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Is choosing to be a SAHM a feminist decision?

(793 Posts)
user1471506568 Tue 13-Mar-18 16:02:03

Ok so I'm a SAHM and would also strongly identify as a radical feminist although admittedly I still am learning about all of this. I understand that liberal feminism is more about the individual as opposed to the class movement so under that philosophy being a SAHM is an acceptable feminist decision but I'm confused about the rad fem stance.

I can see how from a financial perspective being a SAHM is a bit of a backward step for feminism, but this is such a narrow view and I don't think money is the only measure of worth . In fact it strikes me as an extremely patriarchal measure where the balance will always be tipped to men earning more due to women having children.

I would be really interested in people's views on this. Can I be a radical feminist and a SAHM or am I letting down the class movement?

NB: Please don't take this as negative judgement of any working mothers as I respect everyone's decision to do what's best for them.

RowcheRumble Tue 13-Mar-18 16:58:12

As a radfem SAHM (albeit part time now) I don't think it's damaging to the movement and I haven't found any negativity towards me from other radical feminists. I am however in a lesbian relationship which does make a difference from a radical feminist view point. So perhaps partly depends on your relationship?

UpstartCrow Tue 13-Mar-18 17:07:10

Yes you can.
No, you aren't damaging anything. Your worth is not based on your monetary value as a wage slave,

BeyondDeadlySiren Tue 13-Mar-18 17:11:24

If you're on Facebook, look for "Mother's at home matter"
Lots of rad fem sahms smile

SleightOfGender Tue 13-Mar-18 17:20:11

No. It's just a decision that women sometimes have to make. It is one of those consequences of genuinely being a woman that you are even examining this. Your feminist credentials shouldn't ever rest on what you do or don't do for a living. (Actually scrap that - they might if you are a pimp or similar - but certainly not for staying at home to parent your child). They don't rest on what you do or do not earn.

I'm having one of those 'tired-of-all-the-crappy-shit-women-have-to-put up-with' days and feeling very weary. Do you get those?

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 13-Mar-18 17:20:20

I was a SAHM and would consider myself a feminist. My partner and I have an equal relationship; split all work and funds.

I have worried about giving my kids a poor role model as our work split tends to be a bit 1950s but it worked for us. DH respected my contribution. I think we were also helped by having best friends who we frequently holidayed with who had the same kind of family set up as us, but the woman was the main earner and the man picked up the lion share of the domestics, so our kids saw that perspective too.

CertainHalfDesertedStreets Tue 13-Mar-18 17:23:38

Your worth is not based on your monetary value as a wage slave.


splendide Tue 13-Mar-18 17:27:38

Your worth is not based on your monetary value as a wage slave.

This is totally true but it’s a bit more complicated than that. I would say it’s equally as bad (maybe worse?) for a woman’s worth to be based on her ability to attract a rich husband.

Totally not saying anyone on this thread is saying that it is by the way! It’s just that it isn’t really relevant to say that earning money isn’t important if the reason that it isn’t important is that it’s being earned by someone else.

splendide Tue 13-Mar-18 17:29:18

I’m not sure I’m expressing myself right.

I suppose it’s (to me) a bit like someone who’s won the lottery saying “oh I’m not a wage slave”.

Bluntness100 Tue 13-Mar-18 17:30:14

Sure uou can, but you've compromised your principles in my view. You're living off your partner. That's it. Even if you don't like it being said. Having a man go out and earn for you. Whilst you stay home with the kids and spend his money.

So sure you can be a rad fem, but not on anything to do with financial independence, paying your way, equal rights in the work place, pensions, equal parenting, or anything else in that sphere

I certainly wouldn't listen to your opinion on the matter. You need to walk the talk on those subjects.

user1471506568 Tue 13-Mar-18 17:42:33

Bluntness - thanks for your honesty. I'm sure I've read similar posts in the past hence my thread

I guess in my mind I am depending on him financially but he depends on me to raise the kids in a way we both are happy with. Of course if we broke up he may withdraw his financial support for me to stay at home and could outsource the childcare but equally I could get a job and financially support myself so I guess we are both temporarily dependent on each other. I understand he may have more prospects in the labour market due to not having this time out but equally he has lost out on a lot of family time he could never get back which to me is invaluable.

Is parenting in your view worth less than earning money? Not goady question I promise. Just wondering about what you think.

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 13-Mar-18 17:44:31

I think that's rubbish Bluntness. It's a very unfeminist stance to say that unless you are earning a wage your opinions don't matter. There are all kinds of ways to contribute to a family not just financial. What's so commendable about paying someone else to look after your kids? Probably a poorly paid young woman at that.

