10 October 2006


i just read this fantastic piece over on shrub.com entitled feminism is about choice. combined with anthony's brilliant posting of the morning exploring the pay inequality between men and women today (STILL), my brain has been hard at work. they are related pieces, in more ways than one.

what follows is my response to the choice article:

great piece and discussion! i've been thinking about choices a lot lately, as i have a 18 month old that i have decided to stay home with. ask me how many people have said to me over the last several months, "wow, kara, that's not very feminist of you!" (?!) i'm always blown away by that. as if am i any less a feminist than i was before. gimmee a break. my choice was to be with my baby. i think i make a nice example for my son. :)

in all seriousness, one friend did tell me that there needed to be more women like me raising boys - i hope i don't fall short. and a part of me thinks she was right. but i digress. the thing that keeps eating at me, is this: in making this choice, i realize the lack of choice that all mothers simply don't have, "working" or not (but that's a whole 'nother conversation in and of itself).

it's rough, on many levels. we live fairly simply, but with one of us in a money earning scenario, we barely make it. i'm isolated - this culture gives great lip service to children and elders and falls horribly short. friends have disappeared. and none of these choices seem to address the lack of choice that making one choice leaves us with. the system still rages on, with the pretense that all of these choices are available, should we just try a little harder - but that is simply exhausting. my partner is falling over tired most of the time, he is truly an amazing person.

i look at my other choice - to re-enter the work force and work for some corporation that doesn't care whether i exist or not as long as i meet their standards - and still earn far less than my male counterparts. not to mention, what dirty business i'd be supporting by my labor. and then i would miss my bebe desperately. choices, huh? hrmpf.

your commentary on how we are inundated with gender roles from birth also resonates deeply with me. i wrote a lengthy paper a few years ago for school exploring these gender roles via clothing, advertising, and children's television programming. it was mind-boggling. but i didn't sink in until i perused the clothing selections for babies after i got pregnant. boy=blue, girl=pink. and then there's a hidious shade of yellow for those who choose not to go with the status quo. all made in sweatshops, i'm certain. no choice.

i wish i could find it now, but there was a social-psychologist that made a conscious effort to raise her children sans the typical gender role affliction with great success and published her findings... i think about this daily.

p/s - bebe has a doll that he adores. he "reads" to her, hugs her, kisses her, waves her little hands, changes her "diaper," tuckes her in for her "nap"...


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