Lately it seems I've been hearing a lot of feminists talk about how women who don't continue to work full-time after having children are leeches on society and pawns of the patriarchy. I've heard it on NPR and read it in a few places. This disturbs me for two big reasons:
1. Women at work can be just as stuck as women at home. Dear Important Lawyer Woman who argued on NPR that "There's a lot of great work going on in the world": You are perhaps lucky that you've never been stuck in a dysfunctional workplace where your intellect is under-employed. Perhaps you come from wealth and have never needed to keep a job for the pay. I would argue that at least 75% of jobs suck, and suck the life out of the employee. Maybe the woman working 3 shifts at Wal-Mart would disagree with you. We can be just as exploited in the workforce as at home.
2. Why are we devaluing the important work of child-rearing (which someone still has to do, it just gets hired out), cooking, and making a home?
Yes, it's a Big Problem if staying home barefoot and pregnant is the only option, or the Expected Option, or if women expect a "free ride". But for some women there is choice, and freedom to choose a mix, or even staying home altogether. I know at least one working mom who hates having her tiny child in the care of others more often than in her own care. It's not an easy decision for anyone, in either direction.
4 months ago