Monday, October 8, 2007

3) Ours is one of the first generations that has been raised with the idea that we can “do it all”—have a career, babies, and a life partner at the same time. Both Kemi and Elianne agree that, feminist or not, this goal is kinda unrealistic. Do you agree, and are you not a feminist if you choose not to work?

5 comments:

gusty said...

THis issue is one I believe all women, not only feminists struggle with. The women of our mothers' and grandmothers' generations struggled to get the same opportunities presented to men, presented to women. So now it's almost expected that women will work, and it's almost unacceptable that a woman choose to be a homemaker/mother instead of having a "career". I think this causes more stress, as now women have to think of who will care for their children if they can't be around.

Melodee said...

My career requires that I work 60 to 80 hours a week, focus on my job all of the time, and travel at the drop of a hat. Our nation's "family values" do not support family - the jobs we work do not allow time for family, yet rarely do we question what all this working is for: success. But for whom? It is not the success of the family.

We touched a bit on the notion that fathers need to feel obligations to do domestic work in order for equality to come to form. Given that careers require so much of us, is that the only power shift we need to create equality? Shouldn't we also need to take some time back from the company and put it into the families, communities, LIFE???

Does anyone, man or woman, balance career with social life anymore? Or are we "wasting time" on friends and family when we should be working working working all of the time? If there's no dancing, I am not coming to the feminist revolution either.

Maria said...

I think it's unrealistic within the confines in which it was created. What I mean is, ofttimes when ppl think of this question, they don't think about redefining.

You can do these things but you have to redefine what "success" is, "family" is and what your role and the role you expect your partner to play in it.

I think most of the time people try to mesh this idea of "having it all" with "traditional" nuclear family values. This simply does not work. The WHOLE system has to be redefined.

Since feminism is all about choice, you can absolutely not work or be a stay home mom and still be feminist.

The Upstairs Girl said...

I think what gusty said is true. Certainly in my family, the girl children were expected to grow up to work, and we do, married or not - it's what our mothers did; even my grandmother was a working mother raising three kids. (She was widowed quite young.) But does anyone feel that the opposite is also true? That it is also not totally acceptable *not* to have a family, or not to even *want* to have a family? I feel pressure to want (and have) both career and family. But friends of mine that have chosen to do both report feelings of guilt about putting the kids into daycare (one even had that used against her in a custody battle), and of course everyone knows the stories about how sympathetic the average workplace is to moms with sick kids. The pressure comes from everywhere, and I feel like there's no way to win. Does anyone else feel that way?

I think when people talk about "family values" what they're really talking about is nostalgia for a chimeric post-war utopia with moms in aprons making cookies and lemonade and pot roast and dads with office jobs in ugly glasses and skinny ties, where everyone went to church, TV was wholesome, babies came from the stork, and anything that was different or unusual or presented any kind of challenge was hidden away somewhere else. They're talking about a fantasy that never really existed. I want to turn that rhetoric on its head as badly as the next person with half a brain, but does demanding that people put their money where their mouths are w/r/t "family values" legitimize a way of looking at the world that is ultimately destructive? And if that's true, how do we relcaim the debate in a way that forces a real examination of these issues to actually solve the problem? I have no idea of the answers, and I haven't even had a cup of coffee yet, but I hate how inarticulate I feel in the face of these kinds of problems.

Joan said...

In response to the upstairs girl who said:
"But does anyone feel that the opposite is also true? That it is also not totally acceptable *not* to have a family, or not to even *want* to have a family? I feel pressure to want (and have) both career and family. But friends of mine that have chosen to do both report feelings of guilt about putting the kids into daycare (one even had that used against her in a custody battle),......... I feel like there's no way to win. Does anyone else feel that way?"

I think you have to be making some $ before you have a baby so that you can hire some help, keep your eye on the help and the baby (I don't care for the idea of dropping a 1 year old off at daycare) and keep pursuing your career. And even then, even with extra $, it's really hard. Do not have a baby unless you really really want a baby and child and teen-ager, etc...it's a 25 year job and don't expect anyone else to raise your child, even if your marriage is good at the beginning...as a woman you are taking on a second major job and major career, besides your career. That said, it could be the most amazing and rewarding thing you ever did. Will it ever change? Probably not. I see sadness in friends that are artists and chose not to have children but then look at all the years and years of independence that they had.