Did Feminism Go Too Far? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 602 Old 01-30-2007, 03:50 AM
 
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I know how to use the [] function.

Having been a SAHM, a WOHM, and a WAHM for long periods of time, longer than most people have been married, I earned my own way, have my own credit, and have my own property because I earned it; my DH and I always had separate credit. No feminist ever handed me anything. I earned it.

Land ownership and credit ratings still vary state by state.

We should really be more concerned about women in the third world who have not benefitted from the wonders of modern feminism.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#122 of 602 Old 01-30-2007, 04:04 AM
 
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Nobody ever said feminism "gave" them property or education, but it did stop institutions of higher learning and the legal system from forbidding women to attend college or own property in their own names.

I worked damn hard to get through boot camp and a tour of active duty as a young woman. That doesn't mean my ability to serve and enjoy the rewards of military service weren't directly related to feminism. Thank you, Army College Fund and Montgomery GI Bill. It was worth it. My grandmother couldn't have served the way I did.

It seems like you're trying to miss the point entirely.

And yes, BCPs come with risks and side-effects. Name a drug that doesn't. As you point out, though, so does pregnancy.
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#123 of 602 Old 01-30-2007, 04:20 AM
 
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I know how to use the [] function.

Having been a SAHM, a WOHM, and a WAHM for long periods of time, longer than most people have been married, I earned my own way, have my own credit, and have my own property because I earned it; my DH and I always had separate credit. No feminist ever handed me anything. I earned it.
I think that you may be trying to be deliberately obtuse. Myself and many others on this thread have pointed out that if it weren't for feminism, you would not have been allowed to attend graduate school or own property, those were privileges only allowed to men before feminism. No one said you didn't have to work for those thing, just that without feminism, you wouldn't have even been given the chance.


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We should really be more concerned about women in the third world who have not benefited from the wonders of modern feminism.
I thought you said already that your only point in this thread was that Feminism has only succeeded in helping working women? Now you want to change the subject to women in other countries?
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#124 of 602 Old 01-30-2007, 06:42 AM
 
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When some feminists were "haraunging" if you will, stay at home moms to come out and explore working, they were trying to GIVE PERMISSION to them to do it, if they wanted to. During the 60s, still, most women felt they HAD NO CHOICE but to be a sahm... because society would just beat her down as a bohemian, hippie, druggie, etc., when really, her secret dream and proven ability was to, say, write, run a business, or something in science, or design buildings.

It was really a call to come out from under oppression, if they felt like they wanted to and could. If they could overcome the stigma of turning their backs on that promise of domestic bliss, which to some of them looked and felt like oblivion, like a neverending childhood where the only adult with decision making power in the family was her husband--if she wanted to break out of it, there were other women saying, It's okay, we stand by you if you need support. It's okay to want something different than domestic bliss.

Feminism...

Maybe we could have a book discussion on a couple of the books that have been recommended here.


Mother Outlaws Andrea O'Reilly

The Autonomy Myth Martha Fineman

The Price of Motherhood Anne Crittendon

If You've Raised Children, You Can Manage Anything Anne Crittendon

'The Mommy Myth' and 'Fruitful: A Real Mother in the Modern World' by Anne Roiphe

"My Headache" and it is in "The Mother Trip." Ariel Gore

Association for Research on Mothering (York University)

Were there any I didn't catch? They all sound brilliant.

VF
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#125 of 602 Old 02-02-2007, 09:26 PM
 
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I'm sorry it took me so long to return this thread. I was waiting for a few more edits. In fact not all the editing is finished, but I have removed those posts until I do have the edits. Thank you for your patience.


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#126 of 602 Old 02-02-2007, 10:51 PM
 
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Exactly, Viewfinder! I think it's so important to see social movements in the context they arose from. They always seem to be "against" something else that is in the mainstream. And years or generations later, we tend to forget what that "something else" even was.

Attachment Parenting, even, arose as a reaction against that hyper-scheduling, low-touch kind of parenting that was sanctioned in the mainstream at the time AP started becoming a movement of sorts.

Now it's easy to see it as being rigid and prescriptive and dogmatic and perpetually exhausting: "you MUST pick up your baby every time it cries, or you will damage the kid's brain" seems to be one popular interpretation but I'm sure at the time, the strong words used by attachment authors were intended to shake their audience into considering that those long-held assumptions about childcare were not necessarily the correct ones. To liberate their minds!

And now there is a certain backlash against AP, where moms are finding "old-school" methods of CIO to be, you guessed it, "liberating!" And the claims of writers like Weissbluth are just the same-- that if you adhere to the methods of his adversaries, Sears, instead of his, you will have a child who lacks the ability to cope with the world. "You'll damage the kid's brain!

