Thursday, May 11, 2006

"To Hell With All That"

I was just listening to NPR, and author Caitlin Flanagan was supposed to be on the show, talking about her book "To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife." Now, I haven't read the book, but I have the impression that it is basically about feminism having shortchanged women and given them too many choices, therefore, women need to stay home with the kids. I really wanted to hear the interview, but Ms. Flanagan didn't show up, so they just opened it up to calls about people's experience with staying at home, working, etc. If she had come on, I would have wanted to hear her address this topic: why is there no talk of stay at home dads? I have a feeling the books spouts all kinds of things about how children need a parent at home to raise them-which I agree with. But why women? Is she saying being a housewife is what makes a woman truly happy? What about women who work while their husbands stay home? I work, and I don't feel like any less of a woman because my husband stays home with the baby. Should I? Should I not glean some satisfaction from the fact that I support my family financially, in the same way my husband feels satisfaction that he supports our family by being our son's primary caregiver? Sure, I feel like I miss out sometimes, but so do dads who work. Why is this a gender issue?

It seems like lately there has been an anti-feminist movement. Women are "coming out" saying that, hey, they LIKE staying home with their kids-take that feminists! Or, they LIKE having the door held open for them by a man-feminists killed chivalry! In my opinion, this anti-feminist movement is doing nothing to empower women, like it claims; all its doing is enforcing gender stereotypes that the feminist movement has been trying to get rid of for years. Feminism didn't "sell us a bill of goods" and "give us too many choices." It did things like give us control over our own bodies and make sure we had the same rights as men in the workplace. And unlike those who say feminism's time has come and gone, I believe its more important now than ever. With the religious right tightening their stranglehold over our country, and with the abortion issue being challenged on a state level, we need women to stand up and demand equality. We don't need women saying "staying at home is the only way to be a happy woman" under the guise of, "but the children need a parent, not daycare."


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