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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday's Topic

Do you think the feminist movement helped or hurt us? Your thoughts?


  1. I definitely think it hurt. I understand some women are just not wife or mommy material, and for them the feminist movement did wonders, it made a way for them to be happy. The point was to give women a choice. But it took away the choice to be home. It has made women feel that they are inadequate if they choose not to have a career.

    I hear all the time, how it is wrong for me to have the opinion that if a woman chooses to get married and have a family, that she should be there for that family. Yet it is ok for women everywhere to tell me that my life has no meaning b/c I scrub toilets and bakes cookies.

    The feminist movement has simply taken the one thing they hated about men (looking down on what a wife and mother does) and made it their own. Women today look down on other women who choose to stay home, there is no choice. You will be criticized if you are not out there trying to make millions.

  2. I think it did both. I grew up in the 1960's and I remember the Women Lib movement. The "feminist movement" has at least brought to light the fact that women and men doing the same job should be paid the same. It also took sexual harassment in the workplace and made sure that it was not tolerated any more. Women are not viewed as "honey" or "dear" in the workplace anymore. I also believe that women are respected more than ever. We have more choices. These are a few a very many pluses.

    But, it also has made a woman feel like she is only valuable if she has a career "outside" of the home. Because of this, being a stay at home mom is not as valued as being an employee somewhere else. There are child care credits, but perhaps there needs to be a stay at home mom credit.

    I would never want to go back to the 1960's when it was only acceptable to be a stay at home wife or mom OR if you were single or married without children it was only acceptable to be teacher or a nurse. I experienced sexual harrassment in the work place 30 years ago when I was a secretary. There were no laws against it and if you wanted to keep your job, you had to put up with it. What did I put up with? All kinds of horrible questions from my boss, the vice president of a company, as to my sex life. If that were to happen today, I would easily be able to sue him.

  3. The woman’s movement definitely helped, but there have been some drawbacks too. I think for most of the last 30 years, women have felt that they had to have a job outside the home, whether they wanted one or not. In fact for a great deal of that time women who did not have jobs were looked down on, though I think this has turned a little bit and made it easier to make your own decision. Now it is almost as though the stay at home mom’s look down on the working mom’s as you can see by the first comment. As a working mom I have cleaned toilets, sewed clothes for my daughters and made cookies, working did not mean that I was not a mother; working was “another duty not described” and necessary to get my children fed and housed.
    Young people today do not realize how suffocating the woman’s role of the 50’s and 60’s could be, asking for an allowance, the husband was the head of the house (even if he really wasn’t) no matter what. If he wanted dinner on the table at 6pm, it had to be there, even if it was not convenient or something else came up. I tried to describe to one of my daughters how life was when I grew up with 4 TV channels, one car, and no choices and she did not believe me. The material things were not what floored her; it was the lack of choice. The rich girls went to college, the rest went to work right out of high school and that was how life was. The options available today are wonderful and everyone should be ecstatic that choices are available for all of our daughters.

    And Martha's has valid points of the improvements in the work place. In the past women wore a dress and panty hose, no matter what the weather, and if the boss said to work late, you worked late. I know of one woman who lost her job in 1968 when she started to show that she was pregnant (I was 10 and it made a lasting impression on me).
    I think the world has changed so drastically in the last 40 years due to technology and that has had the biggest affect on the world.

  4. I love this question! But I keep writing posts that disappear into the internet void :(

    I hear some of the above posters, like others I've heard on the internet, say that women who support feminism look down on women who choose to forego careers to raise their children. I believe it! After all, I've felt a similar disdain from some people who say that women who choose to have careers and NOT stay home with their kids if they can afford it are either doomed to a failed marriage or being selfish or some other such thing. And I haven't even had kids yet, so people feel much more free to express their opinion to me, not knowing that I actually chose to go to law school FOR my future kids.

    I think that people who look down on the choices of others, whichever the side, are doing what we all tend to do which is try to validate our own choices and seek reasons why it was better than the other path. We all second-guess ourselves and wonder what-if. Or maybe that's not why people say those things. But the fact is that that's not what the feminist movement is about, as I see it. And I consider myself a feminist.

    As a feminist, I believe that the feminist movement has done great things for women as a whole, although some women have benefited better than others. (I disagree with the first poster who said that it benefits people who aren't "mommy types" -- I don't think you have to be a stay-at-home mom to be a mommy type, and I don't think stay-at-home moms don't benefit from feminism.)

    Here are some of the things I think feminism has done:
    - Made it illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace, like by not making certain jobs available to women or paying them less for the same work.
    - Made it illegal to sexually harass people in the workplace, so women (and men) have ways to fight against losing their jobs because they refused the sexual advances of their higher-ups.
    - Created a society that is more accepting of women in traditionally male-dominated fields, like medicine, law and finance.
    - Created a society in which men are more comfortable taking on child-rearing duties and more willing to contribute to household chores.
    - Created a society in which violence against women is stigmatized, where juries are more likely to take rape allegations seriously and where domestic violence is no longer just a "private family affair."

