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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

is feminism acutally, er, anti-feminism?

98 replies

loopyloops · 12/09/2010 21:55

I would like to consider myself a potential feminist, but have a real issue with the whole thing. A century ago I wouldn't have been pressurised to go out to work and have children, would I? OK, in the lower classes probably you would have to, but in a comfortable middle class family, would I be expected to for ideological reasons?

I love being at home with DD but it is absolutely knackering, and if having more is on the cards I simply cannot bear the thought of going back to work. Do I have to? Is it really anti-feminist to wish this wasn't the assumption?

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loopyloops · 12/09/2010 21:56

(sorry for typo in title)

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BelleDameSansMerci · 12/09/2010 21:59

Ah yes, but 100 years before that, when there was no middle class, you'd have been working or starving...

More seriously, it's not a feminist principle that you have to go to work - well, it's not one of mine. Feminism is not about forcing women to behave like me or about laying down rules. It's to improve the lot of all women and to ensure that we have the same rights as men and are treated as equals.

Who says you have to go to work? I'd bloody give it up like a shot if I could (although only if I was loaded and I still didn't have to look after DD full time Grin).

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BelleDameSansMerci · 12/09/2010 22:01

Sorry, "not about forcing women to behave like men" not "like me"... Although I do work full time so perhaps it was an unconscious slip?

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MillyR · 12/09/2010 22:01

Could you clarify what the ideology is that requires women to go out to work for ideological reasons? Is it the protestant work ethic or capitalist ideology in general?

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booyhoo · 12/09/2010 22:04

since when has feminism meant women have to go out to work?

feminism means that if you chose to work and have dcs then you get exactly the same deal as men do. it isn't about doing all that men do, it is about being able to do all that men do and get all that men get if you want to and not have certain paths blocked because you have no penis.

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loopyloops · 12/09/2010 22:07

Quite a lot of people have been putting pressure on me and the feminism argument has cropped up a few times. That's why I'm confused...

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CrispyTheCrisp · 12/09/2010 22:08

No idea on the feminism issue, however i find working far easier than looking after 2 DC's 24/7 HmmGrin

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BelleDameSansMerci · 12/09/2010 22:08

Aha, so people are using this argument for their own ends. Stuff them - do what you think is best for you/your family or what you need to do financially or for yourself.

Now, you really could use your Feminist leanings and point out that it's your right to choose.

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TessOfTheBurbs · 12/09/2010 22:09

Yes, it's not about feeling obliged to go to work. My opinion is that workplaces should be more parent-friendly, with the expectation that both parents will be involved in childcare. To put a feminist spin on it, I think that if men were doing (on average, every home is different) 50% of childcare and domestic stuff, suddenly employers would find that providing a good work-life balance wasn't so hard after all!

It's fine if you and your partner choose for you to stay home with DD; it's not fine when it's assumed that you're doing "women's work", and it's not fine when the working world is set up to accomodate
a) "The Breadwinner", long hours but proper money and
b) "The Woman's Job" i.e. dead-end, bad pay traded off against school-friendly hours.

with not enough in between.

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TessOfTheBurbs · 12/09/2010 22:10

MillyR Grin

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MillyR · 12/09/2010 22:17

LL, do you want to say what the remarks were that people made to you?

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loopyloops · 12/09/2010 22:20

Totally agree Tess.

Hmmm... DH: "you're taking the piss out of all those feminists who chained themselves to rails if you think I'm going to work all day so you can sit at home and play" for example...

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BelleDameSansMerci · 12/09/2010 22:40

Ah, well, that's a whole different can of worms really! You could be dealing with all sorts of things there. I'm going to hope someone who actually has a husband/proper life partner comes along with some advice!

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CrispyTheCrisp · 12/09/2010 22:44

Aha, now that's just jealousy (of what he thinks you will be doing) and trying to make you feel guilty for not charging back to work by wrapping it in a (quite frankly dodgy) feminist argument. Leave him with the DC's for a day or two and the response will definitely change

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ElephantsAndMiasmas · 12/09/2010 22:44

I think anyone who classifies being a SAHM as "sitting at home and playing" probably gets disqualified from being King of What Is and Isn't Feminist.

