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to feel short changed by feminism?

(310 Posts)
ThroughTheRoundWindow Sat 03-Sep-11 21:09:12

So here's the thing. Back in the day the young women of the baby boom generation demanded the choice to work or care for their babies. some of them went out to work, and because their families had two incomes they could afford to spend more on their houses and on filling them with consumer goods.

But more families with more money pushed up the price of houses.

Roll on a generation and it is impossible to afford a mortgage on one moderate income. To pay for a house you both need to work. Well that isn't true, we could have either bought a ex-council house on a dodgy estate, or I could have married a much richer man. (But we couldn't bring ourselves to raise a child on an estate and I fell in love with a council employee).

Had a been born a generation earlier my husband's local government salary would have paid for our modest house in an unfashionable suburb and I could (if I had chosen) have given up work to care full time for our family. Instead I have no choice - I have to return to work and leave my baby in daycare.

Without feminism I could have done what comes most naturally to me and been a homemaker. Feminism stole that option from me. Now I have to leave my baby to be raised by a stranger and go out to work in a job I care nothing for and get nothing (except a salary) from.

Ok, a little maudlin from too much beer, but someone explain to me why I am genuinely unreasonable to feel this way?

SequinsAndSparkles Sat 03-Sep-11 21:23:07

YANBU. You made some good points there.

Crosshair Sat 03-Sep-11 21:25:42

I like my ex-council house. wink

YANBU.

ViviPru Sat 03-Sep-11 21:27:31

A refreshing take

noblegiraffe Sat 03-Sep-11 21:27:36

Without feminism I couldn't have done what I wanted and comes most naturally to me. And got decently paid for it. And I've have been stuck at home conforming to a gender role which just isn't me. So hurrah for feminism.

smelli Sat 03-Sep-11 21:27:40

Here's another scenario: feminism didn't happen, so every woman has an extra child from 1970 until now. The children grow up and produce yet more children. The price of houses spirals out of control with the excessive demand.

YABU: the problem isn't feminism, it's a shortage of housing and property companies sitting on huge landbanks til things look better.

Lobby your MP to punitively tax development companies who do not develop land they own rather than blaming the women who gave us the right to say no and (when we want to) say yes.

BakeliteBelle Sat 03-Sep-11 21:34:28

Well before the wave of feminism that encouraged middle class women back into careers once they had children, lots of working class women worked their butts off in factories and mills, while the grandparents looked after the children.

I don't think it is double incomes that have forced house prices up; it is probably more to do with the fact that we now borrow so much and can therefore take out huge mortgages. Plus the increasing gap between high earners and low and the dire lack of social housing being built. And the disgusting price of rented housing which makes it cheaper to own your own home or just stay in a benefits trap.

Surely it's just too simplistic to blame feminism?

marriedinwhite Sat 03-Sep-11 21:36:41

And a generation before the one where you and dh could have bought a nice house and you could have given up work, you, dh and baby would have had a room in one of your parents' houses or a couple of squalid rented rooms in a multiple occupancy house.

Not sure that feminism was/is the problem. I'm 50 now and my mother worked and my grandmother worked and not one of us is or was a feminist. I had 8 years as a sahm but only because we had our first child when I was 34 and I had earnt a lot of money in my own right and had bought my own house in London as a single woman. Didn't go to university either because even in the late 70s only a minority did.

MmmmmCake Sat 03-Sep-11 21:36:53

dont be a sheep

if you want to stay home and look after your baby, do it

i did. Never had a penny in benefits either except CB. I would have hated to be away from my children all day every day and them dumped on strangers, no I wouldnt have done it - end of. I would rather have not had kids

MarniesMummy Sat 03-Sep-11 21:37:52

Or in a different take to Smelli, feminism happened but the systematic culling of the family (and that includes immediate and what we now call extended family but probably just used to be family) hasn't happened and families tend to live together cos Thatcher hasn't convinced us that home ownership is everything. Consequently, child care is easier as your family are likely to be geographically closer to you but if you fancy being at home that's probably also an option...

I don't know, I know jack all about politics and don't want to argue the toss (Just fancied a jab at Thatcher the milk snatcher (Thanks Maggie, I blooming hated school milk!) being in the 'wrong side of two halves of cider' state that I am.

hoovercraft Sat 03-Sep-11 21:39:31

Easy to say mmmcake. Were you the main income earner? I am.

MarniesMummy Sat 03-Sep-11 21:40:36

Gosh! Cross post (sort of) with everyone since Smelli.
You're all sooo much more eloquent than me!

