Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Redefining Feminism

I am a stay at home mom and I consider myself a feminist. Let me explain why I think those labels can coexist.

The dictionary definition of feminism is - the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes or organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interest. Beyond that many people have their own ideas of what it means to be a feminist, like you hate men, you think marriage and having babies is a way men control women and a stay at home mom is probably the farthest thing to being a feminist. A updated version of feminism says, it's about choice. Women should be able to chose if they want to have children, get married, stay home with their children or go to work.

The desire to birth children and things like breastfeeding or being a homemaker were considered anti-feminist during the 60s and 70s when feminists were fighting for equality in the workplace and society in general. The idea was if you are for women's rights you are pro birth control and anti nuclear family. I am grateful for these pioneering women who fought for women to be given the same opportunities as men, however I wish they had looked at the big picture and realized that workplace equality is needed for men and women, but also parents and non parents.

For instance in Sweden, the feminist movement covered issues such as workplace equality like here in America, but also for more than a year of paid maternity leave and subsidized child care. As a result women have nearly equal opportunities as men when it comes to working. 

Let's face it, 6 weeks unpaid maternity leave is a joke. That is all we ask for women here in America. And the cost of quality child care is another joke. For most families it is as much as a mortgage payment. Many moms (myself included) stay at home with their children primarily because they would spend equally or more money on child care than they would earn.

This is not feminism. This is not equal opportunities in the workplace. This is putting mothers on the bottom of the totem pole. Let's face it, a lot of women are going to become mothers. Hell, if none of them became mothers our humanity would end. If we are going to talk about women's rights, we need to also discuss mothers' rights.

Please don't take this to be Anti American in anyway. I love my country and I am a firm believer that criticism of government makes you a stronger patriot, not a weaker one. I never miss a major election, thankful for the right to vote that women generations before me fought for me to have. In so many recent elections, the topics of birth control and abortion have been hot button issues. These issues have merit, but when it comes to women's rights we need to discuss more than just Not having babies. Because women in America are having babies. Just under 4 million babies are born each year in the US, their mothers deserve to to be treated better.

This is why I consider myself a feminist. If I fight for the rights of mothers' now, maybe if my daughter decides to have kids and work, she will be able to take a year off after the birth of her children and still have a job to return to where she does not have to spend her entire income on child care. I feel like that is the heart of feminism, wanting a better world for your daughters.

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Thank you for sharing!

1 comment:

  1. I don't think feminism is about not having children, it is more about the equality of women and men in all fields of life be it parenting, working in public or private sectors or providing services. Hating men won't make you a feminist, if anything it will make you a misandrist, and that's not a good thing.