like Hirschman to be feminists, no matter what they call themselves.
No, they are "self"ists, meaning that self is more important than anything. Ambition, career, status, and income are placed before everything else, no matter the cost.

I consider myself a humanist. I believe that all humans are entitled to equal rights, regardless of gender, race, etc. There are still expectations of what women should do for their husbands, even within my own family, that I have to buck sometimes daily. Living in the Bible Belt hasn't helped that any.

Being a non-Christian, outspoken woman with a child who was born out of wedlock, who refuses to iron my husband's clothes in the morning hasn't made my life any easier. I get REALLY tired of hearing "You aren't WORKING so you should to this and that, blah blah blah." (BTW I am "working" now, 6 days a week) Raising a child (homework, laundry, bedtime, meals etc.), tending the garden, keeping the house reasonably clean, and trying to start a business don't take much time or work at all (sarcasm here). I have to try really hard to live my life the way that is best for me and my family and tell everyone else to F off.

"We've come a long way baby" but I still think we have a long way to go yet. Until poverty, hunger, domestic abuse, slavery, racism and corporate rule are abolished (among other things), we can't rest. I have miles to go before I sleep.

I hope this all made sense. I tend to use train of thought writing and sometimes it doesn't quite come out right.
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#76 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 03:43 PM
 
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But what I hear from our local feminists is how can we make childcare cheaper not more expensive (and paying workers more makes it more expensive)
Feminists do not want childcare workers paid less, they want employers and the government to subsidise it.

And every feminist I know (and I know a lot, I work at a university) cares deeply about the issues in this thread. My collegue, a lesbian feminist to the Nth degree, is writing a dissertation on the devaluing of "care work," meaning both the unpaid work women do within the home as well as the paid work women do outside of the home (nursing and maid-work etc). In fact, I have never heard a woman who doesn't consider herself a feminist talk about changing work structures so womwn don't have to choose between time with kids and career, changing ss sturctrues so divorced sahm's get "credit" towards retirement, questioning the low pay of childcare workers, etc.

The fact is that 70% of mothers woh, and so feminism is going to work to help this majority find good quality child care, have access to pumping, get maternity leave etc. Feminism also cares deeply about disadvantaged women and thier children in the US and abroad (who else will care and work and fight for them). There is A LOT of work being done to help poor single mothers and to help women in Africa etc.

You understand how much there is to do right?!

It is interesting that the minute we start talking about dads working 50 hours weeks not getting to see their kids, non-feminists climb on board the call for change. But when it is moms working 40-50 horus weeks and pinning for their kids, the answer is "she has a personal choice to make" or "aren't kids worth making personal sacrifices for."
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#77 of 131 Old 03-19-2006, 06:48 PM
 
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So let's all have some homework this week. It's a little, but it's a start. Let everyone on this thread and everyone lurking on it write to all our senators, reps, governors, the President, the First Lady, and anyone else you can think of, about how we think Social Security needs to start considering the caretakers. Let's remind them that our children will be taking care of them when they are old, that we are raising the future governors and presidents and doctors and pharmacists and fire fighters and home builders and that if they want the job done right they need to support us for doing the job.

As for the woman taking care of her husband's grandfather - we end up doing the caretaking because one, our husbands know if they put it off long enough, and two, we know that when they do it they are half@$$ed about it. There are lots of resources out there for assisting caretakers - I live with my mother because her husband has Alzheimers, and we've researched many of them, in our state, anyway. In addition to free services, she might suggest to her husband that her grandfather's retirement benefits would be well used if spent on a housekeeper and even the occasional catering. She can word it by saying that she can then spend more time and have more energy to care properly for his grandfather. Just a thought.
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#78 of 131 Old 03-21-2006, 06:47 AM
 
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This is hands-down the most amazing thead I've ever seen on this little forum... and here I'd been avoiding it like the plague. LOL.

