i am a radical feminist. i am also a housewife. those two things are not at odds.
it makes me angry and sad when women buy into the idea that homemaking is only something that women do if they are subordinate, un-inspired, and weak, or only something one does if one has put "real" dreams and a "real" career on hold, or even that homemaking is only something women do.
by choosing to make a career of being a mother and wife and manager of my home, i am choosing to see those things as inherently valuable and worthwhile. i work 18 hours a day at the most demanding, but also most rewarding job i have ever had. it is a job that allows me opportunity to explore my own resourcefulness and creativity, and to show my daughter and husband that they are the absolute most important things in my life. i cannot even fathom the sacrifices i would have to make to get a job outside the home. i would have to put my real dreams and real career on hold to do that.
currently, whenever i'm not tending to haven's needs, i can do whatever i want with my time. i have time to crochet, and sew, and read blogs, and write blogs, and spend time outdoors, and cook fancy foods, and make cosmetics and soaps, and watch movies. i spend time each day doing housework, but usually by the time haven goes to bed at night, i have several hours totally free. when tony is not on deployment, i can be there for him when he gets home from work and needs to talk and de-stress. i can cook dinner at my own pace, with real food. if i were to get another job, i would lose all that. when i got home from work stressed and tired, i would have to spend my entire evening rushing through all the housework, baby care, cooking, etc. i would sleep less. i would feel ragged and trapped. homemaking means more sleep, more freedom, more creativity, more fulfillment, more time with loved ones, more time for myself. i can't imaging giving all that up for anything other than an absolute financial crisis.
a lot of feminists have bought into the oppressive, patriarchal idea that the work women have traditionally done is somehow less important than the work men have traditionally done. virginia wolfe and mary woolstonecraft would be rolling in their graves if they knew what had become of feminism, and that modern feminism has become the greatest perpetuator of the idea that women are inferior. i think it is really degrading to women to say that being a mother is not enough of a "career". the work of the home is still done primarily by women, only now women also feel like they have to have a "real job" too. so they run themselves ragged trying to have two careers, because society, and many feminists, make them feel inferior if they don't. telling a woman that working in the home is not "real work" is as limiting and oppressive as telling her that she can only work in the home. society went from oppressing women in one way, to oppressing them in an opposite way. only now women are oppressed with twice as much work to do.
i don't get a "real job" because i see working outside the home as a less important and less valuable way to spend my time and energy, not the other way around. i am so grateful to tony for having a job that brings in money, and putting up with all the bullshit that entails, so that i can have a fulfilling, inspiring, important job taking care of the non-monetary needs of our family. rather than feeling repressed or subjugated, i feel really selfish that i get to work at something so fulfilling while he is stuck working for money.
i am by no means saying that every woman should be a homemaker or get married or raise children. women and men should have the career that they find most fulfilling, and for many women that means a career outside the home. but women who find that the career that is most fulfilling to them is homemaking should not be looked down on for it, especially by other women. the whole point of feminism is supposed to be to recognize that women and men have equal value, and should have equal opportunities and choices. my choice is to be a homemaker, and saying that it is a poor choice or an inferior choice is about as un-feminist as it gets.
in the same vein, men should also have the choice to work in the home if that is the career that they find most fulfilling. stay-at-home dads are made the butt of jokes in our society, which degrades men in the same way that looking down on stay-at-home moms degrades women. patriarchy doesn't actually give men more choices. it limits and degrades everyone. and, sadly, much of modern feminism has become a tool of patriarchy.
i don't raise my baby, cook for my family, and run my house because i can't do anything else. i do it because you couldn't pay me to give those things up to do anything else. the work that i do as a housewife is real and valuable work.
so as a radical feminist, i will continue to nurture, nourish and teach my daughter, take care of my husband, make our home a place of comfort and acceptance, live consciously and sustainably, and develop my creative interests. feminism means i have the right to make that choice, to follow my own dreams and my own path rather than a path proscribed for me by anyone else, including other "feminists".
and that is my rant.