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> Have we failed the feminists?, or are we biologically doomed ?
bucket
post Dec 6 2005, 11:24 PM
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I have no idea what the very small group of women (we are only 20% according to the gender stats here at ad.gif) read or follow in regards to women's issues. But I have been following a very heated debate amongst female bloggers that essentially is divided by two groups the feminists and the mommies.

Basically the debate was sparked by the reaction to Dowd's book, Linda Hirshamn's article and the NYT article cited in it.

Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?

And what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more educated women are leaving the workforce?






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Christopher
post Dec 7 2005, 01:36 AM
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Alright I'm not a woman. but I read that article when it came out and wondered if Hirschman was on some kind of medication or if she had any inkling of the reality of the world outside of what appears to be a very sheltered life.

QUOTE
Hereís the feminist moral analysis that choice avoided: The family -- with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks -- is a necessary part of life, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government. This less-flourishing sphere is not the natural or moral responsibility only of women. Therefore, assigning it to women is unjust. Women assigning it to themselves is equally unjust. To paraphrase, as Mark Twain said, ďA man who chooses not to read is just as ignorant as a man who cannot read.Ē


I was recently given the option of quitting my job and letting my wife work full time. She could easily double my salary within 2 years. She chose a better career path (management) and i went for Technical).
Temptation?
Yes.
It would allow me to focus on trying to get a business idea off the ground--plus I LOVE MY KIDS.
Get to stay home with them--especially at their early ages of 3 and 9 months--COOL. w00t.gif
Yet even if we go that way for awhile--thats exactly what it would be, just for awhile.
If my wife were to be cut off from spending her days with her kids for an extended length of time--she would go insane.
Why?--because working for a living is a horrible way to go through life.
She could easily move as far upward as she wished-- but she won't because it just doesn't compare in her mind with being a mother. One of her favorite jokes/complaints is about feminists having screwed it all up for the rest of women with their equality in the workplace ideas.

I bolded the first part of the quote simply because it is something I have never quite understood about how some feminists phrase their agruments when talking about glass ceilings and opening career fields to women--That somehow they are being denied the opportunity to spend their lives working. This relies on working somehow defining ones being, and that working is somehow going to be able to give definition to their lives that cannot be gained elsewhere.

As if for the majority of people who work they just love being there day in and day out. blink.gif
I have had only one job where i found it spiritually fulfilling. It lasted a year and a half and then I was laid off. All other jobs have just been cruel reminders that for the most part working for a living Sucks. Every other job has been held for one of two reasons

1. I need to eat and hate living outdoors
2. I have a family to provide for.

I don't go to work cause I want to? Exactly what does Hirschman believe women are being screwed out of? Seems to me they have had just enough access to it all to realize that it sucks and wisely are opting out of the whole deal--more power to them. The stress, the having to give respect to idiots because they hold a higher position. Having to swallow your pride and submit to jerks because you need your check. Can't miss work because you have bills to pay?

Yeah women are missing out.

This post has been edited by christopher: Dec 7 2005, 01:42 AM
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Artemise
post Dec 7 2005, 07:34 AM
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There is a lot in this article that speaks some truth. Its very extensive and covers so many aspects of the societal situation, its difficult to comment without writing a long page, but to try to be concise and Im going to comment, for the most part, as if we were talking only to women, as the article was certainly. ( and its in womens issues)

We all know that most housework and child rearing is still done today by women regardless of their education and social status. The analogy of a man asking 'where's the butter?" translation meaning "butter my toast, remember to buy butter ' and I would add 'or at least put the butter where I can find it' is true for almost all of us. In my mind there is a 'slow creep' of responsibilities that seem to fall on a womans shoulders by default in a relationship or marriage. Linda Hirshamn is right here, gender roles are very ingrained and its almost a daily struggle to correct and recorrect these misconceptions of 'take care of me' or worse 'my job and its needs are more important/demanding/tiring' so you take care of the rest/me/kids/house.

I have spent a bit of time battling these things in my own life with two step-children, HIS children from another marriage. The common outlook initially was that HE needed help with his kids, and bedamned what I needed, (like working a lot, my freetime, to go to the gym, to see friends etc) that was all supposed to be sacrificed because I was born female and my natural tendancies were supposed to just make life right for all of us. Crash! and Burn! I tried but it was a no go.
(I saw my mother turn haggish, eventually divorced for a younger woman from being spent, Im not going there.)

