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This might be your mother's feminism

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At each other's throats [Apr. 17th, 2008|11:26 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism


I really hate the mothers-against-mothers stuff. I have particular aspects of it I particularly hate, chief among them the idea that mothers who have other jobs / do not have other jobs are not proper mothers / not proper workers. I use the phrases "part-time mother" and "doesn't work" when I'm talking about this.

And today I hurt a mother who wasn't familiar with my heavily sarcastic use of the phrases. She knows me well enough to be able to work out that I don't actually think mothers who have other jobs are bad mothers, or part-time mothers, but the issue is so nasty that the phrase made her wince.

How can mothers express their own opinions to each other without it being an automatic attack? So much of the language is so loaded. I quite see that sarcasm doesn't help, but I get so ANGRY.


[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2008-04-19 10:38 pm (UTC)
I think that "doesn't work" is extremely damaging mainly because so many people think it's not that bad a thing to say. I'm also not convinced that stay-at-home parents are economically inactive; that's not the same thing as "unpaid" at all.

Implying that what a mother does is *nothing* is, to me, at least as offensive as saying that she isn't always a mother. But far, far more people will agree that I do nothing of value, particularly nothing of economic value, than that you are sometimes not a mother.

Of course, in the four years since Linnea was born, I have met three other SAHMs who did not intend to return to paid employment as soon as possible (one by choice, one because of a disabled child, and one because she couldn't afford childcare for twins on her salary). I've also met one mother who went from employed to SAHM (by choice). Perhaps if I was in a social circle which included more SAHMs I'd encounter fewer instances of people who genuinely believe that the work of all-day-every-day childcare is not really work.
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[User Picture]From: merryhouse
2008-04-23 08:18 pm (UTC)
My three mothering sisters all chose to stay away from their paid jobs (all considerably better than mine, too) so I've felt a fairly solid base of support there even if I don't see them very often.

I think we need to shift the emphasis to the money: "unwaged mother" (how I usually describe myself, since I realised "full-time mother" might offend) and - hm, "wage-earning mother" might allow snarky people to suggest that she's getting paid for the mothering. Anyone got any ideas?
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[User Picture]From: merryhouse
2008-04-23 08:25 pm (UTC)
"outworking" sounds a bit cumbersome.
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[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2008-04-23 08:53 pm (UTC)
I do say "unpaid" sometimes, and there's "employed."

"Full-time mother" is only what I call myself when people say "Oh, you don't work, then?
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[User Picture]From: merryhouse
2008-04-26 09:06 pm (UTC)
"employed" sounds ok till you combine it to give "employed mother" which has the same problem as "salaried mother". And neither includes all those people who work freelance or for themselves.
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