A while ago I liked this page on Facebook called the “Rabid Feminist.”
Until one day they put up a guest post from someone stating how SAHMs (that’s “Stay-At-Home-Mom,” in case you weren’t hip to the acronym) were undermining the goals of, and strides made by, feminism. Apparently, in the eyes of whoever wrote the piece, and the moderator of this site, if you were a SAHM you were by definition not a feminist, and furthermore holding all of women’s lib back, negating much of the gains made by feminism— because you decided to be a SAHM.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I quickly looked to the comments below.
Relief! All of the comments were ones of anger, upset, and disappointment.
I myself posted something to the effect of: “Shame on you for trying to shame any woman that chooses to be a SAHM. Not only can being a SAHM be one of the most profound feminist acts of all, but to disparage any woman for making that choice is what is really anti-feminist.”
Yes, I am a “Strident Feminist” as Caitlin Moran would say, but that most certainly does not mean looking down on any woman just because she decides to be a stay-at-home-mother. That is a decision made by her, and/or an agreement decided upon by her and her partner, end of story. And hell, much love and power to those women! We all know that whether working outside the home or not, being a mother is a full-time job, but the way I see it, being a SAHM could encapsulate a very philosophical, free-thinking, creativity-inspiring, radical foundation for thinking and learning. One of my teachers once said that the Ancient Greeks—those great minds of the past (who stole most of their good ideas from the Middle East and Africa, according to him)— didn’t learn by sitting in a classroom in which all of learning was broken up into separate disciplines, but rather, they just had conversations (*ahem Socratic method*). This makes me think of all the things—concepts, ideas, ways of thinking and seeing, etc.—that could transpire between mother and child in a SAHM situation. What a classroom! Not to mention eschewing one’s place within the whole capitalist scheme of the workforce could be seen as a radical/ feminist move in itself, too.
Lastly, I would like to share that a while ago a SAHM friend of mine took me out for coffee, paying for both of us, and when I later told a male friend, “Oh, I met up with so-and-so this morning and she bought me breakfast, how nice, la la la….,” he responded,
“Well, her husband bought you coffee. She doesn’t work, so it wasn’t her that bought it.” I said, “OH SHE WORKS ALRIGHT. She just doesn’t have a “traditional” capitalist job, getting paid by a corporation like what you’re thinking… but OH… SHE WORKS. And SHE EARNED THAT MONEY and she bought me my coffee!”
So hopefully that clears the air on what at least one feminist thinks about the SAHM. (But we all know I’m not the only one)
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, mother-in-laws, single fathers, stepmothers, mothers-to-be, foster mothers, male-mothers, and anyone else doing the work of “mothering” out there. I’m a fan of your work.