I have made use, as the article describes, of being a higher earner and I cant lose work so- He gets off at 4pm, I work late, so he can take care of the kids, homework, dinner, but its been a struggle because HIS MOM did all this and more when he was growing up AND held a job and his father sat on his 'this is my castle behind' and was served. That never happened in our life and he was inconsolable at first.
The women who came before us were truly saints, sometimes to their own and often our detriment. My grandmother was the only wage earner in the family during the Depression but still had to do everything and be berated for it as well.

Away from the personal to female choice and business. Perhaps we are biologically challenged. Women and men have different values, at least so far. Or maybe we are just tired, having two jobs. We are easily convinced that our place is in the home, that our children suffer without our constant care, that our careers or professional status doesnt really matter, its the children that matter of course! The children DO matter, but why mostly to us?
While feminism and equal rights and wages laws gave women equal education and 'the choice' which to me was the most important achievment, perhaps we can agree that men and male business fields, society and our own expectations of ourselves have evolved more slowly.

Im not sure if we Actually care more about child rearing than men do, above personal achievment, or if weve been socially OR biologically constructed to believe we should. Besides, who's going to do it if we dont? Which is the point of the article to some extent. Women bow out and accept this degree of responsibility readily but few men are willing to do the same. Why?

Then theres the challenge of male based business which can be more cut-throat than women are used to, right NOW. IF more women stayed in business and politics we might see great changes in the world. I think women have fantastic business saavy, more people oriented, more progressive other than productivity or the bottom line, and much less corrupt. If Woman is a civilizing force upon society, just imagine what she can do in the business and political world, when, and only when she is close to 50% represented. Right now women are forced to play by a male set of rules for the most part and this carries certain hardships.

However, its only been about 30 years since women have been accepted as major players in every game. Its bound to be a tiring rollercoaster, but such a short time to have made such great strides.

Ok the question which I think is really loaded and unfair:
Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?

Of course NOT! But its important to understand that feminism gave women the choice (so many choices that it angers me that women denigrate feminists who did fight for all those rights) The vote, reproductive rights, equal wage for equal work, an end to sweat shops and child labor laws to name a few.
A woman with children today, CAN go to her man and say "I want to work", lets make a deal, and she can be hired for an equal wage for equal work, whether she chooses day care, social work, a bookstore or go back to being a high powered lawyer, doctor or executive. Thats the achievment, so far. Im quite happy with the choice perogative and equal pay for equal work. If womens biology or social construct makes them choose to stay at home, they have the option and know the consequences at this point in time to their carreer. That was the deal. Could it be better? Yes, but not right now in a country as large and competative as the US.


Lastly I have to adress your comments Christopher.

QUOTE
One of her favorite jokes/complaints is about feminists having screwed it all up for the rest of women with their equality in the workplace ideas.


I am astounded beyond belief at this assertion. Think about what is being said here. Without feminism we would not see women in any sector of business or politics. Men would rule the planet wholly and entirely and women would be relegated to the home without choice, the burkha of western society. I realize its a joke, but I think its a glass half empty look at the possibility of womens lives.

QUOTE
I don't go to work cause I want to? Exactly what does Hirschman believe women are being screwed out of? Seems to me they have had just enough access to it all to realize that it sucks and wisely are opting out of the whole deal--more power to them. The stress, the having to give respect to idiots because they hold a higher position. Having to swallow your pride and submit to jerks because you need your check. Can't miss work because you have bills to pay?


Work when you are young does often suck, but its a discipline for greater things to come in life. Being part of society, doing work that contributes, a sense of personal achievement and growth comes with time. Not working with age, begins to feel like losing; not making the best of ones abilities, wasting time.
The best thing to do is find a work you are suited for and love and put your energies there.

QUOTE
Yeah women are missing out.


I think you underestimate the situation.

For some reason the 'slavery' issue comes to mind. Women might be taken care of and 'only' have to be stay at home moms, so why would they want the challenges and stress of the greater world?
Well, because they can, as men consider themselves more than just fathers but contributing members of society.
It comes with time. I can be reasonably sure that it will come for your woman as well.
The ultimate in life is not to be coddled and supported (Victorian), but for most women- to be the best they can be, whether that be motherhood for a time and eventually otherwise, but I want to say that Motherhood is no easy living.

