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.