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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ms. Magazine | Decoding anti-feminist writer Caitlin Flanagan

Ms. Magazine | Decoding anti-feminist writer Caitlin Flanagan Or, How "Feminisim" Was Kidnapped and Held Hostage In Hairy Armpits.

I am a feminist. And judging by the essays I have been reading on the Ms. Magazine website tonight, I am a radical feminist.

I am not quite sure how to classify the ladies who wrote those lovely essays, even though they seem to have appointed themselves as the guardians of "feminisim", but I am quite sure that they have very little to do with anything feminine. I don't think they even like women.

Take for example Hillary Frey's comment on a quote by Caitlin Flanagan: "There was no way to see an article containing the statement “when a mother works, something is lost” as anything but an attack on working mothers. Scores of moms took notice."

Excuse me? There is no way to take the statement "When a mother works, something is lost" as anything but an attack? Is she saying that a mother is worthless? I contend that you could take that statement as an acknowledgement of the importance of the mother's presence in raising the children.

This is where the "radical" comes in. Instead of fighting tooth and nail to do everything BUT raise children, a real feminist will drag her self esteem out of the gutter conquer her fear of lipstick, lace and everything pink, and stand up and fight to re-establish the value of the traditional feminine role.

Just what the hell is so terrible about the kitchen anyway? The kitchen is where everybody wants to be! If you don't believe me, throw a party and watch everybody do their darndest to squeeze themselves into the dreaded room.

The kidnappers of feminisim are not really afraid of the kitchen, they are afraid of the female in the kitchen. Why? Because they themselves consider women to be inferior to men, and thus equate anything associated with women to repression and even suffering. Therefore, anytime some brave gal pokes her head up and says, "Hey, I want to be a Housewife" the kidnappers of feminism will be on her like a pack of piranhas. But believe me, if men suddenly decided they were going to do all the cooking, those very same women would be clamoring for the apron.

I contend something IS lost when a mother works, that there is incredible value in dedicating oneself to raising the children and creating a home. Consider this: Imagine in your professional life you are assigned responsibility for a major, long term project, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, the outcome of which will decide the fate of your company.

How many of you would hire an uneducated, minimum wage assistant who couldn't care less about the outcome of said company, put them in charge of the project for 8-10 hours a day and then insist to your boss that everything will be fine because you spend 1 or 2 hours of "quality time" with your project in the evenings?

RH

8 comments:

Shelley B said...

RH- Way to say it! I was just reading a book about the history of cooking and women. It turned out to be just another diatribe about how women have been repressed due to the fact they have had to do the majority of the cooking. Grrr. If anything, knowing how to cook makes you stronger and more capable. Being the "provider" for your family is admirable and makes me stronger as a woman - not more down-trodden! - S.B.

Anonymous said...

"stand up and fight to re-establish the value of the traditional feminine role."

The traditionally valued traditional female roles are increasing women's risk of getting STDs:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3872773.stm
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23730-2004Nov30.html

That's why a woman should be able to afford to leave the role before it's too late.

For some women, earning a living from her marriage requires exposure to HIV (if her husband cheats on her, brings home AIDS, threatens to divorce her if she doesn't cater to his condom-hating ways, and she never learned any way to earn food and shelter without being his wife...).

Having sex be one of your job requirements (an engineer or janitor can keep her job and keep her virginity at the same time but the concept's a joke for housewives, after all) makes you less able to protect yourself.

"If you don't believe me, throw a party and watch everybody do their darndest to squeeze themselves into the dreaded room."

This is like asking "so why don't more people want to work in the mall food court? Look at all the people who hang out there!"

"Being the 'provider' for your family is admirable and makes me stronger as a woman - not more down-trodden!"

That's right. Being able to provide for yourself makes you better able to protect yourself from poverty and disease. That's why, in a provider-and-housespouse couple, the provider is at less risk than the housespouse.

Retro Housewife said...

Note to anonymous: "stand up and fight to re-establish the value of the traditional feminine role".