This world needs women active in society at all levels and in high powered positions especially in order to survive, because the perspective that women bring is spiritually important in order not to let men destroy this planet and all its living things in the name of progress or conquest.
The need for female participation and representation is imminent and necessary, in my opinion. Im not too happy about how its going without our 52% input so far.

This post has been edited by Artemise: Dec 7 2005, 09:18 AM
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bucket
post Dec 7 2005, 02:08 PM
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QUOTE(Artemise)
Of course NOT! But its important to understand that feminism gave women the choice (so many choices that it angers me that women denigrate feminists who did fight for all those rights) The vote, reproductive rights, equal wage for equal work, an end to sweat shops and child labor laws to name a few. 
A woman with children today, CAN go to her man and say "I want to work", lets make a deal, and she can be hired for an equal wage for equal work, whether she chooses day care, social work, a bookstore or go back to being a high powered lawyer, doctor or executive. Thats the achievment, so far. Im quite happy with the choice perogative and equal pay for equal work. If womens biology or social construct makes them choose to stay at home, they have the option and know the consequences at this point in time to their carreer. That was the deal. Could it be better? Yes, but not right now in a country as large and competative as the US.


That is not really what the article argues. Hirshman says that if as a woman you are given the choice to have a high powered career and represent and fight for all the underprivileged woman of the world or to stay at home and be mommy that to choose the latter is to make no choice at all. To not choose or recognize your duty to the "cause" is to not only diminish the cause but to in some way go against it. She calls it "choice feminist." And your argument that we have all been given a choice to pursue what ever path or life we desire is the exact argument she is disputing. She claims such language adopted..about how it is a choice... has in fact stalled the feminist movement.


I think that is ridiculous because mostly Hirshman as christopher noted is so deluded with this concept of work defining who we are and what we do and the definement of modern roles versus traditional roles that you have to wonder would she claim women teachers or nurses or secretaries were choosing to "opt out" of feminism too? And because she seems to not understand that not everyone is a born leader or even participant in the corporate world and that does not negate or diminish their roles in our society.

But lastly her most ridiculous argument that made me truly realize that she must not have any connection or insight into the world of mommies is that she believes..."mix in the successful conservative cultural campaign to reinforce traditional gender roles and youíve got a perfect recipe for feminismís stall."

Conservative? As she never heard of the AP movement? Or the Natural Parenting movements? Because the women who I find most ardently and passionately argue for the need for the mother to stay home and not only reinforce the gender role but to further elaborate it and recognize their role as something above and beyond just a "necessary part of life" are the more liberal leaning mommies. Often termed feminazis because of their extreme stances on Breast Feeding etc. Attached Parenting or Natural Parenting from my own experience is a decidedly liberal belief that is practiced and preached by the more educated, elite, liberal women Hirshman focuses on in her article. The fact she did not address this movement or new approach and change in mommy culture is very very telling. She has no idea, not one clue, as to what mommy culture is..so essential she has no idea what a good portion..her numbers not mine... approx. 60% ...of women who are "opting out" of feminism believe and why they do it.

This post has been edited by bucket: Dec 7 2005, 02:10 PM
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Syfir
post Dec 7 2005, 03:04 PM
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This has always been a rather sore spot for me. I think that many of the hardcore "feminists" are some of the worst hypocrites alive today.

It is interesting that these feminists can not seem to understand why they have "failed" in the womens lib movement.

They use terms such as "free women" "give women control" "let women choose" and then when women are "freed" "have control of their lives" and then choose to be stay at home mothers they call them "drop outs" "slaves" and bemoan their loss of an uplifting life.

Bull Pucky. Let me repeat that. BULL PUCKY!

Feminists "care" about these so called drop outs. "We care" they say "because what they do is bad for them [and] is certainly bad for society [...] (from the linked article in the original post)

Basically they have said, "Okay this is what a good little girl should do and this is what she shouldn't" "This is what provides good personal progress and this is what doesn't"

When the woman uses her hard won freedom of choice that their predecessors won for them, they scream that she didn't choose what they wanted her to and so her choice is not valid.

Huh? hmmm.gif

1. Men tell us what to do and be = wrong
2. We tell other women what to do and be = right

Um. Sorry but no. Doesn't work for me.

1. Woman uses her free will to decide to do what we think is good = CORRECT
2. Woman uses her free will to decide to do what we think is bad = WRONG.

Basically these women have taken the role they despised in men and just switched who gives the orders. Then they feel that they have the moral high ground.

