Saturday, November 15, 2008

Feminism Is Good For Society

Amrutha tagged me for my take on Feminism, as a 'Stay At Home Mom' (SAHM).

When my kids were young I saw friends struggling with their jobs and babies, guilt ridden, short of time, confused and judged by many. I sympathized and was relieved I didn't have those worries. Within a few years their kids grew up, just like mine did, many were more independent, but many were just like my kids. A few more years and here I was feeling left out, lost and even useless, and they all had risen in their careers, their kids were proud of them. I was envious for a while, but then I realised I was doing all the things I loved to do, we all had made choices and I did not need to be a superwoman. That's my take on feminism and Stay At Home Moms. I don't think Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs) are necessarily better moms, I don't think we made any sacrifices, yes I did get to spend more time with my kids, yes we are very close, but so are many working mothers' kids. I have seen fathers boiling milk, feeding the kids, bathing them, putting them to sleep, taking them to the park. Some of these cool dads had working wives, some didn't. If they invested time with their kids the biggest beneficiaries were not the mothers (though I assure you we are very proud of these guys) - it was these bold, loving, involved dads themselves. My husband was one of them. I wasn't working but I needed an occasional break, and he took the kids to the club so I could read/sleep/just sit in peace for sometime. The kids still remember those times with loving smiles :)

For those who think women must stay at home and care for their kids, decide then if you want Sania Mirzas, Indira Nooyis, Renuka Chaudhurys etc to stop working, or start so late they never reach influential posts? We need female representatives in every field. We do need women, doctors, lawyers, teachers, astronauts, politicians, I think feminism means letting women (and men) make choices. And then supporting them. Mothers, just like fathers, need support to raise happy families. We all rave about 'Behind every successful man there is a woman'. We should also appreciate the fact that, "Behind every successful woman there is a man." Sadly, sometimes the man is not there as a support.

Feminism is good for society. It frees all humans, including men, from unnecessary, useless 'have to fit in' expectations. Feminism is about justice for women, and indirectly, justice for men. Feminism, for men, means having life partners in the truest sense and not 'wards' or 'responsibilities'. Sharing of responsibilities, a friend to laugh with, a woman empowered to stand by your side through every crisis and joy. An intelligent conversation. An argument between two equals. Shared interests. A live-in friend :)

Feminist men can help create a better society by making sure that they treat their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, colleagues, bosses, neighbours, customers and friends, as equals. It's easy, just treat them as individuals. Feminism is good for the society, because feminism is all about refusing to accept injustice. No society can thrive if half it's population is treated as second class citizens.

Change rarely happens suddenly, but if we learn to question set norms, we can at least start the process. I am proud to say our kids know that, with or without any laws or social customs, both have equal property rights and equal responsibilities. No dowry for Daughter instead she will have her inheritance, just like her brother will. And it is equal, not the humiliating one third or half of his.

Feminism also means not blaming your daughter, sister or any woman if they are harassed by some lecherous creeps. Feminism is realising that sexual harassment related crimes are a law and order problem, and not a woman's (or the way she was dressed!) fault, such crimes are more prevalent is societies where women are not treated equally.

Feminism is also ringing the bell if you suspect domestic violence. Let the batterer know you will not consider such brutality a 'family matter'.

I wish I could say, 'That's it.', but unfortunately we live in a society that allows injustice to thrive, and even the horror of Paros in Haryana, and a gender ratio of 750:1000 has not wiped the stigma from the word 'feminist'. When they talk about feminism, even today, most women start with denying they are feminists ...

Whose opinion on Feminism do I wish to know? Okay, I tag,

Usha Pisharody, Vikram, Shail, Does it matter, 1conoclast, Mavin, Mampi, Sunder & Manju.


Look forward to reading your posts on Feminism :)

47 comments:

nimis540 said...

I find this line very disturbing..

