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November 07, 2005

Feminist attacks stay-at-home mothers

From Julie Shiller in The Hartford Courant...

Today, many white women who were fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families are taking their limitless opportunities for granted. In a recent article in The New York Times, "Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood," Louise Story examines this issue. More than 60 percent of Yale women surveyed concluded that when they become mothers, they plan on working only part time or not at all. Although feminism promotes the right for these elite women to choose, they are unappreciative of their economic privilege. Story claims that they "are likely to marry men who will make enough money to give them a real choice about whether to be full-time mothers."

As a Third Wave feminist, I am embarrassed that Story could make such an assertion. Do these women feel a sense of entitlement to be entirely supported by their husbands? Although all women should be permitted to be full-time mothers, most do not have the freedom to stop working outside the home. It is not an equal choice when less wealthy and marginalized women are not granted the option. Women who were born into an unearned advantaged position are relinquishing their power and independence to patriarchy. 

Females in the Victorian era were silenced and forced into restrictive feminine roles. Hartford's Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" in 1892 during a time when even well-off women were forced into domestic roles that did not challenge their intellectual abilities. The protagonist, a privileged white woman, was labeled a "hysteric" by a male-dominated scientific community that desperately sought a way to repress her for questioning her forced submission. In reality, she was merely responding to being suppressed by her husband and the controlling patriarchy. Now young women are choosing to return to the silence.

Let's start with the myopic whine that rich, white women should be ashamed for staying at home. First of all it seems (well, no, it is) racist to paint this as some only white women do. Like there are no rich, Black women who choose to be full time stay-at-home mothers. How closed-minded is that?

Then there's the idea that these women are selfish. The author seems to be completely ignorant of basic macro-economics. The more two-incomes families there are, the more prices adjust according, and the more difficult it is for one-income families. Let me illustrate how this works.

Before the seventies few home loans were for more than seven years. That was the limit the Bible put on borrowing, and up until then people more or less stuck with it. As our society devolved away from Biblical principles the idea of a 30-year mortgage was introduced, which, initially, meant lower monthly payments. Great! most people thought. But as longer mortgages became more popular it meant the average monthly purchasing budget increased. therefore housing costs rose to meet the rising demand. Before long people were paying the same percentage of their income on 30-year notes that they had just ten years earlier paid on 7-year notes. It isn't about the length of the mortgage, but the amount people are willing to pay each month.

The same is true when it comes to income size. Prices adjust to what people are willing to pay, therefore the more two-incomes families, the more available money to spend, the more spending, the more the demand, the more the prices rise to meet that demand. It would be selfish of these women to work when they didn't need to because it puts a greater economic burden on the rest of society. Simply put, it hurts those women who want to stay home, but can't afford to.

Next let's address the myth of female oppression in the “Victorian Era”. There's a reason the Victorian Era was called the Victorian Era. It's because someone name Victoria was queen of England at that time...and no Victoria is not a guy's name. Yes, believe it or not, this era in which women as supposed to have been oppressed is marked primarily by the fact that the central culture it refers to was ruled by a woman!!

We've all heard the whine about how women were not allowed political positions, were forced to wear crippling corsets and so on and so on. An intelligent look at these complaints, though, reveals a much different picture. Few people, in any culture had much of any political clout. Americans as individual have more than any other culture, yet barely a third of people who can vote, bother to, therefore tossing aside what political power they'd been given (at quite a price I might add). In any society decision making is done by those with the intelligence to figure out the system and learn to insert influence upon it. Even in societies, like in Europe, where a class system is still (officially or unofficially) enforced, the best and brightest can always find a way to get what they want, and rise, regardless of the class they were born into. So, did a limit on the official position of women in government remove any influence women had over those societies? Yeah, right. Just ask yourself this: Who has more power, a guy who has the right to vote, but won't—or a woman who has no right to vote, but has a husband and sons she can sway to whatever position she supports? Regardless of how equally power may or may not be distributed in any society, it ultimately falls to those who take the time and energy to seek it out and take advantage of it. Any woman with at least half a brain knows how to get a man to do what she wants. Just because anecdotal examples can be found of women who let men run all over her, doesn't mean most of the rest of the women aren't exerting the incredible influence women in all societies have always possessed. 

Oh, and the corset thing. Seriously, do women dress for men or for other women? They dress for other women. The corset business was a silly fashion trend created by women, but blamed on men. Get over it, puhleeze.

But the most telling sentence in the author's paragraph on the Victorian era (other than using a piece of fiction as “proof”) is the phrase “forced into restrictive feminine roles”. This is how Feminists view Femininity, as something bad. That's because Feminists at heart are women who want to be men, and basically are too stupid to comprehend the advantage they have as women—as real women—not women pretending to be men. Femininity is strength; it's power; it means knowing how to reach out and control your environment with grace, poise and dignity. Feminists can't comprehend this because they hate the fact that they are women, and not men. They remain ignorant of the power they have in true Femininity, and try to compete with men using masculine rules and masculine tactics, which they will always be at a disadvantage at—just as any man will be at a disadvantage if he tried the same thing using feminine rules and feminine tactics.

The author of the piece is a 20 year-old college student, that obviously has been well indoctrinated into the Feminist's myths of society, history and economics. Unless something happens to wake her up to the truth, she'll go on, trying to compete with men, using rules designed for men, and failing, then blaming her failure on men. Meanwhile more and more women are learning that there's much more to being a woman than trudging through life wishing you were a man.

Posted by Danny Carlton at November 7, 2005 06:27 AM

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Comments

Hmmm, I read her article differently. For example, her reference to "The Yellow Wallpaper" is important. Gilman has written about the truth that underlies this "fictional story" and about how she was forced to take on a role that she did not want to take. She was confined to bed for the rest cure by the creator of it, S. Weir Mitchell, not allowed to get up because she was not a proper mother in the eyes of certain men. That experience is the whole reason she wrote her story, and wrote her subsequent books. I certainly don't want to go back to that time period.

Posted by: Nels at November 11, 2005 04:12 PM

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