Most women want an opportunity
As a woman, a scholar, and a
feminist, I found the article, “Most women want a family life” to be profoundly
troubling. I have no objections to family life per se, as I think having a
family is generally a good thing if it is undertaken with thought and planning.
I do find it problematic, however, that Ms Sletrov has such a narrow concept of
what a “family” is. The paradigm of the stay-at-home mother, breadwinning
father, 2.5-kid family is the exception rather than the rule in today’s world.
Breadwinning moms, single parents, and dual-income households are among the
family types that are the norm today. Moreover, having both parents work
provides flexibility in the types of jobs parents take and the hours they work,
and allows both partners to discover who they are outside their family roles
and relationships. These opportunities lead to a great deal of personal growth
and fulfilling lives.
In The Feminine Mystique,
Betty Friedan discusses “the problem that has no name,” the overwhelming sense
of emptiness and futility that many women (many of whom were educated)
experience when they become stay-at-home mothers despite other opportunities
available to them. Other problems stem from these “traditional” families, such
as the overwhelming stress placed upon the breadwinner to provide for his
family (hardly an easy task in our current economic state) and the constant
workload placed upon the caregiver, whose day never ended at five o’clock. It hardly seems right to reminisce about the
“good old days.”
I am also deeply troubled by Ms
Sletrov’s fixation on a woman’s worth hinging on her ability to conceive and
bear children. If a woman is unable to conceive, does she then have no worth?
Do women who have five children have more value than those who have only one?
As Freud once said, is biology destiny?
These are really questions that should be considered in earnest.
All societies at some point in time have regarded
women as property to varying degrees. Cassie, you are entirely wrong if you
think that this perception does not still exist in today’s society, even in our
own culture. While we do not appear to have issues as severe as those of the
women of Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, or the Sudan, we have miles to go before we can
rest in our struggle for equal rights as women. The struggle did not end in the
Sixties, and as long as we continue to deny the need for further progress, the
need for this struggle will never end.