Is he always so charming?

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HerBeatitude · 12/09/2010 22:50

You make sure you leave the kids with him alone all day one day - adn then the next day as well.

He'll soon change his mind about you playing all day.

Point out that bringing up children is work - valuable work and the reason he thinks it is playing, is becuase he has been brainwashed into thinking that any work done primarily by women, is not valuable.

If you want any more feminist arguments against him, I'm sure we can come up with a few for you. Grin But the main one, will be leaving him alone with htem for the whole day. Seriously, do it. He's fucking disrespectful of your work if he says something like that to you.

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sethstarkaddersmum · 12/09/2010 22:55

I don't I have anything to add to this thread as everyone else has put it so well.
There's nothing antifeminist about being a SAHM.

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Casmama · 12/09/2010 22:57

I think your issue is not about feminism but about a dh who doesn't respect your contribution to the family and who doesn't share your ideas about the future of your family.

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msyikes · 12/09/2010 23:08

Now Ok, 'sitting at home and playing' is not a fair description, I totally agree. BUT come off it, don't pretend that having coffee with friends during the day are watching Doctors, or pushing dcs on the swings is not a hell of a lot more fun than going to work!!! Even housework is more fun than making money for other people or coping with stroppy clients. I've just gone back and can conclusively say that for me, being a SAHM (which I was all last year) was a walk in the park (often literally) compared to full time working weeks. If you disagree, I'll swap you and you can do the 40 mile commute and full time day instead. Grin

That aside, feminism is to do with choice isn't it? Not hard and fast rules.

Annoys me when people carp on about having to abide by non existent feminist rules as if feminism is some kind of fascist creed when in fact feminists gained so much for us all and fought hard battles to give us many of the choices we have now.

Annoys me even more that the whole set up of the working world is so family unfriendly and this disadvantages men as well as women.

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msyikes · 12/09/2010 23:13

x posted Casmama but she has a point- the issue here is not to do with feminism but the negotiations between you and dh, and his attitude to your wishes.

Shame feminists did not manage to get everyone, male and female, a fully flexible working week, raise the value of domestic work and childrearing, get equal pay for men and women and remove gender stereotypes that say women are best with dcs and men breadwinners and providers, but the fight is not over yet!

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sethstarkaddersmum · 12/09/2010 23:15

I'll swap MsYikes! When can I start?
I have 3 kids (baby, 3 yo and 5 yo) so you will need a proper induction or you'll never cope - my place at 6.30am tomorrow morning sound ok? Wink.

(tbh I think it depends on the job.... mine was way more interesting and fun than being a SAHM....)

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HerBeatitude · 12/09/2010 23:21

hmm, totally disagree with you mysikes.

I find it much easier to go out to work than it was being a sahm. Just so much more organised, tiday and above all, time-limited.

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Sakura · 13/09/2010 06:17

I have to disagree wiht the person who said that feminism is about the choice to work or not.
Feminism is nothing to do with choice.

Raising children is the most important job in the world, that's a fact. But because we live under a capitalist-patriarchal system, our world-view has been perverted to such an exten that people think other jobs- any other jobs are more important, be that partking attendant, cleaner, secretary or CEO of cocacola. As long as you're not mothering then you're doing something important.
It saddens me that so many women have fallen for this patriarchal world view. This capitalistic attitude has got to change.

However, that doesn't mean that it's women who have to do the mothering, or that mothering has to be one to one, not at all. Good daycare enables women to work and achieve in the public sphere. Fathers are important too.
But to say a mother is "choosing" to forgo pensions, financial stability, intellectual stimulation and career promotion is pushing reality a tad. It's not a "choice". Current society has been structured in a way that real choices are impossible for women.

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Sakura · 13/09/2010 06:22

So..just want to agree with what others have said. FEminism has nothing to do with whether you're a SAHM/WOHM, it's just about being on the girls team. And let's be honest, feminists need anyone we can get on their team, so we're not going to be picky (as long as the people aren't anti-feminists posing as feminists. We do kick those out)

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tortoiseonthehalfshell · 13/09/2010 06:23

It is my experience that a man using the "feminism card" to make a woman do what he wants regardless of her own wishes is not, in fact, a feminist.

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