the War on Women

I was reading a book on motherhood last night and once again came across the argument that feminism has left many women feeling like they have just as few choices, are as powerfully oppressed, but in the other direction now - that motherhood and homemaking have become devalued. I used to berate feminism for this same reason. But I hope I am growing in understanding as I grow older. It seems to me now that accusing feminism for the oppression of women is a clever way of keeping the blame always on the victim. The real villain, that which truly keeps women from being with their families, is the modern notion that only paid work has any value.

This notion, spread through the media, state education, and governmental messages, is that paid work is more important than family. It is more important than happiness or spiritual fulfillment. I've heard women leaders say things like, take three months' maternity leave and then get back to the workforce where you belong. This has nothing to do with feminism. This is about enslaving the entire population, women and men, to the whip of the dollar.




One thing many women find if they are able to stay at home is that there is actually great power in being a homemaker. It must scare corporate leaders and profit-makers to think of all these women growing their own vegetables, making their own shampoo, sewing their own clothes (with little interest in what is on trend for the season), and educating their children according to their family's values rather than what the state believes children should know. in preparation for a lifelong service to the economy

It must scare them to think of women who operate by a completely unique schedule - lunch time, nap time, too hot to go outside time, cup of tea and a story time.

Women whose life involves building relationships of mutual support rather than being in competition with others for the sake of the dollar.

Women who are obliged to nothing except the interests and values of their family.

(Of course, many working-outside-the-home women are doing these things too.)


I personally believe that someone should be at home for as long as possible to raise children and care for the family, whether that be mother or father or niece or grandmother. I absolutely support women who want to work outside the home. But I see so many women who feel they have no choice - not because feminists devalue the domestic role, but because the pressure for them to earn cash income seems overwhelming. Financial pressure, and pressure on their sense of personal value, their dignity, and their political responsibility to other women, even their responsibility to their children. No longer do we want women to be good models of strength, kindness, sensibility, and morality - we mostly want them to show young girls that they too can work, work, work.

What I see is that there's a war going on, but it's not between women - it's a war on women and on families. The world is steadily becoming a vast industry, run by a small number of people. This is what oppresses women and their children. This is what we should be battling against, not each other.


I love what this woman has done to recreate gentler, more natural dolls for girls.

25 comments:

  1. I believe this too. I remember meeting a man who explained how it would actually be very good for the economy, and would raise wages, if more households were single earning houeholds. He was the one who stayed home, and he used his time to help a lot of people outside his family as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know a man like that, he takes care of the family's many needs at home and he also uses his talents and time to do wonderful charity work. One of the best men I know, actually.

      Delete
  2. "This is about enslaving the entire population". This. Is so important to wake people up to.

    "a completely unique schedule - lunch time, nap time, too hot to go outside time, cup of tea and a story time." Love!

    Of course I'm in a conundrum: I didn't have kids and I'm too physically weak to grow a real garden, I do not seem to have the right/excuse to be at home in anybody's view.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you have the right to live your life just as you wish it (so long as you're not hurting anyone of course.) the growing a garden bit was just an example - all the garden I myself grow is a new tomato plant which I was given for Christmas :-) And some very brave flowers which are doing their best to survive our summer.

      Delete
    2. You and I may agree, but having to justify to everyone else (or be a "bitch") can get a bit exhausting and tends to strengthen my hermitty tendencies. ;-)

      Delete
    3. You and I may agree, but having to justify to everyone else (or be a "bitch") can get a bit exhausting and tends to strengthen my hermitty tendencies. ;-)

      Delete
  3. I find many of your opinions so interesting. You've put something that I've been feeling into words so eloquently. Leaving the formal work environment to pursue my writing and seek out a slower, simpler and more spiritually connected life has constantly challenged my perception of myself. Over the last two years, I've had to redefine my own value because I spent a lot of time feeling like a failure for not being as financially successful was I was before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it sad how we are led to believe that success can only be counted in dollar terms? Especially since I'm sure money matters not a bit to your soul once it moves on to the next level of existence.

      Delete
  4. fantastic post. I completely agree with you. This is not about feminism, but about money. When feminism was used conveniently to "inspire" women to do anything men could do (and better) a lot of women didn't realize they would be expected to do everything they already did as well. Meanwhile, governments were happily collecting all the extra tax dollars, and consumerism became a way of life, children were not parented by parents and divorces became common, leaving families broken. This is all about money.

    When I was in the workplace, I saw countless young women working hard to afford their own place, only to move a non-working boyfriend in. I also saw many young, working moms struggle to work, pick up children at day care, and do household chores with little or no help. How is this liberating?

    ReplyDelete
  5. "the modern notion that only paid work has any value."

