Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not everyone cares

There's something I've been thinking about. I don't want to accept it. I don't want to admit it. But I think it's time I do.

Not every woman cares. Not every woman wants women to have equal rights.

This baffles my mind, at first. I can't imagine a woman who doesn't want equal rights. I can't imagine a woman who doesn't stick up for the rights of other women. But they're out there.

The latest example is @MrsDigger who got into a debate about women "exposing" themselves while breastfeeding. Excuse me? Breastfeeding isn't exposing anything. It's feeding a child. I was double surprised to learn MrsDigger, and the people I saw coming to her defense, are all conservative. I thought conservatives were in favor of family values? Isn't breastfeeding a family value? Taking care of kids?

Perhaps I don't really understand it.

I've never hated a woman for breastfeeding or wanting to sleep with her child. Before I became involved in women's rights, I didn't think of these things. They just, didn't appear in my mind. So at first, when I saw others saying rude and unsupportive things to and about women, especially new mothers, I thought "Oh, they just not be informed." Realizing that these people were informed, and just didn't give a darn, well, that was a shock. Especially when some of the people were involved in the birthing industry.

But I really shouldn't be surprised. Even when women were fighting for the right to vote, there was a group of women saying "No, women shouldn't have the right to vote."

Can you imagine being one of the women who stood up and said "No, I don't want the right to vote." ? I can't!

It scares me that we haven't moved past this "don't give me my rights" idea yet. Will we ever get past it? I hope so! I'll stand up and say "give me my rights!" for all issues- abortion, VBAC, breastfeeding, adoption, anything and everything. Will you?


  1. The thing is women's rights is often about things most women aren't interested in like equal pay. They would rather men get paid more so their husbands would make enough money so they don't have to work. Another is abortion. Most women don't want abortions and never have one, so they don't care. Even when women go to college, they don't study the same things that men do. They largely avoid the majors that lead to high paying jobs. College is just one more damned thing standing in the way of the real goals of marriage and family.

    Obviously there are career oriented types who don't feel that way. They want lots of sex partners and free time and lots of money to spend as they choose. So yeah they want these things, but they are the minority. The more family oriented women just feel like, fine, okay, whatever, if that is what they want, but they aren't going to be politically active on behalf of those issues because they don't feel like they apply to them.

    Family oriented women care about safe schools for their kids, and property taxes and stuff that hits them where they live. Practically every one of my friends, myself included, has had an unplanned pregnancy due either to contraceptive failure or because they thought they were too old, or hadn't got pregnant after trying for ten years, then surprise. But since they were married, they never considered abortion. They just had a bonus baby.

    Family oriented women look at the serious feminists and just don't get it. They just don't understand them. Some feel sorry for the feminist types. Others are too busy to care. As for voting, they vote the same as their husbands so, eh, women's right to vote is just one more damned responsibility. If they didn't have to go out and vote to compensate for the other women voting, they would be relieved. They just feel like it is men's job to run government, fight the wars and provide a living. That way they have more time to make life worth living and focus on their primary interest, their children.

  2. You seem to have some pretty strong stereotypes going on there. You don't think family orientated women want sex? You don't think that career orientated women could avoid sex?

    I really doubt that every woman who wants children wants to stay home and let her husband care for her and pay for her things.

    By making women choose between family and a career, you're fitting us into the stereotype of the last generations. We are working to move beyond that. A woman can have a family AND a career. She shouldn't have to choose between the two.

    Married women do abort, just as unmarried women do. Marriage doesn't stop abortion. Though, I like to think that comprehensive sexual education could have helped you and your friends avoid unplanned pregnancies.

    Many of the feminists I know here online are mothers. They understand completely that all women need to work together to fight for equality.

    As for voting- I pray you don't just vote for whoever your husband votes for. PLEASE, please, think for yourself and be your own person. Do you realize that you could help your family by voting? Voting for candidates who support longer maternity leave, support breastfeeding, support midwives and doulas.... there's so much good voting can do to help women!

  3. Commentor one sounds like she's suffering from depression. How could you not care about larger politics? I'm family oriented & work outside the home. I breastfeed & cosleep & vote my mind. The big picture issues affect the family. To not realize that or care is sad. Personally, I'd rather her not vote if she's not going to vote responsibly.