Anyway, that's all neither here nor there. I was raised in a very conservative household, one where I came to believe I would either have to endure a lifetime of tormented sexual frustration OR a life of unending domestic drudgery.

Seemed like a horrible choice, not one my brothers had to face. I had a sense of anger and resentment and betrayal about having been born female. That's not a good thing.

I remember reading "The Feminine Mystique" as a teenager and really relating to what Friedan was saying! I'm sure you could all comb through the book and find things that are "offensive" to SAHMs, but when you're looking at the book through that old-school lens of Biology-as-Destiny, it's a wonderful, freeing, thing for her to say, "Get your ass out there and DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE!"

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#127 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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I remember reading "The Feminine Mystique" as a teenager and really relating to what Friedan was saying! I'm sure you could all comb through the book and find things that are "offensive" to SAHMs, but when you're looking at the book through that old-school lens of Biology-as-Destiny, it's a wonderful, freeing, thing for her to say, "Get your ass out there and DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE!"
Amen, Sister.
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#128 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 01:10 AM
 
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absolutely excellent thread! aside from semantics, i am interested in the op's original question. not about feminism, but about this backlash that has occurred this past few generations. sahms used to live in the pumpkin shell --essentially required to be home, but more critically, without respect, value, most often, without a voice. when more women began entering the workplace and university, after a few decades, there seem to come along an attitude that women would work. gender and expectation became muddled. there is a real and pervasive thought among men under a certain age that their wives are obligated to be wage earners. and if they are not, their sahing becomes gracious ("i am so lucky my husband lets me stay home."). what i am seeing is many husbands of sahms having just that attitude. not most, but it is a common phenomenon.

let's talk about this!
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#129 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 03:37 PM
 
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I'm sorry it took me so long to return this thread. I was waiting for a few more edits. In fact not all the editing is finished, but I have removed those posts until I do have the edits. Thank you for your patience.


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thank you for bringing it back.
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#130 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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I think, in discussions of feminism, a few things tend to get left behind. First, the feminist movement is a human rights and civil rights movement - probably the largest scale human rights movement in the world, considering the size of the population (women) and the fact that it is active in every country and every continent. It has nothing to do with "choices". I think it is easy for americans to boil it down to "it is all about choosing my choices whenever I want to" and "it is a feminist choice if I choose it" etc. Once I even read, in comments to a blog post, "feminism is all about CHOICES, without criticism". It is no secret that political movements get co-opted. When women are fighting for the "right to choose" situations that have been foisted on them for centuries (for instance, sexual servitude) we know the public face of our movement is faltering. We have infantalized ourselves as women when we say that feminism is all about choices, rather than a human/civil rights movement. The movement, and we, have a long way to go as many have pointed out. The fact that most american women have to be in the paid workforce within weeks of birthing babies to make ends meet has nothing really to do with any feminist aims - this is about the economy, and the continuing devaluing of women's needs and work. It is also about the commodification of children (having kids as a "hobby", not as a necessary part of being a species). In fact, it could be said that it is really more of the same as in the 50s, just with a different look. Mothering was not valued then either, and fathering was close to nonexistant. Patriarchy benefitted hugely when more women joined the workforce, despite any seeming resistance in Friedan's era. Of course women were always in the workforce it could be argued that women benefitted somewhat from this "exodus from the home" if they were middle class or above. The problem lies not with women nor with the human rights movement known as feminism but with the fact that we are still finding the way - we have been slding downhill in a worsening american economy for decades now and some more visible areas of feminism (NOW, etc) have had to address these more urgent, surface issues and I feel that the deeper meaning of the movement has possibly been put aside.

I also don't understand how it could be said that a woman's place is "in the home" (or not) any more when women conduct careers from home and really, SAHMing only takes place actually "in" the home a small amount of the day. Maybe we are looking in the wrong places, sometimes I forget that women & men all over the world work "outside the home" and bring their children - something Mothering magazine has often pointed out. I think a whole new paradigm is needed, one in which children are not considered "the private realm", warehoused and shunted away from "real society" of work and public life. Consumerism plays a role for sure but I am weary of the "working to pay for 2 SUVs and a huge house" dismissal sometimes heard in discussions of SAHM vs. WOHM. I think it is all much bigger, about what role children play in the world, how much our american culture does or does NOT value children or the work of parenting, etc. and just as important - the alarmingly slow rise in average salary despite unstoppable inflation everywhere else. I think feminism as an entity is catching on to this slowly but surely - there are many of us SAHFs out there after all even if in my area at least, SAHPs are so scarce that I still have never met one in person. I might be running a radical feminist, matrilineal household but if my husband died or left me for some reason, I would be impoverished - as would many women in the same situation. This was certainly never the aim of any human or civil rights movement, and much more work is needed before women will really be on anything near a level playing field. (not to mention the "playing field" is radically shifting - who do we want to be equal to? The oppressor? A whole other discussion).