In reading the Linda Hirshman article I saw some interesting points and I saw a woman trying to force her idea of a perfect fulfilling life on everyone else.

In my family my mother was a housewife, my two married sisters are housewifes, and my sister in law is a housewife. Both of my sisters graduated as their class valedictorian. My younger sister graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree. My older sister is just finishing up an English degree.

Both of my sisters and my mother are mature, socially well adjusted, "fulfilled" women.

I can just hear the cry "Ooh you don't understand. You're a man and obviously biased towards women being in the home."

Just because I am a man doesn't mean I am stupid and can't weigh both sides of the argument. I know that some women want to work and have careers. More power to them. I'm not married yet but yes, I would like to have a wife who would prefer being a housewife. Notice I said "prefer" I am not going to force my future wife into a role she is not happy in.

I have seen women forced to be housewifes who were miserable. I understand that not all women are cut out to be a housewife. I have a friend who stays home while his wife works. That is a perfectly legitimate choice. What I can not under stand is women (and men) who look down on those who made a perfectly legitimate choice to be a housewife.

I denounce people as narrow minded who think that "The family -- with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks -- is a necessary part of life, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government" It may be that way for you but it isn't for anyone.

Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?

Absolutely not. I feel that the "feminist movement" dishonors itself by thinking that staying at home to raise a family is selfish and not a valid choice. They fought to give the women a choice and then they chastise them when they make that choice.

And what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more educated women are leaving the workforce?

Honestly I don't know.

If they are being forced out because the company does not want them then that is wrong and should change.

If they are simply choosing to leave on their own for their own reasons (such as raising a family) then no one, not even the feminist movement, has the right to deny them that.
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moif
post Dec 7 2005, 03:05 PM
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Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?

No I don't, but then I'm not a woman so my understanding of feminism may be biased.
I prefer to think of people as individuals though. Not all women conform to the same character simply because they are women. Women are as diverse and different as its humanly possible to be, probably more so than men I'd say.

I'd also take issue with the idea that being of a gender some how means one owes allegience to it. For my part I hate being told what it is to be a man, what it means or how to. I find it especially annoying when my 'manhood' is judged by other people's perceptions.

Were I a woman I would tell Linda Hirshman to mind her own business.


And what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more educated women are leaving the workforce?

I have no idea but I would imagine there are multiple reasons and not necessarily inter-related.

I think the biggest problem with our lives today though, is the sheer weight of obligations we are burdened with. Raising children has never been so hard or expensive as it is today. The multitude of obligation and social authority that must be obeyed when one has a child is amazing.

And its the same in the corporate world. For many people, their job takes up all their time and they simply don't have the time or the energy to have to deal with raising a child at the same time.

For a woman with a career, having a baby as well means she has no more time to herself. All her energy and resources go towards other people. If she's very lucky, she may have a man who will share the burden, perhaps even voluntarily, but this, I find, is not common, not even in Denmark where men are universally praised for their willingness to help rear their children.

So I think a lot of women probably reach the point where they have to decide which they'd rather have, the chance at a career or motherhood, both are long term commitments with ample rewards and pitfalls and both have huge implications in how we perceive ourselves.

When facing such a choice I find it unusual and surprising that some people (like this Hirshman person) actually expect others to make their decision on the basis of what may be good for all women rather than for themselves.

As a man I am profoundly satisfied that my masculinity is not so easily defined by other people's ideology!



edited to rewrite a confusing sentence

This post has been edited by moif: Dec 7 2005, 03:10 PM
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Julian
post Dec 7 2005, 03:18 PM
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Good questions, Bucket (Where does your handle come from, by the way? biggrin.gif )

Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?

Not really, no. Maybe the vaguard of feminists wanted to reverse society so that men became subordinate and women became dominant, but I think the mainstream only ever wanted to have the choice to have a serious and successful career.

That many women still do not have that choice - in most cases in the West these days, this usually means they cannot afford not to go out to work - just indicates that the work is not yet done.

That some wealthy educated women choose motherhood and 'homemaking' indicates that the choice is still open, if only with wealth-dependent restrictions (Let's remember this is an option biologically, not just socially, denied to men, in childbearing at least).

And what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more educated women are leaving the workforce?

Much the same cause that makes many educated men choose to 'downshift' and opt out of the corporate rat race - it isn't especially fulfilling or enjoyable for many people, and is becoming somewhat less so with time, as demands from business on time and personal commitment increase, just as personal demands for work/life balance and personal freedom also increase.

