The Feminist Housewife

by Sarah on March 18, 2013 · 1 comment

In this week’s New York Mag there is a lengthy feature called “The Retro Housewife.” It interviews women who define themselves as liberal and feminist, yest still choose to stay home to care for their family.

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It’s a lengthy article, and covering what is now very well-trod territory (see some of our earlier pieces about this same topic), but it goes to show that the role of women in the workplace and home is being reevaluated. Here at NeW, we have long been supporting the fact that women can and should choose the role that is right for them, and know that there are implications – both positive and negative – for each decision. While it is great to see that the message of radical feminism is being challenged, it’s not enough. Articles like this still give off a feeling of guilt, that the people who are interviewed and writing it are betraying all of womankind by suggesting that families are important.

It’s great that people are discussing the positive side of both feminism and the housewife, but until this is seen as an accepted and supported role and not an anomaly that must be studied and commented upon, then we still have a long way to go.

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fran froelich March 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Well, why not? It’s about respecting individual choices, isn’t it? My feeling was—why was it better to have an impact on other people’s kids, mentoring them, nurturing them, etc, & yet undervalue doing it for those who love you the most, namely your own. When you’re an at-home mom, you shape lives & souls in a way you never can for others. And you get to share their lives in a way that no caregiver ever dares to for fear of making Mom jealous. How can you want to miss out on the fun of seeing, not only their first steps & hearing their first words, but in going places. It doesn’t have to be something expensive. It can be the library, the local playground, or just a walk around the neighborhood. And the friends you make you’ll never forget. I’m not saying that moms should be on control trips. Kids’ minds & thoughts are their own, just as their personalities are as individual as their handprints. But I gave my two kids a kind of love & enrichment that nobody else ever could, no matter how kindly disposed they were. And they’re in their 20s & 30s now, but we share a bond we could not have shared if all they got was quality time by appointment.
Very recent example—a train trip I took from Philly to Cleveland to visit my SIL. One of my sons texted me remembering how much he’d enjoyed those trips as a child. And I was so glad to ahve had him and, eventually, his younger brother as well.

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