Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

feminism: it's not what's forcing me to work

Last week I took a vacation day Friday to spend some quality time with my baby girl. I was totally excited about it. Since Monday was a holiday I only worked three days and it felt great. In fact if it were up to me, I'd probably work short or part time weeks all year. I like my job and it's very rewarding, but spending time at home is really nice these days. I miss Jo, especially around Wednesday when the weekend seems kind of distant. Getting out of the house is nice for a few hours but full time work is a little overwhelming.

There's this stereotype about feminists that we all want to RUSH back to work and leave our babies at home just to prove a point and conquer the world and prove our loyalty to the Cause of Career Women. It's a myth that goes along with a few other of my favorites:
  1. Feminists want to force women to work outside of home just to break the norm of mothers being the primary childcare providers.
  2. Feminists have started "mommy wars" between full-time moms and full-time career holders, with each side accusing the other of ruining things for the female sex.
  3. Feminists want women to do it all to prove that they don't need men.
I've never actually met a feminist who believed any of these things, but the backlash movement seems to be spewing the stereotypes like there's no tomorrow. And I still hear women believe it, saying they don't want to be feminists because they want to be moms or don't want all this pressure to have a workaholic career, as if the movement is going to cattle-prod them to work every day.

But the truth is that most women don't work just to drive home a political agenda. Those of us who have jobs are working for the same reason men do: that silly mortgage just keeps being due every month. We like food. The baby needs diapers.

To be honest, the whole job thing isn't really a choice.

So in my life I'm giving feminists the credit for the things they've actually done for me. It's because of them that I have a cool job that I enjoy, and a paycheck that's hefty enough that Marc doesn't need to work days outside the home. It's really nice that we don't have to haul the baby off to daycare every morning. And it's really nice that Marc doesn't have to be the one to support us, because I happen to be the one who's typically made more money. Which is okay! Feminism erased the days where women had to find "providers" to marry, now we can just be in love.

Thousands of women in previous generations fought to get me equal pay and a chance to compete in the non-traditional career that appealed to me. Without those activists, I bet Marc and I would both be working outside the home during the day, and neither of us would like our jobs as much. I might not have gotten six weeks of paid maternity leave, and FMLA might not have been around for me to take more time when I wanted to. I might not have gotten the paid vacation day Friday. I might have had to settle for a job I didn't enjoy as much. And the world of engineering might not have gotten anything I had to offer.

So dear world, don't listen to the bullshit being fed to you by non-feminists about what we believe. We love seeing women staying home to raise their kids, when it works for their families. Just like we love seeing women in successful careers, when it works for their families. You know what, we just like seeing things work out for women. It's true that we do a lot of work on behalf of career women, but that's because their equality depends on society accepting them, not because we love them more. I promise.

Balancing career and family can be overwhelming, because we're human. Feminism makes it better.
Tags: feminism, motherhood
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