The focus of the first few waves of feminism has been changing government, in the hopes of changing wider society. The law changes are in place and society is still shifting towards full equality.

Capitalism, on the other hand, has carried on pretty much regardless. It doesn't care who works for it, as long as they behave as if it is all that matters and all other concerns are secondary. The tricky bit will be to modify capitalism constructively while still keeping the dynamism that pays for everything. It shouldn't be impossible, but it won't be very cooperative, because it will involve some short term costs (the thing capitalism hates more than anything else).

If I were to be more critical of feminism itself, my understanding was that it hoped eventually to make wider society more 'female'.

In this - and especially in the world of business, and especially in an America where the market is seen as all-powerful and off-limits to interference - feminism has not yet succeeded (I hesitate to say that it's failed; as someone mentioned, it was only ever likely to change once about 50% of decision makers were women, and we've never got close to that).

Women have generally found that to succeed, they have to become like men have traditonally been - often placing professional obligations above all else. Women have tried to do this, and many have found it is just not what they want.

Welcome to our world, ladies. dry.gif

Unlike you, most of us men don't have the choice to opt out of it to have babies. We just have to grin and bear it, especially if our educated wives decide to opt out in favour of motherhood and domesticity.

Don't give up now, though. When you eventually do succeed, the chances are most men will find their lives become a whole lot better too.

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Eeyore
post Dec 7 2005, 03:47 PM
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Oh what a poor bashed word feminism is. In any ism you have moderates (reforms) and radicals (revolutionaries) and I think that revolutionaries tend to get much of the press because they are entertaining. I think that Betty Friedan won the women's rights movement and that society turned into a society of opportunity for women. For radical feminists there is still a male hierarchy to be overthrown and destroyed. To stop fighting and to stating living inside the new freedoms of the post-feminist era is to sell out, to lay down your weapons until the old paradigm is demolished and all of the restrictions and limitations on women in society are removed. Just the language of feminist versus mommies? Talk about losing he battle before it has begun. In almost an debate that is something vs. mommies expect most people to side with the mommies. As far as the economic rewards for child care, the pay for daddies has not as far as I see it, risen dramatically in recent years,

I count myself as a feminist. And I think most people in this country are, as long as hey don't have to actually call themselves the nearly-hated term, 'feminist.' Ask a group of people to free associate after receiving the prompt, feminism. The words that come out will overwhelmingly be negative 99 times out of 100. (I have been doing this for 15 years in classes.)

feminism (dictionary.com)

QUOTE
To another crowd read the definition of feminism to people and ask for responses.

Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
The movement organized around this belief.


Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?

I think staying at home and raising the children, knowing that it is possible that your husband or significant other might also do this, or that childcare could be arranged and one could work in a fulltime career, is a celebration of feminism.


And what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more educated women are leaving the workforce?

I think wealth is causing the trend. If we had a big pile of money both of us would work a lot less. If one of us could make enough money to allow the other the freedom to stay at home (and use childcare when necessary) we would opt that way. I see the value of my wife's career for her, but I think she would prefer to take a sabbatical for a couple of years and spend more time with our three children. I teach so I can spend more time with my children during whatever breaks I can afford not to get supplemental employment during. I would negotiate for fewer responsiblities if I had the economic security to do so.

I also think the workforce is becoming a less and less attractive place to be.

We do have a society that still does not dole out nurturing responsibilities equally. Part of that is biological and a lot of it is social expectations. The problem with feminism is that it leads too many women down the superwoman path. That they need to work harder at work to get ahead and that they are left with more than half of the hard work at home more often than not. Even under full equity in role sharing in lower level economic homes is becomes very hard to give large amounts of time to parenting.

I think the option not to work is very attractive whether one has children or not. But I think I would always be doing something. The time I spend here tells me that.
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Paladin Elspeth
post Dec 9 2005, 07:22 AM
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Thank you for the topic, bucket! thumbsup.gif

Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?

I have been a working mom, and also a stay-at-home mom.

If it means striving to provide children with a better quality of life, it is not exactly selfishness, in my opinion, to stay home to raise your child, but there are definitely rewards.

We each must examine our own motives for staying at home with the kids vs. working for a paycheck. What is our primary reason for what we do? Is it for a feeling of personal accomplishment, or something to boast about at a cocktail party (to satisfactorily answer the question, "And what do you do?"), or is it because we feel that the choice is based on what is expected of us?