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Sat 03-Sep-11 21:41:49

YABU
Capitalism, conservatism and global economics took that choice from you. (Actually, you still have that choice, you just 'can't bear to raise children on a council estate' Boohoo)

blaming feminism? What a fucking liberty.

SybilBeddows Sat 03-Sep-11 21:45:03

Before feminism, women didn't stay at home in some kind of Cath Kidston paradise, they worked - with the exception of relatively few middle class ones - at the more shitty and less well paid jobs.

ThroughTheRoundWindow Sat 03-Sep-11 21:45:27

Smelli. The price of property is caused by how much people are willing and able to spend as well as pressure of demand. More people in the country, but couples living on one salary would not necessarily have lead to the same boom in prices that we have seen over the last two decades.

What is more, the general shortage of housing isn't so much to do with not enough houses being built but people living alone, and people buying to rent. (Which is a whole other rant).

None of which changes my problem of not being able to make the choice I would like to be able to make. If I had a well-paid job in something I loved like Noblegiraffe then I wouldn't mind that this choice had been taken away. But I don't and as a result recognise how trapped we all are. Women wanted the choice to work or not work, but it isn't a choice any more. We have to work. So what did feminism win us?

fastweb Sat 03-Sep-11 21:49:43

the vote

husbands not being carte blanche to rape or batter us

far further along the road towards equal access to educational and work opportunities

paid maternity leave

little stuff like that

Euphemia Sat 03-Sep-11 21:50:12

What smelli said.

marriedinwhite Sat 03-Sep-11 21:50:44

It won us equality. You have chosen to have a) a house, b) a house that is not ex local authority, c) to facilitate those choices you have chosen to work. You could have chosen ex local authority or a flat if it were so important to you to stay at home and look after your children. Very few people can have everything. I think you need to view your glass as half full rather than half empty.

itisnotacompetitionyouknow Sat 03-Sep-11 21:54:54

YANBU. I often think the same thing.

itisnotacompetitionyouknow Sat 03-Sep-11 21:56:02

Also, many women working outside the home still fulfill the role of woman within the home, so we have the worst of both worlds in my opinion.

marriedinwhite Sat 03-Sep-11 21:57:14

I agreed with your itsnotacompetitionyouknow. That's why I have never been a feminist.

ThroughTheRoundWindow Sat 03-Sep-11 21:57:39

Ok, couple of people have mentioned the long view of history and that is fair. Women have always worked one way or another, but somehow they also had a chance to raise their children too? Or have we always been screwed in this way? It feels like I've been lied to.

EricNOrthmansMistressOfPotions this particular estate is officially one of the worst in the country. I'm really not being that snotty. Where do you choose to live?

stitchthis Sat 03-Sep-11 22:03:09

Isn't it economics? More families bought houses because we are conditioned to want to own our homes which pushed up prices this, coupled with the increase in personal debt due to increased acceptance of consumerism means we need/want more income. Don't get me wrong, I feel trapped by it all too but feminism saved us from unwanted pregnancy, exploitation at work and has given us a generation of DPs who are at least familiar with how a cooker works. Yay feminism.

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Sat 03-Sep-11 22:03:21

Women who had to work weren't able to raise their children in the way you imagine they did, or the way you would like to. They met their DCs' basic care needs themselves or relatives (or older DDs) did. They didn't have hours to play, or read, or take them to soft play. They worked outside the home and inside the home, 12-14 hours a day.

Women who didn't have to work would have paid another woman to look after their children. Probably a woman whose children were at home being looked after by granny or older sister.

By the way - I work, but strangely I also manage to raise my son, even if I have to get help to look after him for some of the week.

I choose to live in a rented house miles away from where I work and where my friends and family live, because I can't afford to live in the city. So? I make my own choices for my own reasons. I can tell you I'd jump at a council house.

Honestly - blaming feminism for the housing crisis! Ha haha! Ridiculous.

fastweb Sat 03-Sep-11 22:03:56

Both my grwat grandmother and my grandmother left their babies to go to work as son as they could. The family needed the income.

My mother did not, but that was mainly becuade the RAF kicked her out when she married my father (a pilot) and quaters cost nothin like the usual going rate for accomadation.

These days she wouldn't be kicked out of the airforce and she would be entitled to paid maternity leave. She might even have been allowed to fly rather than be relagated to the typing pool.

I give over my childhood with her at home for her to have had those opportunities rather than the ones she got stuck with.

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