what could be more important

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I guess I don't understand many of these articles on Feminism. Women are equally important as men but we are different. I know that no matter what I do I could never pick up an ax and swing with as much strength as my husband, I also know that my husband will never be able to nurse our babies. Both of us are equally important to the survival of our family but we are better at different things. What is so wrong with any person wanting to care for and raise wonderful children. If a person does not want to take the time to love and teach and guide their children why would that person have kids in the first place. I cannot imagine any more difficult, demanding and rewarding job in the world than being a mother, housekeeper and wife all at the same time. I truly don't understand how any women who has a child can say she would rather spend the day at a computer, than read to and hug her child. I am a college graduate and I have, with my husband, chosen for me to stay home and care for our children, home and we also homeschool our children. As far as submission in a marriage goes first of all since we are now able to choose our own spouses I guess I don't understand why any women wouldn't make sure that the man she marries will be a good, committed, caring, gentle man before she marries him. A family like any organization needs a boss, While I beleive that each family can decide for themselves who that should be, for us my husband is better at descision making than I am. He always consults me in making descisions because I may be more knowledgable in that area than he is but someone has to have the final say in order for the family to function smoothly. I chose to marry a man that I knew I could trust and obey to love and honor and serve me as I serve him.

-- Laura Pritchard (jprtchrd@dreamscape.com), August 13, 2000



There is nothing wrong with wanting a husband or children, that's a perfectly understandable desire. I think the problems become apparent when, for instance a woman decides she doesn't want children, or a husband. Is that so bad? Does a woman who makes that decision deserve all the bad stuff that she is accused of, when all she is doing is excercising her right to choose? Also - what happens if a women wants a child but then wants to go back to work? Why is it, that she is accused of not loving her child enough? It is great to read to or to hug your children but it can't be done every minute of the day no matter how much love you feel - you have to have time to youself to do other things. What about the fathers - why are they not accused of abandoning their children when they go to work? What happens if they want to stay at home to care for them? (They get accused of being sissy or not being 'real' men - why? Looking after children is harder than changing an engine in a car!) It is just not true that men can't keep house/care for children as well as women - they are perfectly capable of doing it just as mothers are.

You are also right when you say that motherhood & housekeeping are difficult, demanding and rewarding jobs. Perhaps the most difficult in the world. Why are women not given more credit for it, then? You say it's rewarding, but aside from your kids & family & friends, you don't actually get rewarded. With, for instance, some kind of allowance - it's a radical idea, but why are women/child rearers not paid for the job they do? It is an incredibly valuable job they do - just as important as running a business or being a doctor or any other profession that have a majority of men in them. Why are women/child rearers not given more services by the government? For instance, more public spending on child care, or women's health services, stuff like that. Basically, why are they not given more recognition and help, if they need it, for what they do?

Naturally as well, women and men are different. I believe that feminism these days is just trying to point out that women's differences are not given enough credit and value; unless she decides to become a mother/wife. In this day and age it is seen to be good to be strong, tough and unemotional which is what men are supposed to be, and what women are not supposed to be. What really doesn't make sense is that those stereotypes are just not true - we all know blokes who are not big and macho and we all know women who are big and tough. But we also all know people who try to live up to those ridiculous expectations - and it just doesn't work.

I could go on and on! But I wont - I just think that being a feminist doesn't mean we want to stop people getting married and having children. We want people to be able to have a choice, and whatever they choose we want them to have the support of the community in making a valid choice.

-- Helen Isaac (hihelen@hotmail.com), August 21, 2000.

