Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why We Still Need Feminism

Nikki wrote a blog about how feminism creates more divorce, and cited this article in Forbes. And all I could think was that feminism still has a long way to go.
Now, this isn't to say it's not moving fast enough. Sure, I'd like progress to move faster, but given all the other problems we all face every day, it has to take its place in line.
Statistics and stereotypes. I was going to write a blog on "the blame game" yesterday, based on a different debate about welfare assistance. But now I think that statistics and stereotypes are really where the blame lies on most of these arguments.
The first statistic to overcome is this one that's supposedly been proven over and over again that married people are happier (or, according to Noer, healthier) people. How have we come to this foregone conclusion? I certainly wasn't happier when I was married! And it had nothing to do with me being a "career woman" (I can't believe I meet his criteria, because all I am is a lowly secretary). It had to do with the fact that my husband was a drug addict loser that stole $$ from our family to support his habit. I wasn't happier in my first marriage, either. I was pretty much just an idiot (I was only 19) who thought that a cruise ship romance could work in real life. Not.
But I know I'm just one person here. But here's my first point: when are REAL people going to start mattering? When are we going to start actually looking at individuals AS individuals and stop counting on statistics to tell us what to think of them?
And here's the point that Nikki made, and not necessarily as a negative, but simply for what it was. When divorces became easier (not easy, mind you, but easier), when more opportunities opened up for women, women took them. And we're supposed to be shocked that the divorce rates rose? Well, duh! That was the whole point! Women didn't have to be stuck in loveless marriages, or even at home with kids if that's not what they wanted. And I don't think women in happy marriages left. I don't think women who loved staying home with their kids felt like they were being forced into the workplace.
Now, some are. I still don't think that's the fault of feminism. It's the males who prove themselves incapable of being real men that leave single moms with no choice but to pick up the slack. Or of not being man enough to accept that their wife is making money, or because men can't handle the changes in the "labor specializations" that Noer describes. Or, in the cases of those former career women who are now SAHMs, supposedly unhappy with their lives, maybe it's because their husbands treat them like idiots now that apparently only care about their kids' poopy diapers.
It's not surprising I guess that Noer, being a man and all, can explain away all these statistics as the fault of women. And I suppose, if I wanted to be fair, I'd have to say that it can't be the man's fault all of the time. But isn't it worth at least exploring their part in this instead of just blaming it on the career woman?
Most women I know that work, but would rather stay home (and have a husband working), have come to terms with the knowledge that they want the extras, the luxuries that their working affords them. One woman commented on Nikki's blog that woman who have children should stay home with them.
I'm still not convinced of this. I believe that some women can do both, and that the real question should be, what does the woman want to do? Because if she's doing what she wants, then she's showing her children by example that you should and can go after what you want, and make it work.
I've also had discussions regarding the concept of "having it all." Women of this generation have come to understand that having it all is a loose term that can be manipulated to fit your wants and your realities into a compromise that fulfills you. Will some women take it too far on one end or the other? Sure. We all struggle with finding our balance. But I don't have a right to judge another woman's struggle, nor do I have to. There are always consequences to our actions, from the kids who resent/hate their moms for never being home to the later years in a "career woman's" life where she has no one to greet her at the end of the day.
But I will take issue with men like Noer who continue to point the blame at the women, and never look at men to see where their responsibilities and faults lie.

1 comment:

LunaNik said...

I see that Forbes article struck a cord with you too. How bad did you just want to hunt him down and ring his neck after reading that???

P.S. Thanks for the shout-out!