Yes, I'm a feminist. Yes, I think there is a lot more to life than climbing the corporate ladder, but I'm also not such a fool as to think that women in general will ever get anywhere without the economic independence to push for the kinds of change that the women here are talking about.

As for the idea that supporting women IS supporting families, hellz yes!

I read somewhere not too long ago that for every dollar a woman makes, she spends a huge percentage on durable goods and services for her children, while a man will spend much more on luxury goods for himself, while investing very little into his children. (Does anybody know the quote I'm talking about?? It blew me away and changed the way I thought about feminism and money. Seriously.)

To me, investing in women is a danged good way to invest in children and the future.
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#79 of 131 Old 03-21-2006, 11:02 AM
 
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I read somewhere not too long ago that for every dollar a woman makes, she spends a huge percentage on durable goods and services for her children, while a man will spend much more on luxury goods for himself, while investing very little into his children. (Does anybody know the quote I'm talking about?? It blew me away and changed the way I thought about feminism and money. Seriously.)

To me, investing in women is a danged good way to invest in children and the future.
I read something similar last year, and it really got me thinking about my own family. At the time, I was working part-time, and my dh and I had seperate bank accounts in addition to a joint account for bills. We called our seperate accounts our "goof off" money. I spent my goof off money on things that our son needed and things that our home needed. I mean, not just little knick knacks and name-brand clothing, but really things that were reasonable needs. He spent his goof off money on lunches out and for his gym membership.

Just a week or so ago, my dh came home from Target with a toy for our toddler son. It was the first toy he had ever bought him. And this is a very "hands on", invloved dad here--just hadn't spent "his" money on things for him before.

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#80 of 131 Old 03-21-2006, 04:47 PM
 
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#81 of 131 Old 03-21-2006, 05:38 PM
 
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Yes, I do consider myself a feminist--and my husbands considers himself one, too.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#82 of 131 Old 03-21-2006, 08:11 PM
 
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But the world will frame things in the "gender lens" and will include you in that in ways that effect you, even if you choose to see things as genderless.

I read that too about women spending a much, much higher percentage of their money on their kids, but I can't recall where either. Wish I could remember.
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#83 of 131 Old 03-21-2006, 08:55 PM
 
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I'm coming late to this thread and I don't have time to read it all, but I wanted to chime in and say that yeah, I definitely consider myself a feminist. I think that DH would call himself one, too.

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#85 of 131 Old 03-21-2006, 10:39 PM
 
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I most definately consider myself a feminist.
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#86 of 131 Old 03-22-2006, 12:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mama729
I'm assuming this one is for me?? That's entirely possible, especially if "the world" is the US. Whatever works - to each its own
Actually, in the US women have the right to an education at top universities, the right to seek a divorce, the right to obtain contraception, the right to own property, the right to vote . . .

thanks to guess who? The feminists

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#87 of 131 Old 03-22-2006, 12:50 AM
 
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I guess my point with the above post is that there are a LOT of other places in the world where you would be looked at through a much stronger "gender lens" and have your life choices greatly curtailed because you are a female. I don't think it's fair or accurate to single out the US on this one.

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#88 of 131 Old 03-22-2006, 03:37 PM
 
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#89 of 131 Old 03-22-2006, 08:05 PM
 
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I don't consider myself a feminist, but wouldn't if I worked outside the home either.

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#90 of 131 Old 03-22-2006, 08:28 PM
 
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Yes, absolutely! I think being a feminist is all about respecting a woman's choice to do what she wants to do. Staying at home and raising children is a legitimate choice. I feel very fortunate that my dh and I can afford for me to do this. I think the so-called feminists that don't think women should stay home are actually anti-feminist because they are anti-choice. Honestly, I think it is harder and more challenging to be a sahm in our society today than it is to go to work everyday. It is also the most fullfilling and rewarding job a woman could ever have. It is the most important job and the highest calling of a woman.

I also believe that if a woman chooses to work outside the home, she should be able to do that. But, it makes me sad that our society is set up so that most work places are not friendly to moms and families. Maybe that is something that future generations will change!
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