  4. I am old. My mother and grandmother were prochoice types. I have seen a lot and lived through many transitions.

    "I really doubt that every woman who wants children wants to stay home and let her husband care for her and pay for her things."

    Doubt as much as you want the data clearly show women quit careers to stay home with kids. Not all of course, but many. Whereas men really don't so much.
    I have many friends who are doctors, lawyers, engineers, who quit to be stay at home moms. Obviously women who are that capable are often married to capable men, so they can afford it.

    "By making women choose between family and a career, you're fitting us into the stereotype of the last generations. We are working to move beyond that. A woman can have a family AND a career. She shouldn't have to choose between the two."

    I think women should be able to have careers if they want them, but now there is too much pressure on women to have careers they don't want. To me, the fact that they quit is evidence that they don't want them and maybe never did. As for moving beyond the previous generations, we were pushed to move beyond and now that we have grown old and confident and don't care about social approval, we have decided that the cheering section that kept telling us we wanted careers was really projecting their ideas on us and we are now doing what we want to do. We proved to our parents, teachers etc, that we could get degrees, advanced degrees and careers. We aren't stupid. We just want to do what we want to do, not what they told us to want. For those women who want careers and family, good for them. Those of us who ditched the careers weren't forced to choose. We got bored with the whole career thing. Our passion is elsewhere and we don't buy into the idea that we are somehow less than those women who are still pursuing careers.

    We vote like our husbands because we married people with a similar outlook.

    As for sex, obviously married women like sex which is where those kids come from. I was simply pointing out that staying single and having multiple partners is the other end of a spectrum that includes many variations. I think is unfair to rephrase what I said to make it sound like I said something else. Women who want to marry as virgins don't deserve to be labeled as having sex hang ups. They are just making the choice that is right for them.

    Basically, I just want to say to all those girls out there with 1300 on their SAT, that if they really want to be moms and skip the college thing and get married, that is just as valid a choice as being a doctor or engineer etc. Don't let others tell you what to want. Follow your heart. If you to invest your considerable abilities on your own kids you have every right to do so and no one has a right to demand that you use your abilities for what they think is more important than your family.

    There is no one size fits all. Feminists have a right to the life that is right for them and traditional types have a right to the life they want as well.

    On a tangent, some women feel that the backlash by men due to feminism and the laws that feminists worked to establish have in fact disadvantaged them. So there is some annoyance at that. If you don't know what I mean by backlash check out http://roissy.wordpress.com/

  5. Anonymous, I'm sorry if I read your post wrong. It seemed to me that you were defining women as either fitting into stereotype A- stay at home mom, doesn't care about politics at all, doesn't want to vote, wants a husband who brings home the cash; or stereotype B- a career woman with no time or interest in a husband or children, who has rampant sex with who ever she sees, wants nothing but money.

    If you meant to say that these are two extremes of a spectrum, that would make a lot more sense- since most people would fit in between these two stereotypes.

    I do think that the first "wave" or two of feminists did push career-orientation a bit much. However, it was necessary at the time in order to get women into the work place. Still now we're fighting for equal wages. However, the feminists of *today* recognize and are starting to recognize that some women choose to stay home with their kids- and that's a perfectly acceptable, equal option.

    Stay at home mom, single career woman, or mom with a career; all these options are EQUAL. We shouldn't push one over the other, especially not onto women who have different opinions. Feminism is about a woman's ability to choose what she wants to do, not her right to work.

    But back to voting: Even if you're a stay at home mom who never went to college, it's still extremely important for you to vote with your own conscious! I can understand if you vote in the same ways as your husband because you're like-minded, but don't just ask him what his vote is and then copy him. Like I said earlier, voting is extremely important to things like midwives, a woman's right to breastfeed in public, hospital policy and so much more.

  6. I really fail to see what being "old" has to do with this. Ok, you may have lived through more than other posters, that however doesn't mean that your anecdotal experience all of a sudden has more weight.

    Many women stay home with their kids, that's often because they feel they have to. Sometimes it's actually cheaper for the woman to stay home due to the large cost of child care. If one parent has to stay home, typically you will choose the parent that makes less money to quit and that tends to be women because women make approx$.20-$.25 less per dollar than men for the exact same amount of work.

