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Midcentury Domestic to Post-modern Superwoman (Women Only)

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by C-dot, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

    Oh, but I had to add: I think you are right to a certain degree - some women do want the best of two worlds. In feminist terms, they want both legitimate power and illegitimate power, according to whatever benefits them in a certain situation.

    I once saw a really interesting documentary about that teacher who did that famous exercise with ble eyed and brown eyed kids (ETA: Jane Elliott) where she talked about gender roles and discussed the implications of that. I'll see if I can find it online.

    ETA: more or less this:

    It's what I meant; if you trade on your femininity, you have to realise that you will get treated as 'a girl', and it won't always work to your advantage.

    I found the quote in an interview with Elliott on gender that some if you may find interesting:

    http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/againsthate/Journal%206/Interview%20Elliott.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
    Annie B likes this.
  2. kamikat

    kamikat Call Me a Cab

    I would have fit in lot better in the 50's than I do now. I'm a stay-at-home mom. Yes, my home is pretty darn clean. Yes, my family eats slow-cooked, home-cooked meals every day of the week. Yes, I sewed my kids' clothing (until the teen years when they started wanting brand names). My husband isn't expected to do anything around the house, nor did he change a single diaper. But he is the only breadwinner. He works long, hard hours and shouldn't have to put in hours at home, too. That's my job and it's much easier than his. When we go out and I meet men, they all praise me to high heaven and say my husband is the luckiest man alive. However, when I meet other women, I get treated like a second class citizen, or worse. Sometimes I get told I'm wasting myself on my kids and husband. Sometimes I get told I'm a traitor to my gender for not doing something "meaningful". Feminism was supposed to be about letting women have choices, instead it's about making women feel inadequate no matter what choice they make.
     
    Delma likes this.
  3. I couldn't agree more with this! I was lucky enough to be able to afford to give up my job when I had my daughter and I do feel that certain womens perceptions of me has shifted/changed - that I have somehow sloped off into a vortex of domesticity so they can't relate to me now that I am no longer working. I do think that motherhood and staying at home with your children is not valued in our society today - particularly by other women - that instead we should be out working too and become that Superwoman who can juggle several roles. I think women were sold a pup when we were told that we can have it all. I have seen friends who work part-time and they are still expected to put a whole days work into a half day and to be paid significantly less for it.

    Only a short time ago I was out with some female friends and they were discussing the future and one asked the other about their ambitions - they didn't bother asking me or including me in the conversation - it was like now that I had given up work I no longer had any ambitions - that this was my lot - I was written off.
     
  4. Extremely well said. The modern women's movement was a godsend for the Boys From Marketing -- and they co-opted it even before it barely got off the ground: those of us old enough to remember cigarette commercials will remember the "You've Come A Long Way Baby!" campaign which equated female empowerment with smoking a particular brand of skinny cigarettes. They haven't let up since, and I actually feel physical pain when I'm standing in the grocery line and I look at the magazines on the racks that dish all this unrealistic nonsense up to young women today. People smirk and sneer at all the campy-housewife ads of the past, but the images being thrust in our faces now are a lot worse -- exactly because they're presented under the guise of "empowerment."

    Real empowerment begins with shutting out all that market-driven junk and really sitting down and figuring out what's important in your life. You might find there's a whole lot you always thought you needed that you'll actually be better off without.
     
    Annie B likes this.
  5. C-dot

    C-dot Call Me a Cab

    If that was the case, and it sounds like it was, then your friends are a little misguided! Endless literary and real life examples come to my mind of people giving up work to chase their ambitions. Tell them to watch You Can't Take it With You, for one!

    That dawned on me pretty soon after I graduated college and started my current job (I've been there just under a year now). My family, friends and colleagues take turns chiding me for selling myself short, because I've chosen to stay in a career path that is "below" the one I studied for. But, to be perfectly honest, watching these Bay Street lawyers turn themselves inside out, and the seeds of the same growing in the articling students I work with, turned me right off practicing law myself. I've got nothing against anyone who's ambition it is to be a lawyer, man or woman, because they work damn hard and they do a lot of good. I just don't think a highly stressful lifestyle is a fair exchange for a fatter salary.

    It was very freeing to realize that the prestigious six-figure salary career I always thought I needed (or was told I should have) isn't a necessity for me at all.
     
    Annie B likes this.
  6. Dixie_Amazon

    Dixie_Amazon Practically Family

    I don't have girls, but I have tried made sure that my three teenage boys know that beauty is not defined by Madison Avenue's tricks of the trade.
     
  7. W-D Forties

    W-D Forties Practically Family

    I couldn't agree more with the sentiments here. I am a teacher and work very long hours (during the day and working at home I pull about a 60 hour week), I also work the best part of an hours drive away from home. My husband is an air traffic controller and runs a industrial airport so, again, very long hours in a stressful environment. We have two boys that I feel only ever see the stressed, miserable me that spends the time I have with them shouting at them for not getting ready fast enough, asking to do things I don't have time for, making my already busy life harder by not being tidy. Ironically, teaching was seen as one of the family friendly professions as we are off work when the kids are! My husband works shifts then does all the food shopping and most of the cooking as I am back too late....