I would assert that it is just as wrong to "honor" the feminist movement and remain in the workforce as it would be to "conform" to the traditional motherly role by relinquishing a career if it is merely to fulfill the expectations of others.

We are responsible for ourselves and also for the consequences of our choices that our families experience. Men are also responsible for themselves and the consequences of their choices as well.

It is a gift to have the freedom to decide whether to work or not. Too often our financial circumstances dictate what we must do.

The whole idea of the feminist movement was for women to have a choice in their lifestyle. For this reason, I'm not sure that a woman who decides to stay home to raise her children dishonors feminism at all.


And what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more educated women are leaving the workforce?

It is less than satisfying to have the day care provider witness and participate in the milestones of your child's development rather than to be there yourself. (Although, I will always be grateful to Colleen for all the work potty training our daughter so long ago! shifty.gif ) It certainly is frustrating to have your child coming down with the same headcold--again--that the other children have been passing around in day care.

And what, other than having someone to inherit your stuff, is the purpose of having children if they are going to be raised by someone else?

In addition, it has been brought up by another poster that some jobs just aren't that satisfying. I would hasten to add that even jobs held by women with more education may not pay that well when the hassles associated with them are taken into consideration.

When you come right down to it, the time you spend with those you love can be frustrating, but it is usually far more rewarding than the time you spend at the workplace.
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whyshouldi
post Dec 9 2005, 08:33 AM
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Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?

I feel that most the harder perceptions surrounding this issue is probably some form of human nature at work. It seems any group that has to fight for something then produces extremists in some form. I think this holds true in regards to most any group you can find, or some banner in which people gather under. Furthermore, I think if such was understood, and combated before such a thing as a feminist movement, or a black power movement as another example found need for creation, that such would not be around. Remember that women had to fight to be able to vote and obtain work in this country, and that such really was not that long ago really. So with that in mind, I take such statements with a grain of salt I guess, as long as women are free to pursue the same opportunities overall as humans in America all should have really, barring serious genetic reasons, or some form of criminal behavior, I feel its just an extreme position being voiced.


And what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more educated women are leaving the workforce?

I donít know if you can call it a trend yet, I would have to wait for some more time to pass and see if such continues still. My personal opinion on why more women may be staying at home now, maybe its just terrorism, or maybe is because Bush is in office, I donít really know. Something like this could go up and down really over a decade I imagine.
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bucket
post Dec 9 2005, 02:18 PM
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QUOTE(Eeyore)
Just the language of feminist versus mommies? Talk about losing he battle before it has begun. In almost an debate that is something vs. mommies expect most people to side with the mommies.


Well I chose that language on purpose, obviously, but not for the reasons you suspect. Those who are disappointed by the women who purposefully and willingly "opt out" and stay home with their children most often use this word against them. As in you just wanna stay home and play mommy etc.

So yes it is a loaded word and it is used as an emotional tool but that tool is used against the mommies as much as it is for them.


I have another article to offer if anyone is interested ...
The stay-at-home mystique
There is a quote in it that shows the word mommy is not always used endearingly and more or less a slur.
n October, Times tornado Maureen Dowd blew through with a book excerpt alleging that post-feminist women were moving in reverse -- toward husbands and housewifery -- with such alacrity that we would soon have a population of Ativan-popping suburban mommies.
You think mommies is meant in this kindest way possible?

This post has been edited by bucket: Dec 9 2005, 03:40 PM
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Vibiana
post Dec 9 2005, 05:48 PM
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"Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?"

The "feminist movement" isn't the important thing. Raising children is, or should be, if you choose to do it. If the "feminist movement" were giving the 2 AM feeding and changing funky diapers, that would be one thing. Since they're not ...

"what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more educated women are leaving the workforce?"

I think more and more women are getting hip to the truth, which is, you cannot "have it all" -- at least, not all at the same time. Babies and small children are nothing if not labor-intensive. When both members of a couple work and there are kids in the house, it's a never-ending rat race, and day care costs can eat up most of one salary. This being the case, it doesn't surprise me that so many mothers opt to stay home.

