March 19th, 2013

planet

feminists vs. housewives showdown! (again)

Well it's happened again... I JUST wrote a lovely and serene entry about how my life as a working mom with a husband who stays home is working out just great, better than great, in fact I think it NEEDS to happen in more families. Then what does the cover of NY Magazine say the very next morning? Retro Feminist Housewives Choose to Stay Home.why I'm tired f the feminists vs. housewives showdown

Articles like these are boring, tired and we've seen them a million times before, here's the formula:

1) Find 1-2 happy women who made the "revolutionary" choice to quit their jobs. In this case, they start by featuring a family struggling to get by on only the husband's "low six figure income" (oh! the humanity!)

2) Paint feminists as angry pushers who want women to DO it all, not have it all, although the article says "have it all" and then prompts everyone to shake their heads and how silly frazzled an idea that is.

3) Bring up some antiquated throwback ideas about how women are just naturally more suited to taking care of kids (just like men are naturally more suited to hunting bison in the fields, like they do every day... oh... wait...)

Does the article feature any feminists from the other side weighing in on what the movement's actual priorities are? Does it talk to any women who HAVE to work for financial reasons, who feel fortunate that their choices weren't limited to secretary jobs? Is there anything new and interesting going on in this piece at all? Nope. The only reason it's earning a mention in my blog is the odd perfect timing.

Now I think the media doesn't want to tell my story because I can't slam feminists as effectively as they'd like... that's really the secret to a cover story. Throw your fellow ladies under the bus. Accuse them of pushing you to do too much. Say it's just overwhelming for your pretty little head. Start a "mommy war".

Here's the real story: as a feminist, I'm happy whenever a woman gets to do what feels right for her. I do think it's best when a parent can stay home with the kids, that's why my family is doing it. I also have many better things to worry about (eliminating rape culture, reproductive rights, etc) than whether the housewives are feeling "too much pressure".

I do not believe women are biologically better suited to take care of kids. I think our brains are wired in very similar ways, and yes we are different because men and women are raised differently but adding diversity to the field of full-time caretakers should be our priority right now, that's what's good for kids, not "let's keep everything the same". Looking backwards is a great way to stop all conversations... not what America is about. And let's face it, you can chose to stay at home whenever you want. If I need to work, I'm dependent on an employer that's supportive of women in the workplace... in other words even if I was bashing your choice it would never hurt you as much as articles like this hurt me, by telling the world it's just better for women to stay home, you're threatening the network I depend on. Last year a woman was fired from chick-fil-a because her managers just thought she should be a stay at home mother... that's the crap we face when the media says "feminism" was a bad idea.

I do not believe feminism has failed or was bad for women. If a married woman with a job feels like she has to do ALL the household chores when she gets home, that's a relationship that needs a little more feminism to get her husband off the damn couch. Not less feminism to give her more time to clean.

I obviously believe in the power of the single-income family, where one parent stays home with the kids... I'm living in one! But thank goodness the world didn't force my husband to work and me to stay home. Actually wait, "thank goodness" was the wrong term... I meant "thank feminists".