I absolutely agree that you can never pidgeon-hole any person in to a gender stereotype. For example: most women like to get dressed up and wear make-up and even if they don't like it many still do it. This is true or there wouldn't be a billion $ cosmetic industry. I don't fit this stereotype, I wear make-up maye 2x a year for a wedding or Christams Eve Church Service. I also beleive that women should work and have careers if they so choose and so can men. However I don't think that the standards for a job should be lowered so that a women can qualify for the job. Ex; a firefighter, I want to know that any firefighter that comes to my house can carry out my 250 lb busband not just my 2 children, standards are just that standard created to assure the safety and success of a job. I certainly wouldn't want someone to do brain surgery who couldn't pass a reading test. The real point of my first post is that anyone who has a child needs to be aware that extreme sacrifice is needed by both parents to ensure the proper raising of any child. Raising and caring for a child is a full time job for it to be done correctly. We have been sold a bill of goods that a daycare or babysitters can even come close to raising and caring for our children the way we as moms and dads can. Yes a dad can be the dad at home, the point isn't that mom has to stay at home but that momor dad has to be at home and care for the kids. Again if you want to have a career then don't have kids, or have kids raise them and then have a career. Raising a child is a career. Children require our love and care 24/7 365 days a year for at least 18 years. If you don't want to do the job then don't have kids. I did work when I had my son and I put him in daycare after daycare but no one could care for him like I can. He had serious problems with anger and aggressive behavior. Guess what with-in 6 months of bringing him home he was a changed child. The children of our society are a reflection of the love and care we as a society give them. Right now our children know that our careers, 2 cars, 3 bedroom house, vacations, computers etc are more important than they are. You might ask what about poor people who need to work. Not always true. My dh and I live on 32,000 a year and we support his 3 kids from his first marriage as well as our own 2. I lived without a car for 2 years, we ate alot of beans and rice and fruit, and I make most things including clothes from scratch. Anything is possible if you love your kids. I have found that men don't treat me any diferrently now that I stay at home and care for my kids if anything they treat me with more respect. What I do find shocking is that other women are actually angry with me for raising my own kids and caring for my husband and my home. They think I am wasting my life, and my education. They think my husband must be browbeating me into doing this. Actually I am the one who asked him if he thought we could pull it off. I am often looked down on for bringing homemade cookies to an event rather than having run to the store to get oreos. It is so sad when women refuse to support other womens choices especially when ultimately it is not about women but our children. I don't think that the government has any business providing financial support for women staying at home other than tax cuts, an changes in the laws about retirement and use of husbands retirement. A woman should not have a baby unless she has a husband. They should not have a baby unless they can feed and cloth that baby. If they can't they should control themselves. I am not saying that it must be the wife to stay home just that someone needs to be at home caring for the children. The feminist movement was supposed to bring us freedom to chose but I don't think that meant raising children in poverty in single mom homes. We need to teach our young women to pick strong trustworthy, committed men to marry and raise a family with.

-- Laura Pritchard (jprtchrd@dreamscape.com), August 21, 2000.

Maybe for you some of the feminist "issues" don't have immediate impact on your own lifestyle. You have chosen a quite traditional lifestyle, marriage, children, deferring family decisions to your husband, that has always held general favour in male society. But the fact is, that you are living that way BY CHOICE.

There are others of us (women) who have chosen not to re-marry, or not to bear children, or to take a more dominant role in family matters, and these lifestyle choices are often looked down upon by society, the mainstream media, and in some countries forbidden from making certain choices. A lot of those "feminist articles" are about making women's less traditional choices acceptable, too.

-- jcharney (jcharney@fpdesign.net), March 10, 2001.

How much of what we do is programed by parents from an early age and how much is "in us" at birth?

When we had our two children a boy and a girl,we were both of the mind to bring them up equally:equal opportunities not forcing boy to lay football and girl to play with Barbies.

They had other ideas.We forbade our son to play with guns.He made them up.Our daughter chose to play at house. We were confused.Our daughter is very strong willed,we have not forced her into any particular stereotype. But she IS in one.She spends her time at Ballet and other dance classes.Enjoys dressing up and has an active imagination.In her pay she is a Princess who is rescued by her prince.

Girls also use play to build relationships with their friends,while boys use play to be confrontational (small c) and test out there friends,in an effort to establish a heirachy.

With boys the game is not as important as winning.Girls are less competitive,and are happy to play any game if it means they can build a relationship with a new friend.I am NOT saying that my daughter is happy to loose at all games or competitions.She is most definately not.But she decides if the game is to be competitive.

As to her future relationships. I am certain that in any relationship she will be the dominant one.As with employment.She is not concerned about what it is that she ends up doing.But she will most certainly be in charge. Are all of these things contradictory or just a pattern of life.??

Your call


-- Charlene (CHARLIE@FSMAIL.NET), June 11, 2001.