    It's madness. I feel we are all doing too much and none of it well. My nine year old asked if he could have an hour of my time at the weekend to do something together. Most weekends I don't even manage that, and that is terribly sad. I am seriously considering quitting teaching and doing something else. One person doing a very stressful job in a family is enough, whether it is the man or the woman, the other one needs to make a house a home and put the family first. I think that is the true essence of equality, it could be either of us. No-one ever gets to their deathbed and wished they had spent more time at work.

    I think one of the main problems is that is is so difficult to manage of one income. My husband earns a reasonable amount, but even then it's not quite enough to cover everything on it's own without some serious belt-tightening.
     
    Annie B likes this.
  8. What your son said to you must have broken your heart a little bit. :(

    I don't know what your teaching degree is in, but could you tutor? I know someone with an advanced degree in physics that tutors part time and makes what she would make teaching high school, just doing it less than 20 hours a week. Physics tends to be very much in demand. Or perhaps if you have many years of teaching experience, could you teach college-level classes? You wouldn't make very much teaching college classes, but it would be more flexible.

    The thing is that with one spouse not working/ working part-time, you really have to make scarifies. We don't eat out. We don't go to movies. We're moving to a place where taxes are cheaper and we can grow more of our own food. We don't have a college fund. We don't eat anything out of a box or bag. You really have to cut corners, and the spouse that stays at home that becomes a primary part of their "job." Yes, you have time to make things from scratch, but also kind of have to.

    I hate to say this, but I've had a brush with the fact I could die and that really changed my perspective. Work is *not* important. Really, a person should work to enable the things they want to do. If you're working so much you can't enjoy the fruits of your labor, you're working too much. You have to work to live, not work to survive. If you're not enjoying it, and you can make it work any other way, do it. I will never regret the year I spent home with my daughter. Your children are only young once.
     
  9. W-D Forties

    W-D Forties Practically Family

    Very, very true sheeplady.

    Unfortunately, the education system here is in a state of flux at the moment, with budgets being slashed left, right and centre. My subject is quite specific to high schools (I teach several strands of Design and Technology), and there isn't much call for tutors in anything but core subjects. We can't move and live in quite an expensive location so if I give up teaching I will have to do something different to make ends meet, but maybe that is not such a bad thing!
     
  10. We're the same way here in regards to education. A couple of years ago I took a series of baking classes at an arts and crafts store. There were two teachers in my class- one social studies and one french. Both were out of work and had moved back home to live with their parents- in their late 20s/ early 30s. They were both were using the class to retrain to become professional bakers.

    I don't want to knock bakers- I have considered going "pro" myself to earn a little extra cash. But teachers in my state are required to have a Masters in Teaching before they enter the classroom. They both had jobs- one for a decade- before being laid off. It is a sad day when we're laying off teachers with a decade of experience and they are retraining to be bakers.

    Teaching is hard work. I taught at the college level for 5 years. It was a lot of fun, and very rewarding, but also incredibly stressful, time consuming, and demanding. I had to available to my online students 24/7 since they were worldwide. And I didn't have to deal with the budget constraints, behavioral problems, etc. that you do.

    If I were you, I'd seriously consider the career change if you think you'll be happier. It's just not worth it. I understand being location limited. Lots of people change careers one after another.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
  11. W-D Forties

    W-D Forties Practically Family

    It's great that you have to have a Masters in teaching in your state sheeplady - the gvt here are trying their best to bring in unqualified teachers! These days I am lucky to have a job at all.

    I am negotiating with my Head at the moment to work a day less a week. fingers crossed!
     
  12. W-D Forties

    W-D Forties Practically Family

    I heard this week that I can work 4 days a week! Yipee!
     
    Annie B likes this.
  13. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Congratulations, W-D. I'm looking forward to hearing how this works out. Good luck to you and your family.
     
  14. Great to hear! :)
     
  15. W-D Forties

    W-D Forties Practically Family

    Thanks ladies! I'm having my house extended so it's a building site with little electricity, still working, and just getting ready to go to Florida, so very busy! I'm looking forward to having that extra day to get myself straight when I get back!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  16. Annie B

    Annie B New in Town

    18
    Yes! I love this. There is a stunning difference between the advertisement housewife of the 50s and actual 50s housewives. I prefer the 30s and 40s because it seemed more down to earth, less all-out glamour. I am certainly not cut out to be a modern "superwoman". I aspire to be an old-fashioned housewife. Not the plastic image of a 1950s housewife tidying her immaculate home in pearls and heels, but the practical, knowledgeable, capable women that ran the home.
     

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