I am optimistic enough to think that someday the pendulum will swing back and more parents will be able to sequence their careers/jobs around child rearing. I think the political movement of feminism will play a part in this too.

Michelle: obsessed crafter, Buddhist Yogini, college student, and unschooling mom of two awesome daughters 12 and 6
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#131 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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I remember watching that interview with her. What a mess. The whole idea was that watching children was beneath women and if we happened to have any we should stick them in daycare (where incidently, women would probably be watching them) and get back to work. She went so far as to say that women who stayed home were doing a disservice to society.
Has someone said this already - I haven't made it through all the pages but...

What annoys me about her is that only well educated women who will be rich and/or powerful seem to have any value to her. Some women (the important ones) should spend all their time working while paying less then a living wage to the women watching their kids?? HUH?

This is not a slam to working moms whose kids are in daycare. It is a slam against an author who only respects one kind of woman.
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#132 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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#133 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 05:03 PM
 
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What annoys me about her is that only well educated women who will be rich and/or powerful seem to have any value to her. Some women (the important ones) should spend all their time working while paying less then a living wage to the women watching their kids?? HUH?

This is not a slam to working moms whose kids are in daycare. It is a slam against an author who only respects one kind of woman.


I forgot to bring this up in my rambly post - the fact that someone has to watch the kids and sometimes this brings class into the issue. My career before having children was as a nanny and once in a day care center. This was work I enjoyed but it did not pay well. Families had to pay me a lot less than what they themselves earned individually in order to make it worthwhile. This is certainly a feminist and class issue as well, when an "underclass" must be maintained in order to meet the status quo. Unfortunately I have no solution to offer at this time, since making the low wage was OK for me at that time since I had no kids and my mom helped me with living expenses.

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#134 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 06:46 PM
 
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What annoys me about her is that only well educated women who will be rich and/or powerful seem to have any value to her. Some women (the important ones) should spend all their time working while paying less then a living wage to the women watching their kids?? HUH?
Does anyone know what Hirshman's position is on this? She must be a proponent of universal daycare.

I don't think she is placing more value on the 'working mom', but rather warning women to carefully consider how their individual choices to opt out of the workforce can/will affect all women.
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#135 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 07:08 PM
 
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I don't think she is placing more value on the 'working mom', but rather warning women to carefully consider how their individual choices to opt out of the workforce can/will affect all women.
To me, this seems wrong, too. I don't care how MY life decisions will affect all women. I am not living my life to please others, nor will I allow my decisions to be based on what affect it will have on others. I live my life based on what I think is in the best interest of ME and MY family.

Perhaps that may sound selfish, but my family comes first. And if feminism is harmed by it, too bad.

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#136 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 07:24 PM
 
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I have been reading this thread off and on, so I apologize if someone has already said this...

but I'll never think feminism has gone too far as long as I regularly see threads on this board about SAHMs getting an "allowance" from their husbands or otherwise not being equal partners in their marriages.
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#137 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 07:29 PM
 
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To me, this seems wrong, too. I don't care how MY life decisions will affect all women. I am not living my life to please others, nor will I allow my decisions to be based on what affect it will have on others. I live my life based on what I think is in the best interest of ME and MY family.

Perhaps that may sound selfish, but my family comes first. And if feminism is harmed by it, too bad.
Ok, that's fine. I think we all try and do what's best for our families.

However, I think this is how/when the significance of her argument gets lost...in defensiveness. It doesn't really matter that you don't CARE that your choices affect other women, the FACT is, they do. We cannot seperate ourselves from society...as much as we'd like to sometimes

It's not about YOU, or ME, or Suzy Smith down the street. Her argument is a sociological/political one, and it attempts to highlight that the 'phenomena' of women opting out of the workforce has a detrimental affect on the next generation of young women who are navigating the world of paid employment. We NEED women in positions of power and leadership in the 'public sphere', and if women start dropping out in high numbers, how do you think that changes employers perceptions of women workers? What about available female mentors for young women?

