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SAHMs and feminism?

(27 Posts)
Sakura Tue 20-Feb-07 23:08:32

Just a small discussion. It would be interesting to hear you opinions.
Do you think that if being a SAHM was seen as a prestigious job, that was highly valued and respected by society (as it is in some societies), and was financially rewarded, that more women would choose to be a SAHM?
Do you think that even women who love working for the prestige, status, adult conversation and financial benefits to be gained by working, would be a SAHM if they could achieve those things by being a SAHM?
This is obviously related to women who choose to work, rather than having to work.
I will return to work soon part time, eventually full time but i`m wondering if I would if things were different.

beckybrastraps Tue 20-Feb-07 23:13:52

How is this about feminism?

Sakura Tue 20-Feb-07 23:24:01

SOrry yes, I mean, that if I tell people I`m a SAHM at the moment, people tend to act as though I`m `wasting my education` or even `letting down the cause`, and I feel that people would react more positively if I said I worked in finance or whatever.

beckybrastraps Tue 20-Feb-07 23:25:03

But feminism is about your choices - not how other people react to them.

Tortington Tue 20-Feb-07 23:32:23

i can't see how capitalist society could work if we financed sahps - who would do this?

i actually think it could detract from the feminist argument in that it would further divide women in particular into that constant argument we have on mumsnet where working parents feel they are being critisiced by what they see as idealist sahms who can portray the ideal of a perfect mother being a sahm.

whereas sahms feel critsiced and undervalued by working parents and partners and society in general for what is seen as a pat on the head.

therefore i think if funded there may be a societal pressure on mothers in particular to stay at home and raise well rounded children becuase it would be seen as the ideal. a 50's utopia where women educate, bake and become proficient homemaker.

a slippery road maybe? one of those ideals that actually ends as suppression of women rather than giving more choice.

Sakura Tue 20-Feb-07 23:39:25

wow, great points custardo. I hadn`t thought of any of them before. The only way SAHMs are going to get higher prestige or status is if society funds SAHMs, because they see that work as valuable, but then, as you say, we could never go back down the path of misery of the 1950`s utopian housewife.

Tortington Tue 20-Feb-07 23:49:14

aw ta no- one ever says that <sob> so ta.

WideWebWitch Wed 21-Feb-07 00:02:53

OK:

Do you think that if being a SAHM was seen as a prestigious job, that was highly valued and respected by society (as it is in some societies), and was financially rewarded, that more women would choose to be a SAHM?
Yep, of course! It's not financially rewarded or valued and that, imho, is shite. Naomi Wolf says it's partly because carers are competing against the ultimate slave labour: mothers.


Do you think that even women who love working for the prestige, status, adult conversation and financial benefits to be gained by working, would be a SAHM if they
could achieve those things by being a SAHM?
Hmmm. Prestige. Well, there is none atm but if there were, hmm maybe. But I don't work for prestige and I'm not sure it's a big part of why a lot of women work. Adult conversation, you can get if you make the effort as a sahm, financial benefits see point 1 above.

This is obviously related to women who choose to work, rather than having to work.
Well, for plenty of people it ISN'T a choice, it's financial necessity. I don't buy this 'there's ALWAYS a choice' argument.

I think feminism is about choices and I do think being a sahm is as valid a choice as being a nuclear physicist but it is not as well paid because of the clearly screwy ideas our society has about a) childcare b) women c) money

I work ft oth btw and would choose too, even if we didn't need my salary (which we do). I have been a sahm but it's not for me.

Sakura Wed 21-Feb-07 04:37:51

sorry, think I should be clear that I wrote that this is for women who "choose" to work, because I know that many women would love to give up their jobs to be able to spend time with their children. So for them it is obviously not a choice.
I`m talking about women who have a choice i.e have a financially stable partner or living with family and still choose to work. I believe for these women it is a choice.

MorocconOil Wed 21-Feb-07 19:08:17

I believe being a SAHM means so many different things to people depending on many different factors including race, religion, class, finances, educational and professional backgound, and own experience of being parented. Bearing these factors in mind some people may view being a SAHM a privilege. For others it may feel like imprisonment. Does the feminism slant refer to SAHM's being an oppressed group? I suppose you could be oppressed as a SAHM depending on your personal circumtances. Conversely being a SAHM in some circumstances could feel like real empowerment.

MorocconOil Wed 21-Feb-07 19:11:19

I believe being a SAHM means so many different things to people depending on many different factors including race, religion, class, finances, educational and professional backgound, and own experience of being parented. Bearing these factors in mind some people may view being a SAHM a privilege. For others it may feel like imprisonment. Does the feminism slant refer to SAHM's being an oppressed group? I suppose you could be oppressed as a SAHM depending on your personal circumtances. Conversely being a SAHM in some circumstances could feel like real empowerment.

roseylea Wed 21-Feb-07 19:18:06

I was working today (I work part time) and going to a special meeting at which I was representing the school at which I work, so I wore my suit and looked every inch the professional - and I was astounded by how differently I was treated by the other mums at the school gate this morning when I dropped off dd, people in the street, the people att the mtg etc - people did listen to what I was saying more, treat me with more deference etc...

