Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A quick one on the long F word.

The long F word is Feminism. I am proud to wear the label, but want this understood: feminism to me is simply humanism. There is a lot to be ruminated on here, but right now I just want to react to this statement by my blogger friend Melanie, who is just doing a series on women and clothing. I have been too busy to keep up to her prodigious output, but I had to react to this statement:

"The entire women's movement went off the rails. It began trying to get women the right to go out to work, and has led to women being expected to go out to work."

There was a lot more to the women's movement than getting the right to work outside the home. I vividly remember the earliest issues of Ms magazine, that devoted a lot of articles to the gritty realities of housework. In the beginning of the present wave in North America the movement wanted two things: Indeed, access to paid work and decent pay for the work outside that was already done, AND recognition of the unpaid work done by women in the home. The latter part was a big aspect of it.

What happened? How come the professional goals have been largely achieved, but at the cost of the importance of the domestic sphere?

I believe it was this: allowing more women in the work force posed no threat to the status quo, the corporate agenda. On the contrary. It allowed real wages to fall while family buying power stayed more or less the same. I blogged on this earlier.


We might say that allowing women into the work place is like allowing new players into a game. But the other side, recognition of the unpaid care work that supports all the rest, now there is a challenge! 

Dealing with the second aspects requires changing the game itself. No wonder it is taking longer.

There is more to this, but I have too much to do right now. 


Melanie Boxall said...

I agree, and I don't think it's even being addressed.

To be honest, I didn't even "get it" myself until I became a farmer. Initially the work was split between myself and my husband, but when his job changed, and he simply wasn't here much, I became the sole worker most of the time. My eldest daughter was 15 at the time, and she simply became the farmer's wife, effectively, watching younger siblings, cooking, laundry, etc, so that I could concentrate on outdoor tasks. She was INVALUABLE. She made it all possible.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Exactly. Unfortunately the only way we have right now to value housework is to monetize it, which is the only we have to express value to anything, which brings its own problems. The economy is based on utter madness, and we need less involvement with it, not more. These rants will have to wait, GARDEN MADNESS is upon us, hallelujah!