Speaking as a former member -- and chapter officer -- of my local NOW group (granted, this was a couple of decades ago), I think some feminists need to put a sock in it. If the whole movement is about choices -- well, some people are going to make choices you wouldn't. Get over yourself.
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doomed_planet
post Dec 10 2005, 03:41 PM
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Do you feel opting to stay home and raise your kids and not to wage the
battle in the trenches is selfish and dishonors the "feminist movement"?


Not at all. My belief is that each woman needs to do what makes her happy,
and stop worrying about how other women and men view her choices.
Being a strong woman means you are doing what is right for you, and at the
same time, being a responsible and loving parent. Staying at home with
kids is harder (in my opinion) than going out into the workforce and having
someone else care for your child. So, for people to judge stay-at-home moms
as if they've got it easier; those people have NO CLUE!

And what do you believe is the cause for the trend that more and more
educated women are leaving the workforce?


I think women are realizing that the grass isn't greener on the other side.
Having a career and other personal accomplishments is important, but it's
nowhere near the value of being a hands-on, very involved parent. Kids
grow up so fast. My oldest son will be eight in January and I don't know
where the time went. crying.gif

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Victoria Silverw...
post Dec 13 2005, 07:47 AM
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The questions for debate distort the point of the article greatly. It really makes one simple point, which is difficult to contest. Although feminism has made great gains in the "public" world, it has made only minimal gains in the "private" world.

So, to answer your first question for debate, the only possible answer is "No, of course not. And nobody claims it is." This is a pure straw woman.

The article is not talking about being "selfish" at all. It is a clear warning. Society still expects women to take the responsibility for housekeeping and child care.

In particular, consider housekeeping. I doubt that many people really enjoy scrubbing floors. Why, then, is it considered normal for women to do the majority of housework? Why is this unpleasant but necessary part of life not divided up more-or-less equally?

As far as child care goes, some people love it. I'm darned if I can understand why. It seems like a living hell to me. For those who enjoy it, I ask a very simple question. Why is it still considered weird for men to choose to devote most of their energies to child care? The simple answer is that men are desperately in need of feminism -- more so than women, in many ways -- to give them the same choices that women now enjoy.

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bucket
post Dec 13 2005, 01:59 PM
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QUOTE(Victoria Silverwolf)

The questions for debate distort the point of the article greatly.  It really makes one simple point, which is difficult to contest.  Although feminism has made great gains in the "public" world, it has made only minimal gains in the "private" world.

So, to answer your first question for debate, the only possible answer is "No, of course not.  And nobody claims it is."  This is a pure straw woman.


I never claimed this debate was solely and entirely based on Hirshman's article..I said it was inspired from a online debate I have been following..
But I have been following a very heated debate amongst female bloggers

I disagree as I believe the point of the article mainly is that "choice feminism" has failed. Her belief that women are still expected to play the traditional gender role at home is just proof of her thesis..that "choice feminism" is not enough.

What Hirshman ignores is that our biological responsibilities are not chosen. What choice do we have there? I doubt pregnant women who take the six weeks of time off what once, twice, three times will see as much work (which leads to economical) advancement as men who don't have the responsibility of giving birth. So families are often forced..again what choices?...to pursue or rely on the man's work and economic advancement over the woman's.

She also never addresses the fact that the workforce most often demands for women to not partake or play their traditional gender roles...what kind of choice is that?

My cousin who is hoping to receive tenure at LSU next year has shared with me her many inequalities she has experienced in her all male department. When she married her advisor told her that he certainly hoped she was not planning on getting pregnant...you believe a man would have the same concerns expressed?..gee I sure hope your not going to impregnate that wife of yours. No. Because men don't have babies women do. It is not a choice.

QUOTE
In particular, consider housekeeping.  I doubt that many people really enjoy scrubbing floors.  Why, then, is it considered normal for women to do the majority of housework?  Why is this unpleasant but necessary part of life not divided up more-or-less equally?

I am also sure most people don't enjoy working outside in the rain, the snow, the unbearable heat working endessly ...why are most construction workers men? Why isn't this labor ..a necessary of our lives and enjoyed comforts.. not divided up equally amongst genders?

QUOTE
As far as child care goes, some people love it.  I'm darned if I can understand why.  It seems like a living hell to me.  For those who enjoy it, I ask a very simple question.  Why is it still considered weird for men to choose to devote most of their energies to child care?  The simple answer is that men are desperately in need of feminism -- more so than women, in many ways -- to give them the same choices that women now enjoy.