    Off the top of my head, these are some of the ways I feel that feminism has helped women and society as a whole. The fact that some women look down on women who choose to have a traditional role is terrible, and I think goes against principles of feminism. I'm sorry for those who have faced such prejudice, as I know how it hurts.

  5. Wow je, amazing answer! I don't think I can add much more.
    I have been a career mommy, and am now a stay at home mama, and I believe that feminist movement has helped women in so many ways!

  6. I believe that for the most part, the feminist movement helped women. Having worked at jobs before, during, and after this movement, I can compare the differences.
    One specific example is that of a young wife in a job interview before and during the feminist movement. The employer would, and often did ask a woman if she planned on having children, and how many; if she had a reliable baby sitter, and was often asked to put her job first. Women were often let go once they became pregnant; some places would "let" you work until you were 3 months pregnant. There were no guarantees you would get your job back. Women made much less than men for the same job positions, there was no such thing as maternity leave or daycare facilities at the workplace.
    Since the feminist movement, the job market has changed drastically for women. There still is some improvement needed; women still don't make as much as men in some situations. But in general, working women especially are better off today than they were in the pre-feminist era.
    Radical feminists, however, did harm to the movement, because of their extreme views. Thankfully, most people involved in the movement had good intentions, but the extremists gave many people the wrong impression about the feminist movement. For a time, women who didn't have a job outside the home were looked upon as failures; they didn't "use" their higher education, they were "wasting" their job skills, and they couldn't possibly be "fulfilled" caring for their home and family. They were seen as being subject to the whims of their husband, and as powerless- which in many cases was true.
    I have seen changes in those attitudes, especially in the last decade. It is much more accepted now if a woman decides to be an "at home" wife and mom. Women have spoken up and let the world know how they feel about the roles they take; men have become more enlightened (for the most part!) and most are more involved with their children. I think there has been a widespread attitude adjustment in this nation that has contributed to recognition of women's roles in building a strong family unit; whether they are working outside the home or not. People are more sophisticated, in general, than they were in the past. And part of that has happened because of the women's movement, because it made us all look at the roles gender had played in our lives.

  7. Georgi, I do not "look down" on working mothers, it is possible to disagree with someone's choice without looking down on that person.

  8. "I understand some women are just not wife or mommy material, and for them the feminist movement did wonders"
    Can you see how someone might interpret this as you saying that if a person feels helped by the feminist movement it's because they are "just not wife or mommy material"?

    You also said you have the opinion that "if a woman chooses to get married and have a family, that she should be there for that family." In the context of your statement that the people who criticize you for that belief are women who work outside the home, it sounds like you are saying that YOU believe women should "be there" for their family while THOSE women don't hold that belief. It comes across as if you think that women who work outside the home aren't there for their families.

  9. My point in saying it did wonders for those who are not interested in getting married and having children was that they can pursue that dream of a career without discrimination and sexual harrasment and many other things women went through before. During the 50's and 60's women were criticized and harrassed if they didn't want to get married, many women were pushed into a marriage they didn't want b/c it was "expected" of them, so for those women the feminist movement did a world of good! Women are free to make the choice to stay single and build a career.

    As for the second part, no I don't believe a working mom can be there for her family, the same way a mom that is home can. They are two completely different things, a mom who is working and has small children does not get to spend as much time with those children molding them as a mom who is home, that is a fact. That does not mean a working mom can not have a happy well balanced family, women do it everyday, but I don't have to agree with it. I have three sisters, they all work. I don't look down on them. I support them, I don't agree with their choice, but I don't look down on them.

    My point in responding was to correct an assumption that was made about me without even asking for clarification.

  10. There is good and bad in everything movement. We can all agree that there was good stuff, some very good stuff, that came out of the femminist movement. For me, as a Catholic Christian, who has read, studied, and prayed about what the Church has taught and what the Bible has to say about a woman's role, I believe that the role of a wife/mother have been hurt by the movement. Nothing is more important then raising and caring for your family to get them to Heaven. It can be done and there is situations that have no choice in a mother working, but the majority of women, I believe could stay home and raise their children, allow the man to be a true man as God commands in the Bible, and be THE keeper of the home. It hurt so many women in thinking that it is wrong to stay at home. It has hurt marriages and families. We just have to look at the divorce rates, abortion rates, the amount of juevenile crime rates, etc. I feel that raising your chldren is more important then having a
    career. I feel that it is selfish to chose work over family. My view points do not mesh with today's standards but they do mesh with the Bible & Church teachings.

    I also have a beloved sister that works full time (lawyer) with a family and one that works part-time with a family. They know I do not agree with their choices but I still love and support them the best I am able.

    I just wish that when we disagree about things people do not get offended and starting pointing fingers about "looking down" on one another. That is soooo childish. PLease do not resort to "sandbox" behavior. If you believe what you believe then be proud of it and move on to the next topic. I love what I am doing in my life as a full-time, home-schooling keeper of my home. I do not care if others like it or not, that is between my God and me.



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