"I don't think Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs) are necessarily better moms, I don't think we made any sacrifices,"

then why did I choose to stay home :(

My life is such a waste ..I don't mean that having a job is the end of world..I don't know..I just feel so low and unworthy when I see women around me working and being independent..

Monika,Ansh said...

IHM- I really liked your take on this.
It does not matter whether a woman is a SAHM or Working Mom. We all love & care for our children equally. It's the quality time that matters.
The way u put it "Feminism" does sound good for society :)

sunder said...

Working women suffer a lot mentally when they think that they cant be at home with kids...

My wife could spend just two hours in a day with my daughter. 2pm to 4 pm...except for fridays which is a holiday.

There are moments she thinks she will just resign the job. I used to tell the other side is always greener.

My daughter pesters why you want to work..plus if you ask her what she want to become, she replies sometimes i want to be a housewife. so that i can take care of my kids..well she is just 6 and if those words are coming out from them, one can see how much they miss.

Yes i do take her to park, make her sleep, but i know mother is extra special...

Ultimately it is the choice one makes in life and should be happy with whatever the decision they make...

The other side is always greener..

well with respect to dowry...where i live , men has to give dowry..and itis not parents responsibility to give dowry..result people just not able to get married..

Indian Home Maker said...

Nimmy You say you chose. 'Chose' to stay at home because you wanted to spend more time with your kids, if it was a choice, your own decision, then why call it a sacrifice? Wasn't it a pleasure?
Women are made to do a lot of things in the name of 'sacrifice', we should refuse to 'sacrifice' for our children and families, no matter how glorious it sounds. We love our children, we love taking care of them, we think they and we would benefit from spending time with each other? Great. Now where does sacrifice come into it? If you expect devotion and extra love for being an SAHM, then how is it a sacrifice, aren't we expecting something in return?
All I mean is whatever you do, do because it is for everybody's, INCLUDING YOUR OWN happiness.

Don't sacrifice. It's a trap :)

Indian Home Maker said...

Monika.ansh - Feminism, justice, freedom, equality are good for civilization. Very good.

Nearly all the women in my family, including my mom, are working, they grow, evolve, learn, they have lives and they are not as emotionally dependent on their children, as women were when they were forced to live and sacrifice for their families ... thank God :)

Mampi said...

You have covered almost everything that was to be said here on Feminism-as an ordinary woman or man takes it. I say 'ordinary' as opposed to a scholar in feminism. Your take on sacrifice is what I endorse very very strongly. When you choose to stay home, you don't sacrifice just the way when you choose to work, you don't sacrifice either (or say 'not sacrifice').
Every household, every individual is different, every human mind is made up in a different manner cut out to do a different job. Why you are a full time home maker while I am not is simply the way someone else is a software engineer or a publisher just the way I might be a doctor.
Three cheers for you. And yes, Feminism IS Good for the society in general because it is no more the 'burn your bras' brand stuff; it is more about you and me and the guys we are married to; the guys we are rearing up to be better human beings than as mere men with a twisted worldview about women.
Sorry for hogging so much space, but it happens sometimes.
:)

Indian Home Maker said...

Sunder So long as it is a choice, it's fine. I find a lot of times women are judged. Either she is a devi or a witch, she can't just be human. That's what causes so much of guilt.

Mothers specially working mothers, need a lot of support. Specially emotional support, when the kids are young. I have seen many close friends go through what your wife is going through. Between the two of them, the parents have done fine, the kids are also happy. In one case both the parents are away (dad in another city) and the kid comes home, unlocks the door and heats his food in the microwave and he is the envy of my kids, because he is not being told to change, wash his hands, sleep now, this now, that now ... I know what the mother goes through, if he loses weight she is sure it's because she is away at work, if he gets one mark less, it's because she isn't sitting on his head supervising his school work. She ends up doing so much more than most SAHMs, and still feels guilty.