Perhaps I should clarify that I am referring mainly to the US and similar countries. In countries where women are treated as doormats, all bets are off.

Also, the key word in the above quote is value. People tend to respect what they value, and with human beings, self worth starts with the individual.

In the US, if a husband forces his wife to have sex, it is rape and he has committed a crime. I don't consider that an issue of male versus female in this country, but one of a criminal nature.

I would like to point out that you seem to equate a traditional female role with "inferior position in society". That is the notion that I reject. I am aware that the two have been synonymous at times throughout history, which is why I define feminism not as an attempt to move into the masculine domain, but to elevate the feminine role to its rightful position in society. Abuse, mistreatment and oppression are not part of that equation.

It is really quite simple and is a matter of respect. Without respect, very bad things happen.

We females need to respect ourselves first, and then we need to start respecting our men again. For all the trouble they cause, life would be pretty dismal without them.

RH.

Anonymous said...

"In the US, if a husband forces his wife to have sex, it is rape and he has committed a crime."

And in the US, if nearly any other employer gives his or her employee the choice of having sex with him or her or getting fired, it is sexual harassment and he or she has committed a crime.

However, in the US if someone gives his romantic partner the choice of having unprotected sex with him or ending the relationship, it is completely legal and he has committed no crime at all (even if being in the relationship is what his partner considers her career).

"I would like to point out that you seem to equate a traditional female role with 'inferior position in society'. That is the notion that I reject."

You reject the notion equating keeping a role which requires sex with an increased risk of sexually transmitted disease?

H.A.Page said...

It was very, very interesting to see you define a feminist as one who opts to stay home. That is in direct opposition to the way the word has been used in the past.
Women gain a good feeling of self-confidence when they are contributing to society - either at home or in the workforce.

However, in the U.S. there is age discrimination and the idea of linear contributions... from goal A to goal B. Women function in circularity with varying energy needed for family at different points in the life cycles. Part of the problem rests with society and the doors that become shut to women who don't keep up skills or opt to seek more balance in their life when their children are young.
I've written on the Mommy Wars and on Flanagan's book on MotherPie.
Cheers.

Domestic Chicky said...

I know I'm simplifying it to the nth degree, but feminism is about CHOICE. You may CHOOSE to stay home, or you may CHOOSE to work outside the home. You may CHOOSE not to have children. You may CHOOSE to do anything you want to do. Your (collective) CHOICE may not be the one I make, but I will fight to the death your right to CHOOSE it. There is no traditional role anymore, just as there are no traditional jobs for women anymore. Or men for that matter.

Rubie Joye said...

"Instead of fighting tooth and nail to do everything BUT raise children, a real feminist will drag her self esteem out of the gutter conquer her fear of lipstick, lace and everything pink, and stand up and fight to re-establish the value of the traditional feminine role."


We as women need to embrace our femininity and give it the respect it deserves. Instead of masculating it, we need to recognize the immense importance of our role! It is when we truly respect and accept ourselves that others are enabled to do the same!

Anonymous said...

I think something else that women who stay at home needs to remember...stop being so mean and catty with each other...we're suppose to have a common goal and we're worse than guys sometimes...at least guys seem more able to settle their differences than we can sometimes...lol

I feel that too (not to be a bad thing) that we need, in addition, to teaching our daughters to be independent and strong, also need to teach them to be compassionate and empathetic.

How many moms in moms groups do you know of that would suddenly become so mean and catty to each other often over silly if not plain stupid, unimportant things??

It's almost like we've lost our capacity to think and respect each other as women...rather than having a common goal of supporting each other...in the name of feminism...we are using this as an excuse to re-enact the infamous "Dynasty cat fight" (For those of you too young to remember Dynasty, think two overdressed women with jewelry and too much makeup pulling each other hair and falling into the pool and not really looking pretty in the process or even before the fight started).

It seemed with the beginning of Feminism, it was "We are Woman" "Hear me Roar" and this close sense of unity and sisterhood...Now...it's like remakes of reality t.v. and really giving women who DO stay at home BAD names.