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Feminism: chat

Can you be feminist if you're in a traditional female role?

115 replies

gandalf456 · 09/03/2022 23:15

Background - I have 2 teenagers, I am a carer for my elderly mum and I work in an unskilled, low paid job (almost) part time - i.e 5 days a week but 28 hour shift work wrapped around my responsibilities. My husband works 12 hour days. I do most of the work re home and family.

My issue is that I have been on the receiving end of some disparaging comments in the past - ironically, other women seem to be the worst. It's mostly related to the fact that I don't have a career in spite of having had a good education.

My stance is that I don’t want to do the juggle. I feel stretched to the limit as it is. The idea of having a highly responsible job on top feels too much.

However, I do value myself and what I do. I might not have high status or money. I work hard in the job I have and have good relationships with mý children and mum.

There is more to me as a woman and a person than this, right? Do I have to have a career to be respected by other women? I don't see myself as selling out. I'm just doing what works for me

OP posts:

StopStartStop · 09/03/2022 23:22

That's all anyone can do. And yes, you can be a feminist.


MangyInseam · 10/03/2022 03:03

I don't think that people who disparage caring work because it was/is often done by women are particularly feminist, that's for sure.


Metabigot · 10/03/2022 03:13

I don't think you should worry what other people think of you.

Live your own life and don't conflate your ideas of feminism with your own situation.


Weatherwax13 · 10/03/2022 03:22

I've been in caring roles all my life out of necessity. The traditionally feminine roles are so often seen as "lesser" but they're bloody not.
I'm a strong feminist. And I've proven my mettle in the ways that I've cared for others in some horrible situations.
Plenty of men would've crumbled in the face of what I've dealt with although it largely goes unrecognised.
Be proud of yourself. Of course you can call yourself a feminist.
Don't swallow the idea that you're a traitor to the cause somehow. Because you're not.


YouCantTourniquetTheTaint · 10/03/2022 03:47

Of course you can, they're shitty feminists if they're berating you over this.

The only way in my opinion, where there would be an issue is if you were forced into the carer role by brothers/family who are using weaponised incompetence to not be a carer, and expect you to do it, because you're female, and caring is woman's work.


cookiemonster2468 · 10/03/2022 05:37

Of course you can.


MrsPear · 10/03/2022 06:48

I amba housewife and a feminist. I thought feminism was suppose to be about choice? I think you have met some pretty mean feminists.,


DoobryWhatsit · 10/03/2022 07:00

Of course you can. Explaining to a woman how they're meant to be a woman is the exact opposite of feminism.


DoobryWhatsit · 10/03/2022 07:03

Intereatingly though, having been a SAHM for years and years, I recently went back to work full time. And now I get lots of admiring comments about how I'm such a role model etc, when in fact I'm feeling guilty that it's so much easier being at work than it was when I was stuck at home with the kids. I would never go back! I guess my point is that being a sahp is massively undervalued in our society.


AnyFucker · 10/03/2022 07:06



Whatwouldscullydo · 10/03/2022 07:07

Of course you can. In fact I'd say , the way that we no longer value child raising and home making is a massive societal issue . Men are gods if they are stay at home dads and women are benefit bums .

I dont think.theres anything wrong at all with adopting " traditional roles" the issues are the freedom to take them and the hoops women have to jump through losing out to mediocre men are surely where the aspects if feminist discussion take place. Not the roles themseves


Whatwouldscullydo · 10/03/2022 07:08

Hoops women have to jump through gaining high powered or well paid careers , that should say


RedWingBoots · 10/03/2022 07:11

I am a carer for my elderly mum

Carers, whoever they are, get treated like shit in this society.

When anyone make nasty comments ask them who is suppose to care for others who need it in society?

If you can actually be bothered you can turn it around and question them over the issue of care and carers. They will soon shut up.


MissTrip82 · 10/03/2022 07:12

Of course you can. We’re all making the compromises we need to make to survive in a non-feminist society.

Don’t start thinking career women are the enemy though. Women are not the enemy. Career women also often have good relationships with their loved ones and also often take on the burden of caring.


PermanentTemporary · 10/03/2022 07:14

Feminism to me is about analysing why things happen and activism from that understanding to improve women's lives, on the understanding that improving women's lives is better for everyone. There's a very strong class based snobbery in British society - though you may not be in the UK! - and it's quite possible to analyse things in a feminist way and still be a snob, there's a lot of it about. Then the two get bound together so that there comes to be a special class of approved women.... it's very dangerous. Live your life and make your own decisions and your own feminism.


PeacefulPrune · 10/03/2022 08:07

True feminism to me is valueing feminine roles just as much as valueing masculine roles.


Justkeeppedaling · 10/03/2022 09:00

I'm not sure.
Your husband works long days but you don't want the hassle of a full time job as you do most of the housework and caring.

Have you spoken to your husband about a more equal arrangement where you work similar hours and share the domestic arrangements more equally?

I wouldn't feel right relying on my husband to have to work long hours while I just worked part time, no matter how valuable the actual job was to society.


gingerhills · 10/03/2022 09:03

You have made choices that are right for you in your own circumstances, not bowed to the dictation of social pressure. Imo, that's about as feminist as it gets. I chose to be a SAHM. I felt a bit less feminist and have to be honest, my sense of self did improve when DC went to school and I started work again, but I never felt I was letting the sisterhood down or any nonsense like that, just because I chose a traditional role.


Whatwouldscullydo · 10/03/2022 09:08

I wouldn't feel right relying on my husband to have to work long hours while I just worked part time, no matter how valuable the actual job was to society

So the kids can predominantly be looked after by women in a nursery and elderly parents looked after predominantly by women in a care home?

So it's OK to to use women in traditional roles but not ok to be one yourself?

Its a weird way to look at it tbh


Babdoc · 10/03/2022 09:10

It is galling that you can only make that choice because a man is bank rolling you.
Without your DH paying the bills, you would have to get a better paid job whether it stressed you or not, or claim benefits.
I brought up two DC alone from their babyhood, while working full time as a hospital doctor, because I was widowed and didn’t have the luxury of your options.
So yes, you can of course be a feminist, but it is ironic that you personally are financially dependent on a man.


Whatwouldscullydo · 10/03/2022 09:13

But without wives and girlfriends amd mothers stepping in to baby sit do school runs , household admin, elderly parents caring these men wouldn't be in their careers either.


HotPenguin · 10/03/2022 09:18

Yes of course! It's hardly feminist to look down on the essential low paid jobs that are often done by women.

The argument that you would have to work if you were a single parent is ridiculous. You aren't a single parent, so if your set up works for you then great. The reality is that it's much easier to have one main carer and one main worker than to have two parents in equally paid roles working equal hours. Many jobs expect you to put in whatever hours are necessary to get the job done, and it isn't possible for both parents to work like that.


brokengoalposts · 10/03/2022 09:20

A feminist is valuing a woman's role in society, not becoming men.


Mumdiva99 · 10/03/2022 09:21

Yes. I am a SAHM. I believe women can do and be whoever and whatever they choose. I believe women are equal. I am a feminist. I made a choice to bring up my family.


TopCatsTopHat · 10/03/2022 09:22

The crux of feminism for me is that all roles have inherent value and should not be devalued by the fact they are roles we often see females in. The high flying exec can't succeed unless there is a society around them with all the other vital functions going on.
The people criticising you are the ones who are struggling with their outlook on the value of a role which society would collapse if people didn't do. You're not the faulty feminist in this situation.

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