Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Thoughts from a feminist

I've been thinking about two recent issues from the news.

First, the mommy wars. Is it a feminist statement for American women to choose NOT to have a job?

And second, the gender ratio in India. Have millions of female fetuses been aborted during the past ten years?

How are these two issues connected, you may ask?

The mommy wars make me angry. They say it's about choice. The so-called Stay At Home Moms admit that they are lucky that they have the money to Choose to be a mommy instead of a person. Why is it a choice for mommies but doesn't appear to be debated much in the daddy community?

And when society continues to value sons more than daughters and you mix that with another type of Choice it gets pretty ugly.

Go ahead. Argue with me. Bring it on.


mk99 said...

The comment, "mommy instead of person" bothers me. Maybe I am tainted as a non-mother so I feel ultrasensitive to those references.

This whole discussion has always got me riled up because as a non-mother I have always had situations in workplaces where it was assumed I didn't need to go home at a certain time, or didn't need the week between Christmas and New Year's off. I am tired of being the victim of the baby card.

Those same people roll their eyes when I take time to take an ill dog to the vet. Who are they to determine the value or definition of my family member?

Okay, I feel better now.

dottcomments said...

You bring up an excellent point -- non-parents should also have the right to choose to work or not to work. As long as they can afford to feed the dog, who should care?

It's when folks use the kid(s) as an excuse that bothers me.

Carrie said...

Alright, I wasn't going to say anything because I'm not really into bringing it on, but the "mommy instead of a person" thing has been bugging me for the last half hour. Coming from the homemaker or whatever other word you would like to use camp, I don't recall ever thinking, hey, I would like to forego my status as a person and just be a mom. For what it's worth, I don't think I'm making a political, feminist, or any other sort of statement. I'm just doing what I want and feel very fortunate to be able to do so. I am a person who has made a choice to spend 95% of my time being a mom, but I don't think that makes me not a person. I still have the same interests I did before, I just don't partake in as many as I used to. And if I was working? I think I'd be doing them even less. I am not remotely worried about losing my identity, and for that I thank people like my mom who came before me and who DID lose their identities and did go back to work to regain that sense of self. I've learned a lot, I hope, from moms who came before me, including yourself. I've learned to value what you actually want for and from yourself. I've learned to respect individual choices. I've learned that your job does not have to be your only identity. Which is a good thing considering my resume, no? So what's wrong with that?

dottcomments said...

Aha, but that's my very point. Perhaps I should have written "mommy instead of UNEMPLOYED person" to clarify that more.

I affirm every person's choice to not work. Hey, if you can afford to eat and not work then go for it.

Now, if you or I WERE in that situation and we wanted to make a political or feminist statement, what would that be?

My answer: I'd go to work.

Ok people, what would your choice be?

Carrie said...

Well that does clarify things! I am definitely currently unemployed. If I were lucky enough to be in a situation where I didn't have to work and didn't have anyone else to care for, I would definitely work or do something similar with my time! Or maybe go back to school to get a better degree to do something better with my time :)

Kath said...

I agree with your initial post 100%...nothing to argue about!

As a 'childless-by-choice' female, I work for a company that is listed in the Top 100 Best Places To Work For Mothers. They put their $ where their mouth is and are VERY VERY VERY pro-mommy. Job shares? SURE! Flex time? NO PROB! Help with adoption costs? You betcha! Does it rankle me? No, not at all.

I look at the bigger picture and yes, it is sometimes hard to do this, but it is what it is. That a company backs up their employees who chose to be parents (they are very pro-daddy, too, for what it's worth) can only be good for everyone in the long run. Happier parents=happier children. Also means lower employee turnover.

Two more points then I'm done.

An environment that caters to parents can also cater to non-parents. As a former Puppy Foster Mom, several times I asked for, and was granted, flex time to care for ailing puppies. No questions asked, was told to do what I needed to do in order to insure the puppies' health.

When I decided to relocate and move to Denver, was granted permisson to work from home AS A NON-PARENT. They said yes! I was shocked and couldn't be happier now that I get to work from home.

Bottom line, it all comes down to choice. How we want to live. How we want to parent. How we can work together for the greater good of our collective future.