It is great to be able to choose a life that you are comfortable with as well as the people around you. There should therefore be no angst on your part about the path that you have chosen to follow. The main problem is that not all of us are that lucky. Personally I went through training for career and I do not think I want to waste it by raising wonderful children as you say. This is an assumption on your part and just because you stay home with your children does not imply that they will be good people. Both my grandma; mom and I have had to work outside the home out of choice and I would fight for that freedom. As all that have had a chance to take care of a household at one time, there is nothing fulfilling about taking care of sick children on the contrary it breaks your heart. And what do you do for intellectual activity apart from reading and teaching the children how to read. This is only for a short time up to the time they are school age. Then what do you do with yourself. It is a personal choice for you and I respect your opinion but it would be too much to expect someone to do the same in order to raise wonderful children as you put it.

-- Christine Oduor (c_oduor@hotmail.com), September 28, 2001.


"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat" (Rebecca West, 1913)

I share this quote with you hoping to show you that feminism is just an ideology that is hard to understand because it has been socially constructed by the males to continue casting stereotypes and opressing women. I think the label has been activated by the fact that women, who have always been opressed and have always stood up against it, have not been listened to and when they resort to social movements they are stereotyped in order to silence them.

I respect your decision to stay and be the most caring housewife and mother you are. I also praise you for the love you express for your kids. I would also like to congradulate you for having been able to choose the man of your dreams who is able to meet your needs as a woman. Finally, I wish you the best that marriage can offer and that the stability remains unshaken.

Now let's face reality. We find oppression against women in all spheres of life - be it at work, home, etc. Considering what Christine said, how many women do you think have been able to find what you have? Do you think it's their choices to live the kind of lives they are living? Like the other contributors in this discusion, I am puzzled by the fact that you find women and men equally important, but you do not seem to be bothered by the fact that your husband is unable to nurse babies, a job that you know very well to the most challenging. Do you wonder why your husband is better at decision making than you? Do you really think a woman who has been able to bear children and run a home is not good at decision making? I urge to think again on this matter. Also consider whose interests are served in the decision making process in your house.

Advice about this: "I know that no matter what I do I could never pick up an ax and swing with as much strength as my husband" THE IDEA HERE IS NOT ABOUT PHYSICAL STRENGTH, BUT INTELLECTUAL ONE. I believe that if a woman wants to finish off her husband she can do it more easily than a man can do. It's only that we women have that ethic of care. I guess it's because we know the painful path through which we bring these men into this world and who in turn end up killing us, and believe me not every woman can sacrifice that. Also tell me what can make a woman not to care about her kids despite the suffering she went through apart form the pathetic lives that this world offers us? Above all, why would a man be good at raising an axe and chopping off a woman's head instead of directing that energy and time to nurse babies?

The argument is endless. But it's high time that we stand up united against opression, and those who have been lucky enough to escape this to sympathize and help those of us who have been unfortunate, instead of making it sound like it is a good thing that we have to give in to. Life has a lot to offer and there is only one life to live, and everybody would like to live it to the fullest. I think whatever decisions we make about our lives not to re-marry and have children (as jcharney says) deserve every respect. It is our lives and our bodies, who will take care of them if we don't?

-- Eva Ratsie (ratsie_eva@hotmail.com), September 30, 2001.

I must admit, I feel that you are an internet mystery shopper or a person from another galaxy far, far away...

I can relate (totally '70's Maan) to your family ethos, I can even buy into the 'pick up an axe and swing it' thing, although we are not living on Walton's Mountain. What I can't stomach is the self satisfying attitude that you have had it sooo hard, living on beans or whatever.

You state that you are a 'college graduate'. Is your husband unemployed? Am I missing something? Where I live, people who to paraphrase, 'live on beans' have no option, often, but to live on the farty ones. Not that they could afford childcare in the first place, or that they would take that option, but that they have children they love, even when they know they can't afford them.

You seem to suggest that such people have no place bringing a new life into this world. If you think it is hard for you, a college graduate, what must it be like for someone without your priviledge? One school of thought (mine!) is that if you take care of your child and love your child when you have very few options open to you, love will 'save the day'... or something.

As for your statement that your husband 'is better at decision making' is that because of your weak female state? Poor you. Your husband is giving John Walton a run for his money!

While I agree wholeheartedly that if you should marry, it should be to a man (or person, shall we say) that you can 'trust and obey to love and ya da ya da ya da and vice versa', you presume that everyone has either a very perfect life or that everyone has some kind of sixth sense about these things. This is not (to my knowledge) the case.

Anyway, peace out or whatever you youngsters' say today!


-- Monica McNulty (monica2uk@yahoo.co.uk), February 06, 2002.

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