I'm not saying I agree with everything Hirshman says, but, maybe someone has to say it to get people thinking?
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#138 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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...attempts to highlight that the 'phenomena' of women opting out of the workforce has a detrimental affect on the next generation of young women who are navigating the world of paid employment.
Hirshman also is woefully misinformed/myopic when it comes to her view of what women are doing.

Women are voting with their feet because the work world is still not accomodating enough for families. While there are plenty of women who have options, I believe the majority of women who work or don't work, don't have options that match their values and deeply held beliefs. They do what they need to do to meet the needs of their families.

She is also completely missing the amazing entrepreneurial nature of many many mothers in this society. Many SAHMs earn income for their families through home based work. The rise in telecommuting, virtual workforce, women owned busineses, WAH/parttime/job sharing and flexi-time - all driven BY MOTHERS.

And mothers still do the lions share of non-paid but vital civil society work - PTAs, community organizations, boy/girl scouts, etc.

Hirshman is falling into the same trap that old school feminists fall into - defining success in male terms.

Is there inequity? Absolutely. Do we have more work to do? Yes, absolutely. But I will NOT allow anyone else to dictate the definition of success to me.

Siobhan

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#139 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 09:21 PM
 
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Hirshman is falling into the same trap that old school feminists fall into - defining success in male terms.
I totally agree. I would go a step further to say she is defining what is important (what is an "important contribution" for a woman or man to make on society) in male, american and patriarchal terms. It will always be a circular argument until she questions socialization and the extreme narrowness of her cultural viewpoint.

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She is also completely missing the amazing entrepreneurial nature of many many mothers in this society. Many SAHMs earn income for their families through home based work. The rise in telecommuting, virtual workforce, women owned busineses, WAH/parttime/job sharing and flexi-time - all driven BY MOTHERS.


This is evident right here on this forum, check out the WAHM board especially.

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#140 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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Hirshman also is woefully misinformed/myopic when it comes to her view of what women are doing.

Women are voting with their feet because the work world is still not accomodating enough for families. While there are plenty of women who have options, I believe the majority of women who work or don't work, don't have options that match their values and deeply held beliefs. They do what they need to do to meet the needs of their families.

She is also completely missing the amazing entrepreneurial nature of many many mothers in this society. Many SAHMs earn income for their families through home based work. The rise in telecommuting, virtual workforce, women owned busineses, WAH/parttime/job sharing and flexi-time - all driven BY MOTHERS.

And mothers still do the lions share of non-paid but vital civil society work - PTAs, community organizations, boy/girl scouts, etc.

Hirshman is falling into the same trap that old school feminists fall into - defining success in male terms.

Is there inequity? Absolutely. Do we have more work to do? Yes, absolutely. But I will NOT allow anyone else to dictate the definition of success to me.

Siobhan
Well, I don't think you can fault her for not considering the issues you have brought up here (all good points, however). She presented an analysis of priviledged, educated women. It isn't fair to criticize her for what she HASN'T written kwim?

As far as defining success goes, it's subjective I suppose. I just don't understand what you mean by 'success in male terms'? Does that mean that women have a different definition of success than the cultural one?
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#141 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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I believe the line gets crossed when I am looked down on for doing what I think is best and what I WANT to do.

It's like this movie I once watched based on the lives of women when they were fighting for their rights. One woman was struggling because she wanted to work and have equality, and she found it really hard to get there due to the unequal standards. Fine. She began motivating other women to join her in her movement. Fine. She began to win some respect and reach her goal. Fine. But then she looked down on her own friend because that friend WANTED to be the typical SAHM and WANTED to conform to the typical "housewife" mold.

I don't care how my life affects the feminist movement. If my choosing to be a SAHM and have a dozen children is going to affect society, then I think it will affect it in a positive way. Society is not going to crash down because of women deciding to go back to being SAHMs. And if it does, then that means it was heading for a fall anyways. I believe a woman can be ANYTHING that she wants to be (and that is the basis of feminism), yet, if she WANTS to be a SAHM, she is looked down on as making women take a step backward. I believe it is just wrong and a double standard.

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#142 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 11:06 PM
 
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It's not about YOU, or ME, or Suzy Smith down the street. Her argument is a sociological/political one, and it attempts to highlight that the 'phenomena' of women opting out of the workforce has a detrimental affect on the next generation of young women who are navigating the world of paid employment. We NEED women in positions of power and leadership in the 'public sphere', and if women start dropping out in high numbers, how do you think that changes employers perceptions of women workers? What about available female mentors for young women?
I get this. I really, really do but I am not willing to change the decisions I have made about what kind of mom I will be. As the mother of a daughter I might even say that I actually worry about this as well. In a society where everyone retired at 55 this might carry more weight.