    Oh, how this made me ache for a beloved family member, a young woman with immense talent and creativity, a passion for writing, and she refuses to give herself the time and space for it because she can't see how it will pay her. And she hates her job, the one she took because of the money and the benefits, and it is making her wither up inside. If we must work, even jobs we hate, we *need* soul-freeing outlets.

    It's not a question that I'll stay home for baby blueberry, but since I work from home, it worries me to schedule art-making time once baby comes. I imagine there's a whole new set of guilts that come with that territory, too.

    Thanks for such a rich, thought provoking post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am most sad for the young people trapped inside a system which they are told is absolutely essential to their survival - school, college, work - and having no idea its possible to live differently, live beautifully.

      Don't fret too much about scheduling art-making time. You may find as I did that its easy to incorporate art into your daily life, yes even with a toddler twining herself around your ankles :-) I was never more creative than when I had a small child. I painted, crafted, wrote - admittedly all of it around children's things (fairies, gnomes, magical stories, etc). I was doing art for a large portion of every day. And homeschooling. It all just grew and blended and harmonised together.

      Delete
  6. Regarding the natural dolls... I have seen articles on them, they're lovely and wonderful!! But disheartening to read women scoff in the comments, saying that they've always known that dolls are dolls, they never aspired to look like dolls, and they don't see the point of making a doll more natural. But that's the point of brainwashing. You're not supposed to be able to point to any one thing and say, that's creating body image issues in young women. It's the consistent and subtle way media and consumer goods/advertising presents the idea of what a woman 'should' be, and yes, dolls contribute.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love this so much Sarah. Thank you for putting into words what is so difficult to express.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You worded what I think so well. Young women have been brainwashed to think that they must work outside of the home, not only to earn money, (even though much of that "earned" money must go to day care costs), but that they have to get out of the house and work so they can "use their mind". This in quotes because that's how it was stated to me by a thirty year old working mom. The young woman was not trying to insult me, even though she knew that I had been a stay at home mom. Younger generations are now being societally brainwashed to think that women who work in the home are not using their minds! This has been so hammered into the thinking of our young people that I don't know if things will ever change. I fear that this societal brainwashing has successfully rendered most of our younger generation unable to even conceive of the existence of the political, corporate greed-driven forces behind this brainwashing. Instead of making progress and having more choices in life, it is coming to a point where being a stay at home mom or a homemaker is no longer even being considered one of those choices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This upsets me. I heard it often myself as a young woman - "don't waste your wonderful brain." But there is so much more to me than my intellect! I never discovered this until I had a child and the time and heart to begin using my hands. I found such fulfillment in letting my brain settle into magic, and learning the great wisdom of my body and hands. We worship the intellect and its a terrible shame. Of course we need great intellects - but we also need craftsmen and labourers and so on. I suppose the imbalance is because it's intellects who are in charge of schools?

      Delete
    2. A year or so ago,a popular teen clothing company (Candies) ran a teen pregnancy awareness campaign with the slogan, "You're supposed to be changing the world. . .not changing diapers." Yet, their clothing is all about sexiness.

      "You're supposed to be . . ." Every woman I know could fill in the blank with a list of heartache.



      Delete
  9. Beautiful expressed, Sarah. As an ardent, long term feminist, I wholeheartedly agree.

    And women, in battling one another (undermining and criticising one another's choices) are being distracted from the true battleground(s). Those systems of power and yes, industry, that seek to control and funnel away our vision/energy/dreams (that is our birthright, and a gift to those we seek to love, cherish, and protect) in order to make willing slaves of us, our time, energy, creativity and life force.

    It extends to everything, our water, food, the land upon which we live. Our birthrights as human beings. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  10. Women do have their own unique barriers but I think this is at root about social and economic justice. ALL of us suffer from political systems that put money at the center instead of the earth and its persons. If there are no local economies, then the fruits or profits of the labor we do go elsewhere instead of staying in our communities. If so many people can't earn enough to live, or get a good education, or to have health insurance, or to even support children (or conversely, to have access to birth control)--if our communities and lands and waters are plundered and destroyed by giant corporations who suck all the living out of them--then it is a war on 99% of us.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks so much for writing this. I feel a bit like crying, because I feel such shame because I'm not working right now. I'm a stay at home wife, without kids. It's hard to talk about, because I feel like such a failure, but really, all I want to do is write, create, make something beautiful to share with the world.

    I feel the feminine is not really valued. Women are supposed to act like men, and beauty is lost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (((Hugs))) It makes me so sad how much shame there is around not working in paid employment. As if our only value is the money we can bring in. You are not a failure! There's really nothing more valuable than being what you need to be, and sharing the beauty of it with the rest of us. Thank you for doing that.

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much for your reply Sarah. It helps me :) Perhaps talking about it will dissolve some of the shame.

      Delete