Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dusting off the soapbox

Hello all as many of you are already aware there is a rather unflattering article up on the Washington Post about "hipster homemakers" who are just following the latest fad in lifestyle. As I am sure most of you saw this posted already by Mrs. B (that wonderful lady)! So I thought that I'd dust off my soapbox and use a little language to get myself some peace from the steam that is coming out of my ears.

The author brings up a concern that because all of these hippy dippy back to the landers are making it a moral imperative (we're not) to stay at home and do all those domestic things that it will become obligation to all those women who would wish to shuck off the stress of raising their children and instead do that and have a full time career to cope with as well. (I never got why women would want to do it all). Now I for one would be on the front lines of fighting such a trend if it were actually happening but I have yet to see one stay at home mother accuse a career woman of shucking off their moral imperative to be a stay at home mom, not a one. In fact I think most of them are just happy to be doing what they need to do for their families, and hopefully at peace with their choice to stay at home. I know when I first made the choice to be a stay at home mom I did go through some feminist existential drama wondering if I could be a stay at home mom like I truly desired and still call myself a feminist. Then I thought FEMINISM IS ABOUT CHOICE. It is my choice to stay home; society at large is telling me that the only way I am of value  is if I over stress myself and go out into the world of career and making money. But isn't that what early feminists were fighting against? In their society the only route for a woman to have value was for her to stay within the home and raise babies, the working world was out of her reach. They fought so that we now could have the choice of working if that is what pleased us, despite what society at large decided was best for us and our families. I don't believe that they would have wanted any woman to be pressured into making choices that are against her desires, they fought for a woman's right to be the designer of her own destiny. If she wanted to be a stay at home mom who worked hard within the home to provide for her family I believe that they would have given their blessing.  After all it's about freedom of choice. 

Secondly as the article mentions a lot of that hippy dippy back to the land stuff is just plain fun. Heck if it wasn't it wouldn't be a "trend". I read a rather interesting article in Newsweek I believe that talked about how Amish fictional romances were the new trend in literature because even though few of us would be able to live in the Amish world (hey who doesn't enjoy TV in moderation) we longed for the simplicity and slower pace. Modern life is tough and stressful and hectic and canning jam and growing gardens is a good relief from that stress. Huh who guessed that taking the time to do something simple is a good way to unwind? I for one would love nothing more that to do nothing but sew. I get all Zen and calm. Yes it's one of those old school domestic skills but if I enjoy it why in the hell should I be made to feel guilty about it??? Yes it is a way to be a responsible member of the human race if I shop local and try to lessen my environmental impact on the world but, again I ask why should I feel guilty about doing my part for Mother Earth? Why shouldn't I be worried about those cancer causing chemicals in processed food that make my little 'un so very very sick? Why should I just sit back and accept things the way they are when I wish they were different? I have often wondered what corporations are doing to our food supply that makes everybody have food allergies to the point that if they go anywhere near a peanut they will die? Why is there suddenly a rise in gluten allergies, lactose intolerance, and cancer? To say that our food supply and what is being done to it is not to blame is at best imbecilic at worst an outright fallacy in common sense. I am damn proud to be a Radical Homemaker and damn sick of people looking down on me because I cannot stay asleep and go through life dependent on people who don't give a damn about my health or my families health and just want me to stay in line go with the flow so that the people in charge can make their money. NO THANK YOU.

And another thing if the author is so worried that us DIYers who have gone back home are part of some anti-feminist backlash despite what we say to the contrary then why isn't she writing an article about why men aren't stepping up to the plate more when it comes to these things such as worrying about their families health and caring for the cleanliness of the home. Or how about and article highlighting some exceptional men who stay home and take care of the house and kids so that it may be seen as more socially acceptable for men to do those things and not be labeled as feminine? I know why because it wouldn't make a good headline. Instead they have to fan the fans of the mommy wars because that's what sells papers. The blog opinion expressed here is summed up best by this excerpt:   

  It is a symptom of great wealth that a nation of educated women have time and money to spend on going back to time and labor intensive tasks. If the safety and provision of their children were truly at risk, they would be back in the workplace providing in the most effective way they could: by earning money. 

Doesn't that just grind your gears? Now who is making moral imperatives huh? You are saying that wealthy educated women who make the choice of staying home are making a choice that is bad for their families. In my experience the women who do theses domestic tasks are money poor (but time rich). I don't see how my personal choices are making a moral imperative for anyone but ME. I think that in saying that in the way she said it she shows a great deal of her own guilt in being a working mom. She shouldn't feel guilty because someone else made another choice, and she shouldn't make snap judgements about them because they chose differently from her. She has a right to work if that is what makes her happy and is right for her family. I shouldn't have to defend my differing opinion to all those working women out there who feel accosted by my choice. Take your guilt elsewhere thank you, and if you feel so guilty about working then stay at home it isn't that hard.

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