Tomorrow I'm at home doing housework and will be in my old jeans - I have to pop out to do a few errands and I'm sure I'll be treated as if I were invisible.

People do judge on appearances and how 'successful' you appear to be (in professional and monetary terms). Which stinks.

Just a ramble really - kind of connected to the OP in a vague way I think!

Misharoo Thu 22-Feb-07 21:15:39

I chose to work part time, cos i love my job and have worked hard to get to the point where I am starting to enjoy some real luxuries with it (although not that much to do with financial rewards yet). Just loads of satisfaction. If you offered me the same amount of money to be a sahm i dont think i would. Gosh is that really bad? i love my dc of course and that my work is flexibile so i can pick them up from school, be there whenever, but the 3 days i work are good, i find myself in touch with professional people around the world, so i dont think i could bear to give it up! plus it keeps me sane

handlemecarefully Thu 22-Feb-07 21:19:39

Fwiw I don't care about the 'status' of SAHM's or how others may regard it. I proved myself in the workplace many times over prior to children, and know I can cut it in the Board Room (or wherever)...I simply choose not to these days

handlemecarefully Thu 22-Feb-07 21:23:18

"and I was astounded by how differently I was treated by the other mums at the school gate this morning when I dropped off dd, people in the street, the people att the mtg etc - people did listen to what I was saying more, treat me with more deference etc... "


that's very interesting rosylea - but I can geuinely say that I have never noticed that. And I am usually wearing mud splattered jeans with paw marks on them....! Tend not to have any difficulty with people taking me seriously however...unless I am just thick skinned and don't notice, lol!

drosophila Thu 22-Feb-07 21:24:25

WHo the fuck would work if you didn't have to? Forget about gender and being a parent for a second. If through some strange event you found that you had plenty of money to live and enjoy life would you work. Fuck No!!!

ScottishThistle Thu 22-Feb-07 21:26:08

Drosophila, I've worked for many people who would rather do anything but be at home with their children all day!!!

nooka Thu 22-Feb-07 21:26:54

I work full time, and it is for some of those reasons you cite, also because I think that what I do has some positive impact on the world, but mostly because I enjoy it. I didn't enjoy being a SAHM much, and although I love my children dearly, I wouldn't stop working just to be with them. I have just changed my hours so I can work at home for a day and pick them up from school. This afternoon within about 5mins of picking them up they were both grizzling, and I really wondered why I had bothered! However we then had a lovely time, and I am sure tomorrow I will be thinking it would be nice to stay at home.

handlemecarefully Thu 22-Feb-07 21:28:47

Quite drosophila, quite !

Loopymumsy Thu 22-Feb-07 21:35:16

Message withdrawn

Mooshmoosh Thu 22-Feb-07 22:42:36

Ok not talking cleaning loos here, what if work is something you really like, so it is something that allows you to enjoy life even more no matter how much money is involved. Say if you were a famous actress or artist and you could work whenever you wanted/ still be with you dc alot and everyone treated you like royalty as a result. so effing what - enjoy it i say!!

deaconblue Fri 23-Feb-07 11:46:16

I certainly think of myself as a feminist but i choose to stay at home and am lucky enough to have a partner who supports this. If he insisted I stay at home that would be a very different matter. My self esteem is more influenced by my family and people I love than by my job title although I do sometimes find myself telling people what I used to do rather than what I do now

ebenezer Fri 23-Feb-07 13:36:13

Really interesting thread here (and by the way is anyone else relieved that it hasn't been hijacked by the extemists yet?!) Agree totally with custardo - yes, in an ideal world, SAHPs ( and i think the P rather than M is vital there!) would be valued and would gain a sense of self worth from the role they have. Equally, WOHPs would not feel that they were somehow second class parents. But the issue is: HOW would this work? WHO would fund it? If I'm honest, i think if money were no option, eg if parents had the option of being paid a very decent 'salary' for being at home, probably the vast majority would take it. I gain a great deal of satisfaction from my job (teacher) but ultimately i found being at home (which i was for a while after DC3) easier. When you are working outside the home, you still have all the parenting to do plus household chores, shopping etc - you DON'T do any less, you just find ways of cramming everything into your week. I found it was the easier option to focus my day around caring for my children and looking after the home than having to get DCs up early, off to nursery, work all day in a full-on job, then come home to parenting, housework and a pile of marking! That's not to say work doesn't have it's benefits -it does - but IMO it's harder. Ultimately I had to go back to teaching because we were getting seriously into debt trying to live on one income. So i suppose the problem would be, how would society work if huge numbers of people dropped out of paid emplyoment because they could suddenly afford it? There are no easy answers.

drosophila Fri 23-Feb-07 17:52:43

I think I need a new job. I really do. I only work cos I need to pay a mortgage and cos I don't want to be a financial burden on my dearly loved kidswhen they are older. I get bugger all out of working and then cos I'm knackered I don't get as much enjoyment out of my kids I imagine I could.

tubismybub Fri 23-Feb-07 20:13:03

I think being a SAHM is the most worthy and satisying thing I've ever done but I don't think society should pay me to do it though. We could certainly use more money but don't think anyone else should have to fund my life choice.

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