However, my husband is always bringing home stories about some CEO he met that day who was a SAHM and then went back to work when her kids were in school. She started as a secretary and became the CEO. He has multiple examples of this happening. Most of those women have told him that they are the CEOs of the company because of the skills they perfected while being SAHMs.

He points out that this means I can still be the president of the US if I want to as well as practice extended breastfeeding with all my kids.
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#143 of 602 Old 02-03-2007, 11:10 PM
 
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IF mothers drop out of being at home what will this also mean for our daughters and society?
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#144 of 602 Old 02-04-2007, 12:37 AM
 
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IF mothers drop out of being at home what will this also mean for our daughters and society?
Well I don't really know what you mean here. My mom worked fulltime from about a week after I was born (no maternity leave because women were not supposed to come back after they had babies) and I am perfectly fine. I nursed till I was about 3/3.5. I had growing up and still have a terrific relationship with my mom. In fact I have a better relationship with my mom then any of my friends whose moms were SAHMs. In addition to this I think I am a terrific mother to my daughter - my friends have even commented on how easy being a mom seems to come to me.

All this is just to point out that you can raise great daughters while being a working mom.
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I believe a woman can be ANYTHING that she wants to be (and that is the basis of feminism), yet, if she WANTS to be a SAHM, she is looked down on as making women take a step backward. I believe it is just wrong and a double standard.
The mainstream understanding of Feminism is that gender should not pre-determine an individual's social, political and economic rights. Feminism is not about accepting women's 'choices' without criticism or analysis.

The double standard in play here is really the fact that this discussion never takes place in the context of fathers. We never question whether 'working for wages' can/should be optional for fathers. How can women achieve economic and socio-political equality when we define our lives and families so clearly along gender lines?
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#146 of 602 Old 02-04-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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The double standard in play here is really the fact that this discussion never takes place in the context of fathers. We never question whether 'working for wages' can/should be optional for fathers. How can women achieve economic and socio-political equality when we define our lives and families so clearly along gender lines?
I feel as though we are just at the beginning of this problem (still) and it really hits close to home. As I said in an earlier post, I consider my household/lifestyle to be radical feminist yet it was amazing how once a child came into our lives, we fight to maintain the equality that came so easily before. My husband struggles with the modelling he witnessed as a child I am sure (a very "father knows best" household in which dad's workday was totally done at 5pm and mom's was still only 1/2 way completed) and trying to find a new way. I just get frustrated. It is so difficult to manage equality when so many cultural assumptions are still left unchallenged, like the "given" that dad at least will work FT for wages and the "option" of the wife's income (and the assumptions made about the income capability of a man if his wife has to work as well to make ends meet, it goes on and on). I think we all here are striking out in new territory and trying to find our way with little relevant guidance from previous generations.

Michelle: obsessed crafter, Buddhist Yogini, college student, and unschooling mom of two awesome daughters 12 and 6
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#147 of 602 Old 02-04-2007, 01:45 AM
 
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I get this. I really, really do but I am not willing to change the decisions I have made about what kind of mom I will be. As the mother of a daughter I might even say that I actually worry about this as well.
I hear ya. I don't want anyone telling me how to mother, or what kind of mother to be either.

I have a 7 year old daughter, and I worry about her sniffing out the hipocrasy of a culture that tells her to go to University, bust her butt, pursue her dreams...etc, etc, BUT, give everything up when she becomes a mother. It's really a burden to have to teach your daughter the 'rules' of patriarchal culture, yet, simutaneously urge her to resist them.
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#148 of 602 Old 02-04-2007, 02:01 AM
 
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All this is just to point out that you can raise great daughters while being a working mom.
Well of course! My goodness, this goes without saying.
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#149 of 602 Old 02-04-2007, 02:05 AM
 
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It seemed like the person I quoted was saying that might be in question.
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#150 of 602 Old 02-04-2007, 02:06 AM
 
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but I'll never think feminism has gone too far as long as I regularly see threads on this board about SAHMs getting an "allowance" from their husbands or otherwise not being equal partners in their marriages.
Yeah. That.

I do think about how "dropping out" of the workforce affects other women; it's complicated. In a nutshell, it was really a nonchoice; for a variety of reasons, it was not possible for me and my husband to live on the same continenent if I stayed at work.

Where feminism hasn't gone far enough is where it was ME who had to quit work in order to have a unified household. He couldn't decide to make that sacrifice, because "my" place is with the kids, and his was, well, out in the world.

Doing what the big men do.

No, feminism has a long way to go.
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