I think the undervaluing of women's work is a very bad thing.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 13-Mar-18 17:45:08

I don't think earning power is the most important indicator of wealth by any means, although I loathe the dismissive "wage slave". I do think that the more families conform to the stereotype of mother at home, father at work, the more reinforced that stereotype is, and thus the harder it is to be a non conforming woman. That's not to say its the wrong thing to do of course. Just that we don't make these decisions in a social vacuum. Our choices all go to shaping the society we live in. We just need to stay mindful of that when making and defending them.

BertrandRussell Tue 13-Mar-18 17:45:33

Just place marking because this is a hobby horse of mine and I want to come back to it later!

Omgwtfbbq Tue 13-Mar-18 17:46:05

Radfem SAHM here too, my value is so much more than a salary and I think staying at home in order to hopefully raise happy and healthy children is an honour whatever your gender. I volunteer, help the community, grow our food, make our jams, teach the children and I am damn proud to do that. I would also be happy if DH did - I just enjoy it far more than he would...

AssignedPuuurfectAtBirth Tue 13-Mar-18 17:48:08

Bollocks Blunt. Piss off with your 'compromised'.

Maybe every mother should put their child into childcare regardless of whether the child is equipped to deal with it, just so that they will meet your criteria of worthy of being listened to.

There are many reasons why a woman stays at home and not so she can spend 'his' money.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 13-Mar-18 17:48:10

Do you think your choice affects other women? Does it matter if it does?

YassQueen Tue 13-Mar-18 17:49:11

I certainly think SAHMs have a place in the debate on equal rights in the workplace, considering it may force many of them to become SAHMs in the first place. Maternity discrimination is a huge problem at the moment and I'd value the contribution of a SAHM to the debate more than I would my own, as I work full time but am lucky enough not to have been affected by maternity discrimination (I was a student rather than working when I had my child).

Having a man go out and earn for you. Whilst you stay home with the kids and spend his money

It's funny, I certainly don't see my husband that way. I go out and work while he makes sure that DD has a clean space to play, clean clothes, that she eats, that I eat when I get home, that the shopping is done (with our money, what's this "his money" bollocks?!), that she has read her book, done any homework she has, feels comforted and secure and gets to bed on time.

Maybe that's all a lie and when I'm working he's just on constant shopping sprees and spa days with her?

Bluntness100 Tue 13-Mar-18 17:49:46

I think there is different things being mixed up here. The op asked if she could be a radical feminist and I responded with yes, but not on the subjects of equal parenting, equal rights in thr work place etc.

She did not ask if being a stay at home mum was valuable. That would be a different thread completely. And of course it is sometimes valuable for either gender. Sometimes it is not.

Op, why ask if you can be a radical feminist and at the first hint of no start going on about how much your husband values you and how it's right for you. Make your mind up about what you want to discuss. I answered the question you posed in your op. No more no less.

YassQueen Tue 13-Mar-18 17:51:34

Oh come on Bluntness your post was a thinly-veiled dig at SAHPs, anyone can see that.

Bluntness100 Tue 13-Mar-18 17:51:39

Yass. Is that all you see as spending money, spa days and shooing sprees. Because I see it as paying for things like the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the toiletries you use.

Don't put words in my mouth, I'm perfectly capable as many know of saying exactly what I mean.

CurlyhairedAssassin Tue 13-Mar-18 17:54:49

I don’t agree at all, Bluntness.

Feminism is based round the theory that women should have freedom of choice. I don’t think it matters whether that choice is going to work or doing the household tasks. They are both tasks/workload. If the split of workload is fair, and also all money is pooled, and most of all each respects and supports the other in their role and sees it as equally valuable, then I don’t see how this is a bad thing.

What would you call a father who chose to be the stay-at-Home parent? You wouldn’t call him anti feminist so I don’t see why you should view a stay-at-Home parent who is a woman as such.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 13-Mar-18 17:55:45

Do you think the choice affects other women? Would it matter?

liltingleaf Tue 13-Mar-18 17:56:31


but not on the subjects of equal parenting, equal rights in thr work place etc.

Would you say the same thing to a woman who was being exploited in the workplace and also took on the lion's share of the parenting as her estranged ex husband did very little?

According to radical feminism every single woman is exploited by the patriarchy. How can anyone be a radical feminist or speak about radical feminism if the qualifying requirement is not to be exploited?

AssignedPuuurfectAtBirth Tue 13-Mar-18 17:57:11

You're not any kind of feminist I recognise bluntness

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