Just call me 'A' said...

i think women who choose to stay at home to care for the family are really strong women. this does not mean that working women are not strong. but giving up a career, esp if you're well educated and had aspirations, giving up financial independence, giving up a lot of your personal time for others..that is being so selfless. i really admire someone who willingly choose to be a stay at home mom or even just a stay at home women. i think SAHM are superwomen. i know i can never do that.

Sindhu said...

I like your take on the term "feminism" - I tend to agree with your liberal definition that doesn't pigeonhole women into weaklings or butch men-wannabes.

Indian Home Maker said...

Mampi loved your comment, not just sacifice; devis and witches too, these are three tags women can do without :)
Would like to hear more! So you have been tagged!

Usha Pisharody said...

Oh I loved this post, as one of the best I've read here, for the down to earth views [as always, actually], and because most of what is here, is very similar to my perceptions on the topic too!

Now I get the hang of the "tag" thingy :) It will take at least a week, since I am bang in the middle of test paper corrections, :), but this is one I really want to do:) Thanks!

And I suppose this sort of marks my arrival in blogshpere, being given this opportunity to respond. Thank you too, for that! What I am going to enjoy about this is that I was a SAHM, who later became a HM who worked outside too.. :)

This opinion is truly insightful :

Feminism is good for society. It frees all humans, including men, from unnecessary, useless 'have to fit in' expectations. Feminism is about justice for women, and indirectly, justice for men. Feminism, for men, means having life partners in the truest sense and not 'wards' or 'responsibilities'. Sharing of responsibilities, a friend to laugh with, a woman empowered to stand by your side through every crisis and joy. An intelligent conversation. An argument between two equals. Shared interests. A live-in friend :)

Nice, nice, nice one!!

Kislay said...

Three cheers for Feminism . How else can the holocaust of female infanticide that has been going on can be stopped ? And it is much more worse than the original one , cause it has been going one since ages , and is increasing with every passing day .

D said...

I totally agree with you: feminism should mean a woman's ability to make a choice without thinking of gender implications.

sunder said...

Well you tagged me, i have just copied and pasted one of my earlier blogs from Y360...i felt there was some resemblance...

Ritu said...

I like your views. They are simple and profound.

Amrutha said...

I agree 100%. I really have a problem with some people SAHMs with useless parasites. I have come across more than one post like that, and I find it unfair. Moms and moms. Whether they work outside the house or not.

Vikram said...

You'll have to wait about a week for my opinions on feminism. A bit busy these days.

Usha Pisharody said...

Finally started a space for prose stuff here.. wl take ur tag there, in a week's time.. thanks again:)

http://rambleononon.blogspot.com/

Devaki said...

I am curious about one thing IHM. I agree all women should have the freedom to choose what they'd like to do. But then you say we need women representatives in every field - do you think your choice to be a SAHM negates that need to a certain extent?

I am not being critical, just trying to understand stuff I might need to decide on sometime too...

myheadtrip said...

I understand that being SAHM by choice is not sacrifice; though in many cases, I have seen it happen by force. That is when the feminist views come forth :) Though, off late, in my personal life; I am so tired of the so-called feminists advocating that I must work else my son would be ashamed of me or question me when he grows up!! The travails of being jobless & job hunting and all the rest that is happening in my life :( *sigh* Sorry! one of my tiny rants! :)
Like your take on feminism.

shail said...

Ohh is this the tag?? Give me a couple of days. Tooooo busy now. No time to even read this post. Will come back and read and also honor the tag! :-)

Nita said...

Good post and you have been truly fair to women.
Nimmi, I think what IHM says is true, as she says not necessarily. I think whether one is a good father or mother depends on the individual. I know many stay at home moms who are lazy and useless and at times abusive to their children. I also know some working moms who are indifferent to their children and quite incapable of relating to them. However I think moms who are capable of getting a job outside but still choose to stay at home could well be more dedicated...but that is just a guess. I'ts not a sacrifice and I agree with IHM here totally, because one is choosing to do something one enjoys and loves. I think this speaks something for the mother, but if she is "sacrificing" then she may not be a good mother.

manju said...

