Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Failure of Feminism

There has been a lot of talk lately, in publications and on blogs, about the "failure of feminism," and much of it seems to be blamed on people like me. I'm not really sure how I ought to react to these charges. I certainly don't think that because I chose to stay home with Mary as opposed to returning to a crap job for minimal pay makes me a part of the downfall of the feminist movement. Maybe I don't count because I haven't got a university degree, and didn't have a high enough paying job?

Now, I never really considered myself a feminist until a couple of years ago and someone who I respected really opened my eyes. Do I think that a woman should be able to make her own choices in her life, and have control over her own destiny? Yes, I do. And that's the point. I believe that every woman should have the choice. I chose to stay home with my baby, not because I have bought in to some cultural brainwashing, but because I am happy. Happier than I can ever remember being, and I not prepared to sacrifice that for anything. Selfish, I guess. I also think that it's what is good for Mary, but let me tell you, if the last 11 months of being a stay at home mum had been miserable, I would have already gone back to work.

Now, there is a disturbing trend out there, and Andrea over at Beanie Baby has several good points.

To quote:
According to news stories I've come across or those introduced to me at various mother blogs, Proper Mothers of our brave new century are supposed to: Breastfeed (and know how to do so instinctively, without assistance), have the baby in the mother's room at night (but not in your bed--this from the AAP), not use any sort of diapers at all but instead build up a baby's dignity by holding them over a toilet to void their wastes from birth, not allow their children to watch TV until the age of two, make their own baby and toddler food using organic vegetables, be a Yummy Mummy and make a second (third?) career out of being fit and looking fabulous, watch Alpha Mom TV to learn how to turn your ambition and drive towards making Babies Ben and Bella the absolute best human beings possible, and attend an Ivy League school to obtain advanced degrees then devote themselves to staying home while the children are young (although your perspective on whether this is Good or Bad may vary).

These are attitudes which are prevalent in the media, especially American media, but it is becoming more common here in Canada as well. Also, I think a real "hate the working Mum" attitude has come around too, those selfish women who chose their careers over their children. Why don't we talk that way about working fathers when both parents are working out of the home? People tend to think of stay at home dads as less than a real man, who couldn't hack working or is just too lazy to get a job and keep it.

No matter how I look at it, once again, someone out there is putting unrealistic expectations on mothers, both of the working and the stay at home variety, and then blaming us for not living up to them. Parenting is hard work whether you are a man or a woman, whether you stay at home with your child, or work out of the home. Instead of demonizing women who decide (or need to financially) to work, blaming those of us who chose to stay at home for the failure and downfall of feminism, or mocking those few dads who chose to stay at home while their wife works...Give us a break! I think that the part of it that drives me crazy is that often it's parents who are judging each other...The SAHM's judging the WOHM's and vice versa.

Oh, and for the record, I am not a "Yummy Mummy," nor am I a MILF, and I never intend to be. My husband finds me yummy, and that's enough for me, thanks.


Anne R. Key said...

RAWKIN' post! It's all about a woman's right to choose.

Goody said...

I'm wasting two degrees;)

It is amazing how women will deliberately undermine other women. I really wonder, of the people who feel so confident telling others how they must behave-if they really do all they claim?

Ugh, I never heard "yummy Mummy" before-how horrible and demeaning. Objectify me, please.

Jenn said...

I've always found the term MILF incredibly offensive, and Yummy Mummy is not far behind. The thing that drives me craziest is the women out there who are proud to call themselves by those terms. Ugh.

I'd love to have a degree to waste, and I will some day. Not only will I waste my degree, but I'll make sure to take one that's wasteful from the very Religious Studies.

Emmett said...

This was quite a long entry. Don't you need to get back to the kitchen?