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to worry that the feminism of the 1970's is erradicating feminitity...

(179 Posts)
MrsTwinks Fri 10-Jun-11 15:32:18

Im fully prepaired to be flamed... but the other thread reminded me of a conversation I had with my stepsister and cousin a while ago.

Both were career women of a sort before they had their kids and became SAHP, and were talking about how guilty it made them feel, yet SS said she loved being a mum and it was all she ever wanted. It seems to me that the attitude of our mothers (all mad feminists in my fam i'm afraid) got so engrossed in trying to have a fantastic career and being the perfect mum they lost sight of the truth that you cant have both.

I remember my mum feeling that she had to go out and have that wonderful career she was told she was entitled to (not that she wasnt dont get me wrong) contantly trying to find something that made her has fulfilled as being a homemaker because she was made to feel she was "letting the side down" by not going for a career and being a mum. Ironically shes doing the same to me now, as is being done to alot of my generation (in my fam and friends at least), we are being made to feel guilt because we DONT WANT to be career women. Homemaker has become an ugly word and makes you lazy/stupid/scrounger or whatever.

Add to that the likes of Newsnight last night where we are told putting girls in sparkly and pink clothing (nevermind cut or item or whatever) and telling them to kiss daddy goodnight is tantamount to sexualising children?!!!?? what next.. Im all against revealing clothes and all that, but seriously.. how is a little girl wearing pink sparkly clothes and kissing daddy goodnight bad?? and yet our mothers generation of feminists is telling us that its wrong. It appears to me they are telling us that being FEMININE is bad. What is wrong with the way we are made??

ok rant over, but it REALLY gets my goat that (to me) all these women are telling me its bad to want to be a STHP who has a home made dinner ready when people get home and a clean house, and whos life is more about her kids than her high powered career because I have a brain. All I wanted to be when I grew up was a mum and now Im supposed to have a new dream because someone tells me mine isnt enough and I am pandering to masocism or some such.

Please tell me i'm not the only one? or was i really born decades too late

JaneFonda Fri 10-Jun-11 15:35:13

"how is a little girl wearing pink sparkly clothes and kissing daddy goodnight bad?? and yet our mothers generation of feminists is telling us that its wrong."

...Really? You genuinely believe that ONE person's comment represents the views of an entire generation? How naive.

GeekCool Fri 10-Jun-11 15:36:19

Actually I am sometimes made to feel bad that I don't want to be a SAHM, that my entire goal in life should now be to spend every second with my incredible child.
He is incredible (Yes he - I am perpetuating the cycle apparently grin ) but I do want a career as well.

So you're not really being unreasonable no, I think whatever our choice as a mother, invariably to someone, it's the wrong one.

GeekCool Fri 10-Jun-11 15:37:25

Oh crap, before I get flamed, I am not saying the SAHM's should or do spend every second revolving around their children, more that it is the attitudes I have come accross from others before iyswm

MrsTwinks Fri 10-Jun-11 15:37:58

No but she isnt the only one with a similar opinion. Its an example.

My 4yr old goddaughter loves pink sparkly princess things, along with her aligator wellingtons, but her grandmother wont buy her anything pink or sparkly because she doesnt want to make her think she has to be a girly girl. Surely thats taking her choice from her?

Sensi Fri 10-Jun-11 15:39:20

I think it's equally as worthy and important to bring up children and to provide a nice home as it is to get lots of money. If it's something you want and can afford to do.

I don't think pink frilliness has anything to do with how we are made, more than how we are made to think by the companies peddling it. I think pink is a perfectly nice colour, but has become associated with princesses and all the connotations that and things like that bring. So now there is a backlash against it.

Kissing mummy and daddy goodnight is surely the choice of the child?

Ormirian Fri 10-Jun-11 15:39:46

Well define 'femininity' please?

EldritchCleavage Fri 10-Jun-11 15:40:08

I think it is less about feminism than about your relationship with your (overbearing) mother projecting her issues onto you. Sorry if that sounds harsh.

Really the last thing most true feminists do is denigrate the things that were traditionally 'womens' work'-most are more concerned to make sure such things are not dismissed, merely because it is women tho tend to do them.

Also, a lot of the contemprorary career women who might issue put-downs to homemakers are less feminists than status-obsessed materialists, in my experience.

I don't for one moment mean to minimise what you are struggling with (other than to say I think you've got the wrong end of teh stick about teh 'sexualising children' debate), but I just don't see this as a problem caused by feminists or feminism.

MrsTwinks Fri 10-Jun-11 15:41:26

I do. I always thought the point of female empowerment was we could chose to be whatever we want, so why is my choice to not use my intellect in a high powered career but be a SAHP and (in my outlook) enjoy my life any less valid than the other choice to have that career. Why do people who are all about female empowerement make us feel guilty for that.

allegrageller Fri 10-Jun-11 15:42:18

what I'd really like to know is why it's wrong for my 4 year old SON to like pink sparkly things. He used to and now he no longer does openly because he worked out from school that it is 'wrong'. He still has a book of 'princess songs' he likes to sing at night.

Gender stereotypes should not be compulsory any more than it shoudl be compulsory for women OR men to work or stay at home when they have children.

The blaming of some big, hairy, bra-burning 1970s feminism for all social evils gets my goat massively. Feminists fought for you and your daughter to have the vote. In countries where feminism never emerged it's still OK to rape and beat your wife. In others women aren't allowed to speak to 'strange' men in public.

