The Hausfraus Are Haus-FeministsJuly 15, 2010 No Comments
Some women give up their careers to care for their families, and guess what?
They’re feminists… and they like it!
The Daily Mail, convinced they stumbled onto a new phenomenon, devoted over 2000 words to this article.
But I have to wonder, are they trying to recruit?
Every one of the women the Daily Mail interviewed is ecstatic with her choice:
“I wake up excited about each day – whether I am taking the children to the park or we’re drawing and reading at home. I find it so fulfilling.”
– Ellen Fletcher
“It’s funny, but all my high-powered friends are now rather jealous of me in this lovely weather - I’ll be planning a day in the park with Finlay [son] while they are sitting in a hot office.”
– Kate Wheatcroft
“James [husband] says he loves coming home, walking back from the station, knowing that there will be a home-cooked meal on the table and the children will be bathed and happy after spending a busy day with me.”
– Poppy Pickles
Motherhood may be the right choice for them, but it would have been nicer to get a more balanced picture about what it is like.
But you can’t have a news story without conflict, and the straw man they set up to knock down here was feminism.
“Feminism shouldn’t be defined purely in terms of the work place,” said Jill Kirby, director of the Centre for Policy Studies, who apparently never learned about getting the right to vote, bra burning or take back the night.
“I think a very important part of choice for women is the ability to devote time to children and motherhood, too.”
The question attached to this 2000 word wonder is “Can you be a housewife and a feminist?” and it is no surprise that 80% voted yes (as I write this, but the poll is not closed yet).
Of course the phenomenon of educated women choosing to stay home is not new. The topic was covered in depth by Pamela Stone in her 2007 book, Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers And Head Home.
And this is a subject well worth covering. Apparently opting out will cost women one million dollars over their lifetimes.
This wouldn’t matter if home was where they wanted to be. However, for many women it is the difficulties in the work-life balance that lead them to decide to pick one or the other.
(In addition to the increasing number of women staying home, there is also an increasing number of women choosing not to have kids at all).
Feminism is all about choice. I respect Ellen, Kate and Poppy’s decisions and I am happy they have found what makes them happy.
But for the women who would like to have it all, but find that they can’t, feminism is there to champion their causes: affordable childcare, flexible working hours, and a respect for work-life balance.
(We also champion those causes for men, so they can spend more time with their kids, but that’s another post).
Yes, of course you can be a housewife and a feminist, but we also want to make it easier for women who want to have a career.
The trick is to make sure that women make a choice and not a compromise.