    Conversely there are men who WANT to stay home, but feel they can't because they make more money. The stay-at-home dad and the desire to be a stay-at-home dad is growing in society because, shockingly, men love their children too and want to be there for it. This has always been true, but due to rigid gender roles in society men were unable to.

    Just because a parent quits their job to stay home does not mean they didn't want that career. Honestly if they didn't want the career - why would they work so hard and often pay SO much to get it? That just seems like a massive waste. Any GOOD parent, when facing a situation between what do I personally want and what is best for my family, they will choose their family. That in no way, shape, or form is evidence of their lack of desire for either job (career or parenting). It represents a difficult choice where an individual prioritized their family.

    I don't feel anyone on this board, nor most feminists, are arguing that women who choose to stay home or choose to quit their career are somehow "less" of a person. We support a woman's right to stay home. Furthermore I support a man's right to be home. No one should be forced to do either, and no one should be shamed into doing either.

    "Traditional" values should not be snubbed, but one can hold and want those traditional values while not fighting against equality. Being against women breastfeeding in public is essentially shunning nursing women from public. Being against equal pay for men and women, is not only saying women ARE inferior, but is also placing an undue burden on men that they have no OTHER choice than being the breadwinner as they will always be the breadwinner when husband and wife are capable of the same amount of work. Women voting solely how their husbands do (and this is not to say that every couple that happens to vote the same did so b/c the wife copied the husband. This is specifically aimed at the women who vote the exact same way as their husband BECAUSE their husband is voting that way) are saying that their opinions don't matter and shouldn't be represented. More so if they advocate women to do this, that's saying that women in total shouldn't be represented.

    As for the backlash, I do know what you're talking about though I fail to see how that blog really represents it. The backlash frankly, is a frustration of men not ruling the world anymore. Frankly…so what? They never should have solely run it in the first place. The behavior men used to get away with when treating women, they never should have been allowed to get away with. This preoccupation with the "good ol' days" is far from persuasive for me and most people, including other men, because as I said it was still wrong then. We're just actually addressing it and saying it's wrong now. This belief that men should solely be in charge actually harms men as well. It robs them of choice and puts an enormous amount of pressure on them, and has caused many men to suppress their own wishes, dreams, and desires.

    One can want to be a wife and mother, and still promote equality between the genders. Not only as women should they want this, but as mothers they should because they should want their children to be in a better world. Inequality harms society which in turn harms its citizens. No one wins with inequality.

  7. I don't know how much time you invest in learning about candidates for judge, school board, county commissioner, sheriff, DA, bond issues, non-binding resolutions, amendments to state constitution, utility commissioner, agriculture commissioner etc, etc, but when I recommend one to my husband, it is because I checked it out. When he recommends one, I trust he checked it out. I am sure you have friends whose judgement you trust as well.

    Also the equal pay thing. I don't know where you work, but I have lots of friends in management in corporations and there is no way they would be caught dead discriminating because they know they would leave the company open to millions in lawsuit liability and regulatory investigations etc, etc that would also be expensive in fines and man hours. They document and comply with everything.

    I am not sure what hospital policies you mean. I think most people find most hospital policies annoying and want control over how they are treated. I don't see the connection to voting.

  8. I think it is ridiculous to say that it won't ever effect you so who cares. I don't want children and yet I will fight tooth and nail for a woman's right to choose how she gives birth and I support national daycare (I'm in Canada). Just because these right don't directly affect me, doesn't mean they don't affect somebody I know. But I believe you are too short-sighted to see past your own "group", which is terribly unfortunate. I believe that is why the US is in the state it is in: people don't give a damn about anybody else. In Canada, we have healthcare, and although I will certainly be gainfully employed and have insurance, that doesn't mean others should suffer and die. I doubt I will ever need an abortion but I will fight for the women who do. It is the right thing to do.

  9. Here is a great article on gender gap and gender equality.


  10. After thinking about it, I want to make a comment about how Anon wrote "we vote like our husbands". Her explanation was that they marry men with similar values, but the language she uses belies that. I would never use such language. I would say "we vote the same way". The subtle difference says to me that even if you disagreed with your husband, you'd defer to his decision. And that is sad. No woman should feel she is bound by a decision her husband makes. I am my own person. I make my own decisions.

  11. Oh my, don't tell me people are using anecdotal evidence to pit their specifics against the generalities presented by the other Anon.

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