Just because you are happy with a 'stereotypically' feminine lifestyle does not mean that yoiu have the right to force that on others as the 'right' choice.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 10-Jun-11 15:43:27

YABU. Femininity is alive and well - among career women as well as SAHMs.
Women have choice now. Little girls can dress in cute pink sparkles or combats, Newsnight notwithstanding. (its only the minitart clothes there's real objection to)

Don't worry your pretty little head about it.

allegrageller Fri 10-Jun-11 15:43:35

by the way I don't think 'we' are made feminine- except by a culture that gives us few other options. I think little girls today are offered even fewer options than in the evil feminist 1970s.

Hullygully Fri 10-Jun-11 15:44:14

I would never ever countenance anything like that. It is singulalrly ill-advised.

charitygirl Fri 10-Jun-11 15:44:20

Oh, I'm so worrrieeeed!

YANBU to worry that your profoundly inoffensive choices might be judged (that's the patriarchy for you) but you are totally U to blame that on women who do want to work. And 'femininity' is a bogus, inauthentic concept used to constrain women, so you might want to think a little harder there.

And 'eradicating' it? Are you fretting we might lose the ancient skills of ironing and nail-painting? grin

Oh fuck it. I'll just ask 'what is 'feminine?''

azazello Fri 10-Jun-11 15:44:43

You're not talking about either feminism or femininity though, you're talking about a judgy pants family and a random comment on Newsnight.

FWIW, DH's family are politely but obviously horrified at the fact that I work. Given DH's health is not good and I outearn him, I suggested he stayed at home instead but apparently it isn't having a SAHP, it is a SAHM. So I ignore.

ChristinedePizan Fri 10-Jun-11 15:44:54

Who's making you feel guilty? Personally I think there's a lot more guilt-tripping of women who choose to work after having children (as opposed to having to).

I would ask though what you are planning to do with yourself when your children leave home. I think it's a bit dangerous to mould your entire life around caring for other people.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 10-Jun-11 15:44:54

Who is the arbiter of 'feminism' anyway? I read some posts and think what a lot of twaddle.

I completely agree with you, OP, women should feel empowered to work outside the home or stay at home as they wish. Nobody has the right to tell them that they are wrong for their choices.

If you were born decades too late, so was I.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 10-Jun-11 15:45:17

It was a reaction to the oppression of earlier times. Women had no choice in how their lives panned out. Unless there was some independent wealth behind you it was a foregone conclusion of marriage, babies, give up your job, no point in an education - purely to survive. And even if you had wealth, getting hitched to a man meant your posessions automatically defaulted to him. Some, like you, were happy being homemakers, dinner on the table etc., etc and never bought into the career woman vibe - fair enough. But far more were banging their heads on the wall with boredom, sucking down vodka or tranquilisers, prevented by oppressive men from taking paid employment, one up from slaves.

So maybe it went too far the other way for a while and it became fashionable/peer-pressure to seek fulfilment outside the traditional home, marriage, baby set-up. But it's understandable how that happened. Today, I think we're swinging back towards the traditional somewhat with a lot of causes for concern that women are back being overlooked, trivialised or downright oppressed.

Sensi Fri 10-Jun-11 15:45:35

Why do you think pink is a feminine colour, OP?

Can you not be feminine in any colour? I can be feminine at times, but I don't think I own anything pink. I have nothing against it, I just don't think it is particularly feminine - no more than blue, green, yellow etc.

Ormirian Fri 10-Jun-11 15:47:22

You still haven't defined femininity OP. Because unless you are prepared to define what you think femininity is then how can you say that those scary hairy wimmin are doing anything to it?

EldritchCleavage Fri 10-Jun-11 15:48:20

Well, I certainly agree with you about being free to choose what we want. I didn't get my choice, through circumstance. However, I completely defend every person's right to choose whether to do paid work or childcare. They are equally valid choices, and in my experience that is what the majority of feminsits believe.

The real problem is that judging women on everything they say or do is such an ingrained part of the culture. A woman's place is in the wrong, so to speak. It seems to be a habit even many self-professed feminists can't break. But it doesn't come from feminism, so much as from patriarchy and misogyny.

MrsTwinks Fri 10-Jun-11 15:51:06

I'm not blaming them, I'm saying that some of the more outspoken in the media are trying to tell us IMO that we are doing the wrong think in not taking up every oppertunity they fought for. I vote and am thankful for that and many others, but oft times I am made to feel like I let the side down because I don't want to take the path of the career. That was my point, that surely the point of it all was TO GIVE US CHOICE

I didnt have an overbearing mother, I had a mother who constantly struggled with the women of her social circle and of her generation telling her she needed the big career and staying at home with her kids was a cop out. All I remember of her as a child was her constantly changing jobs in the search one she would be happy in. And now I see similar in my contemporaries because they feel that taking a step back is a terrible thing.

garlicbutter Fri 10-Jun-11 15:52:42

You're cross with your mum, aren't you MrsTwink grin

Don't blame me. I was/am a 1970s feminist and I am totally not trying to prevent you making glittery pink cupcakes all the day long, if you want!

Enjoy hmm

BelleDameSansMerci Fri 10-Jun-11 15:53:02

Cogito has expressed it much more eloquently than I could.

And, fwiw, (not much) pink was considered a colour for boys/men in Edwardian times - here...

ooohyouareawfulbutilikeyou Fri 10-Jun-11 15:53:40

lets eradicate daddy altogether!! lets all leave the bastards!!!

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