Child care? That sounds so institutionalized...it is parenting. And thanks for telling us how you really feel about what nearly 80% of women in this country do. I think you could have found a less inflammatory way of expressing yourself..but maybe you made the choice not to.

And my husband does parent our children and he does enjoy it..as much as I..and providing for his children and caring for them the best means possible is what he devotes most of his energies to.

Personally I don't find that weird and I wish society would act more harshly and judgemental to the men who more often than women shirk their responsibilities to their children. Fact is society as a whole...not just individuals in the privacy of their homes..view the woman's role in parenting as more important or sacred and men are often excused for their lack of interest or desire.


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Victoria Silverw...
post Dec 14 2005, 07:14 AM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Dec 13 2005, 09:59 AM)
QUOTE(Victoria Silverwolf)

The questions for debate distort the point of the article greatly.† It really makes one simple point, which is difficult to contest.† Although feminism has made great gains in the "public" world, it has made only minimal gains in the "private" world.

So, to answer your first question for debate, the only possible answer is "No, of course not.† And nobody claims it is."† This is a pure straw woman.


I never claimed this debate was solely and entirely based on Hirshman's article..I said it was inspired from a online debate I have been following..
But I have been following a very heated debate amongst female bloggers

I disagree as I believe the point of the article mainly is that "choice feminism" has failed. Her belief that women are still expected to play the traditional gender role at home is just proof of her thesis..that "choice feminism" is not enough.

What Hirshman ignores is that our biological responsibilities are not chosen. What choice do we have there? I doubt pregnant women who take the six weeks of time off what once, twice, three times will see as much work (which leads to economical) advancement as men who don't have the responsibility of giving birth. So families are often forced..again what choices?...to pursue or rely on the man's work and economic advancement over the woman's.

She also never addresses the fact that the workforce most often demands for women to not partake or play their traditional gender roles...what kind of choice is that?

My cousin who is hoping to receive tenure at LSU next year has shared with me her many inequalities she has experienced in her all male department. When she married her advisor told her that he certainly hoped she was not planning on getting pregnant...you believe a man would have the same concerns expressed?..gee I sure hope your not going to impregnate that wife of yours. No. Because men don't have babies women do. It is not a choice.


It seems to me that the problem here is the brutality of competition in the workplace, which forces people to choose between a career and the rest of life. Until this changes, both men and women will be miserable.

QUOTE
QUOTE
In particular, consider housekeeping.† I doubt that many people really enjoy scrubbing floors.† Why, then, is it considered normal for women to do the majority of housework?† Why is this unpleasant but necessary part of life not divided up more-or-less equally?

I am also sure most people don't enjoy working outside in the rain, the snow, the unbearable heat working endessly ...why are most construction workers men? Why isn't this labor ..a necessary of our lives and enjoyed comforts.. not divided up equally amongst genders?


Absolutely! There is no reason why these difficult and unpleasant and high-paying jobs should be limited to men. (Which raises the question of why the difficult and unpleasant job of housekeeping isn't highly paid, even for those who make a career out of it.)

QUOTE
QUOTE
As far as child care goes, some people love it.† I'm darned if I can understand why.† It seems like a living hell to me.† For those who enjoy it, I ask a very simple question.† Why is it still considered weird for men to choose to devote most of their energies to child care?† The simple answer is that men are desperately in need of feminism -- more so than women, in many ways -- to give them the same choices that women now enjoy.




Child care? That sounds so institutionalized...it is parenting. And thanks for telling us how you really feel about what nearly 80% of women in this country do. I think you could have found a less inflammatory way of expressing yourself..but maybe you made the choice not to.


Let me say that there was no intent on my part to offend parents anywhere. All I was trying to say is that I would be extremely unhappy as a parent. I know this, without a trace of doubt. That puts me in a tiny minority. Fine. For those who enjoy being parents, great. More power to you.

QUOTE
And my husband does parent our children and he does enjoy it..as much as I..and providing for his children and caring for them the best means possible is what he devotes most of his energies to. 

Personally I don't find that weird and I wish society would act more harshly and judgemental to the men who more often than women shirk their responsibilities to their children.  Fact is society as a whole...not just individuals in the privacy of their homes..view the woman's role in parenting as more important or sacred and men are often excused for their lack of interest or desire.


I totally agree with all of this, and this was actually the main point I was trying to make. This is what remains to be changed. Once society as a whole reaches some kind of balance between the workplace and the rest of life, everybody will have more choices.

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