Yesterday, some chat about feminism. Today, a little bit more — on a little bit more.
I was born in 1965, am African-American and grew up going to parochial schools and living on the southside of Chicago. When I was in highschool, I did not take any home economics classes, though they were offered. I was, in my mind, a feminist and would never be a house wife. My mother was not so why would I? I refused to take typing because I was going to have a secretary, not be one. I went to and graduated from a very prestigious midwestern university and took at least 3 Women’s Studies courses. I liked them so much that I would have majored in it if I was not so busy trying to become an electrical engineer. The fact is, I did not become an electrical engineer, I switched majors in my junior year( might not have graduated otherwise) Fastforward to now: I am a first time mother at 43 ( my newborn son in adopted) who works outside the home. I love to cook, sew and bake. I would give anything to be a stay at home mom. So I guess what we really got from the women’s movement was the choice to be who we want to be. Though I often think we sort of got a raw deal because a lot of us do it all, work full time and take care of our children and our household, not one or the other. In my case, I am just starting to really figure out who I want to be, and it’s niether Peggy or Joan, nor is it Laura Petry or Florida Evans. I just want to be a good mom to my son, a good wife to my husband and use my talents to create a masterpiece of my life. And as for that whole thing about not being a secretary? Guess what I do for a living… — Kim
A conversation from “And You Wonder: Why Women”:
I just had my first child at age 36. During the years before this I was diligently working on my career. Which I love, and had been successful at. It is part of who I am.
I love my son. I adore taking care of him. I decided that I could work and have a family.
Next: Slap in the face. My employer of more than 10 years hires a young single man to roll out a project that I had been preparing for over a year. I was told it was because I was no longer available 24/7. My world was rocked! I could not believe that it was even happening. I mean aren’t women equal to men now? Nope, we are not. Well, maybe if we stay childless. — CB
Question for the above (C.B.): Did you downshift to part-time after becoming a mom, or change to a flex-time work schedule or some such? It seems you have a case for discriminatory practices if not in my opinion, so I’d consider lodging a formal complaint because a company is NOT supposed to change your job duties like that for no other reason than your entry into motherhood. In addition, how could they assume you would “no longer be available 24/7″ if your work schedule is still the same? Fight back, that’s the only way we can change those attitudes! That said, there’s a lady who recently quit my son’s daycare, and she worked for a Big 4 Accounting firm in IT and had been given an extended Maternity Leave + Part-time schedule (that was supposed to be temporary) following her return. The employer accomodated her, but now she’s pregnant again (her son is around 19mos, next baby due late Fall) and they tried to force her to go back to Full-Time schedule. She refused and was “laid off” during some recent cuts. She told me she didn’t care because “that job is like, #5 down on my list of most important things”. Hmmm…seems some women do try to work the system and slack off or take advantage of their employers, and I’m sure this often leads to resentment among bosses of women who return to work but aren’t serious about their jobs any longer. — Crystal
Hi Crystal, The company I work for announces on the phone system welcoming greeting that we are open from 8:30 – 5:50. But really we are a 24/7 operation. Employees arrive around 9 in the morning and routinely stay at least 12 hours and commonly for two or three days straight to accommodate our clients. That is how I worked right up to the birth of my son. I now can only work from 8 – 4 due to daycare constraints. Plus my husband is in the military and is currently deployed. So I MUST go and get my son. There is no one else to do it. I still work full-time and I put in a 40 hour week – but my co-workers do double that. That is where the issues come in.The other problem is that I work for a very small company and they are not obligated to follow any of the Federal Rules regarding FMLA and the like. And to add insult to injury – there is a Pregnany protection law – but that’s as far as it goes. They were fine when I was pregnant – it’s after the fact that we have issues. I agree that fighting back would be the best thing to do. But I will tell you why I am not. I am so disgusted with my long-time employers I no longer want to work there. And will be leaving at the end of the year. I know that gives them exactly what they want. But I can no longer look at them with any respect and I will never be doing what I want to do. So really – what’s the point? — CB
I also read “Stumbling Onto Happiness”, not sure what made me pick up this book but it was brilliant! I felt really enlightened after reading the book. Study after study has shown that children do NOT make a couple “happier” (the reverse tends to be ture), and that money has only a marginal utility of return (the more you earn beyond a certain point, the less it matters regarding your happiness-level). The book also talks about how even people who are severely DISABLED (legally blind, paraplegic, conjoined twins etc.), are not really effected as far as their happiniess-level goes, and that’s quite a shock to most people I think. Anyway, women tend to be more introspective, we want jobs/careers/choices that will make us HAPPY, whereas men will stick with jobs that suck (Law Firms that require 60hrs/wk in billable hours, boring cubicle jobs in Corporate America that pay good if you stick with it) because they tend to focus on the bottom line ($$$). Ultimately, maybe women should not care so much about following their “heart’s passion” because a job/career can only bring you so much satisfaction. I work to earn a paycheck, not because my job “makes me happy”, but I’ve seen women waste the best years of their life trying to “find themselves” and winding up broke or stuck forever in entry-level or dead-end jobs. — Crystal
I totally agree. You never know what will make you happy, and I feel like the more expectation you put on something, the less likely it is to live up to it. It is like New Years Eve… so much pressure is put on you to have great plans and an epic night, and in the past, I have usually had more fun grabbing dinner and drinks with friends on the night before, or the night after, or any other random tuesday. Do what makes you happy right now, don’t expect a new job or new house or new city or new boyfriend or new baby to change everything and bring you the ultimate happiness you’ve been waiting for. Like the old saying goes, wherever you go, there you are… — Colleen
From “About this Blog“:
I think this blog is great! It reminds me of a book I read — The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz. While the book discusses having (too many) options most evident in consumerism (e.g. we can have boot, straight, flared fit for jeans. acid wash? stone wash? sand wash? etc), the discussion also grazes on sociological analysis. Most notable is the topic of the “quarter life crisis,” where those in the twenty-year-old range are disappointed and restless with whatever their choices are, whether it be continuing in higher education or choosing a career. Having choices is great!! But, it apparently requires a certain type of approach, otherwise one could get overwhelmed. As a fresh graduate (bachelor’s degree), I feel exceptionally at peace with myself, my post-education decisions, and feminism. I proudly proclaim myself as a feminist; I make sure to dispel stereotypes of feminists to friends, family, men and women alike. No matter where I am in a decade, either raising a family or involved with my work, I’m ready to be happy and satisfied with it. — Jeannie
And finally, from our last Zeitgeist:
I think one of the best things about this blog are the comments from visitors. They add a new perspective and real life stories which greatly enhance your postings.
This is so much more informative and relevant than the “information” given by experts in other locations on the web. Keep up the good work, and to those who are readers of the blog, keep posting!!! Don’t think that your thoughts are too unimportant to post. — tk
We aim to please. Keep your comments coming.