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the pirates of feminism (or, the patriarchy wore a dress) 28 June, 2006

Posted by silentpyjamas in blather and claptrap, inflammatory!.
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avast, ye mateys (and ladies) for a tragic tale of scallywags and wimmins!!!(eleventy-one)

i read this really great article in Slate Magazine about stay-at-home moms and why they should go back to work. basically if you’re an educated woman who’s somewhat well-off or can be, you’re doing a disservice to womanhood by staying home to care for your children. you should be out in the workplace, making sure that in the future, women don’t have to fight to make their way onward and upward. also, you’re stupid if you think that after taking time off to raise your kids that you’re ever going to attain the level of success that you could. (yay for success all meaning what she means by it!) this really only applies to the aforementioned elite wimmins, because as you know the poor women have no choice and are but slaves to the whims of the rest of the ladies. i thought the patriarchy had put on a dress.

while i see that in no way is Ms. O’Rourke saying that a stay at home mom is a bad mother, she has now caused people to hurl such accusations at one another. each camp believes they are the right one and the other is wrong, and that seems to me to be more hurtful to the cause of feminism than the issue the arguments began over. i believe the only bad mom is the one who doesn’t give a damn about what happens to her children. a political view cannot establish someone’s personal decisions as good or bad. the only thing left is for ever woman, then, to be fully prepared for the consequences of her decision, whatever it is, and to accept that and not blame anyone else if she’s unhappy with it.

this article from Meghan O’Rourke says that i should leave my home and put alex in day care so that i can ensure that in the future, she can get a job. i will almost say that it devalues stay-at-home motherhood. the language is chosen very carefully, but the implication is that by being with alex i am betraying her. i took this very hard. i read slate’s entire message board concerning the issue and then registered so i could chime in myself. made me crazy, i say.

i realize that women who leave the workforce are giving a tremendous amount of power to their husbands, who could verily leave them or pass away. this is a true fact. but this author assumes that the chances of this happening are so dire that any woman who stays at home is basically consigning herself to the streets. the unfortunate children of such foolish mothers, doomed to be street urchins. she also assumes that men everywhere are plotting to do this very thing to their families any day now! ladies beware, prepare, and get your butts out there! elvis is leaving the building. and when those men do leave you, ladies, they’re monsters. every last one of them. they’re going to leave you destitute and not take care of your children. *their* children. they’re barely staggering out of the primordial ooze, y’dig?

sadly, i used to spout this same rhetoric, as recently even as last year. this is before i finally caught on to that stuff my stepdad was saying about the slamming of the menfolk. he told me i can’t keep mistaking every guy for my dad. surprise, he was right. good thing i caught on before alex sustained serious damage. in the past few years i have learned a lot of things and i’d say that between alex, the death of my brother, learning compassion, and having a good mix of male friends, i have learned that there is very rarely a man who will just get up and walk away from his children. i have known men who had stepchildren that they grew to love and then upon divorce lost those children because they did not have a legal claim to them, and still mourn those losses. men, i suspect, are not going to wholesale leave their working wives in the dust with the kiddies. i just don’t see it happening.

at the same time, it’s wrong to say that women that adhere to “choice feminism” are lying to themselves about the future. is it really such a bad situation we’re in that if every homemaker doesn’t get up *rightnow* and polish up her resume, women will be relegated to the status of wageless slaves, living at the mercy of their husbands? that young upwardly mobile ladies won’t find themselves in places of success due to their hard work or the corporation’s ultimate love for the bottom line, just because they’re women? is she saying that because a woman chooses to raise her children on her own, she is choosing to deny some evanescent “greater good” that she owes her personal time to even if it may not be what it seems?

why, then, is she making with perpetuating this insanity? i think that maybe she just doesn’t understand feminism for shizle. i know, i know, big words from a nobody, but the deal is, feminism isn’t about making other chicks do what you want just because you tell them that it’s going to save the future of the womb.

someone named “grimskunk” made this post on the message board, and it seems to me to sum up the whole thing:

“What I LOVE about feminism, and this article in particular, is the repeated anthem: “YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.” Repeat ad nauseum.
Ever wonder why women are overly self-conscious? You’re never good enough until you live like a man. DENY YOURSELVES, you’re flawed as a gender.

Frickin hilarious.”

this guy put the tko on the whole argument, because he’s right on the mark.

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