Well IHM, you've covered all the main points. How will the others find anything original to write on this subject?:)

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

a fine post.
i know what you are talking about when u speak of making choices. Yes. if we have the freedom and guts to make choices in life, and be happy about the choice we have made, we are liberated beings.

and how do we make the right choice? we must look into our hearts, and find out what we want from life. get our priorities right.there will b no regrts later, come what may.
this is the voice of experience speaking ;-)
i loved this post. blogs are such a refreshing change from wordy theories - -

churningthewordmill.wordpress.com said...

i am in agreement with u on the fact that being a stay at home mom or a working mom is essentially a matter of choice. neither is wrong or right , good or bad. its wat works for u and ur family. ultimately its important to be happy with whatever decision one makes.
i like ur views on feminism...i agree to a lot of stuff.
mandira

preetischronicle said...

Your take on the subject is quite interesting. Women do need support when they work outside of home, since many household stuff is traditionally entrusted with them and now that I have a baby, I realise whether I step out of the house or not, the primary care of the baby is certainly my part, no one else can do it better. The support that working mums need cannot be more emphasised. When some women choose to SAHM, I think it is very noble and without doubt benefits the child and gives peace of mind to the mother. Noble just like a father would be, when he decides to have lesser business trips out of the city and makes space on a working day to be with the kids. SAH becomes tougher on women when the kids grow up, have their own circle, go about their jobs, lives and don't need us to be there 24*7. It starts to pinch then. But if they look at it more from a 'choice' perspective, its easier on them and of course on the child, who would feel burdened with the 'sacrifice'.
Having said that, SAHM is certainly a tough choice and commendable and highly appreciable for those who give up progressive careers for their children. I would hold them in higher esteem and ask them to feel nicer about their choices, which wasn't an easier one by any standards.

Anrosh said...

if i can get up in the morning and do what i choose to do - it is not being called feminist , it is being called human. most "isms" are coined with a negative connotation. looking at from the other side of the pool the female (not looking through the society from the eyes/perspective of a man) is just asking to be treated as a human being. does a man call himself "male-ism' just because he wants himself to do/be what he wants to do/be?
i am just another human being who was born as a female and wants me to be treated as a human being.PERIOD.
o boy, i can think of another long post..but let it wait.

wordjunkie said...

Great post, IHM, you articulate things so well. I agree with you totally, even as I struggle at juggling SAHM-hood with home-based consulting. There is still a lot of stigma attached to women finding their fulfilment in things other than their family.
I think the most important thing is that you be happy with your choices, and that your kids see that, even if this meands leaving them to work full time...Happy mom = happy kids. 'Sacrifice' does not fit this equation, I think.

On the other hand, the state of childcare is so dismal in our country, that the fear for our children's safety becomes the biggest trigger for a lot of us women to stay home Sometimes it's not about personal choice alone...

Does it matter said...

Nice post, & thanks for the tag..
Will post soon.

And since I, er, need to write something there, am closing my comment here ;-)

Mavin said...

Hiya,

Will have to really think and write on my perspective of "Feminism........".

Already reeling reading all the comments.

Paul said...

@ Nimis540: My mother once told me that in her view the most important thing she had ever done in her life was raise myself and my brothers. So, for what it's worth, that is the opinion of a woman who in her time was both a business executive and a homemaker, and knew both worlds. Hence, I cannot imagine you have wasted your life.

@ IHM: What a wonderful, well thought out post!

Does it matter said...

Okay, Tag taken up, completed, posted..!

Monika said...

beautiful is all i say... agree on all the points... a mom doesnt have to be stay at home or working.... she has to be a loving mom and as ur dad the parents have to share a chemistry and balance to bring up good kids...

and i always believe in what u said.... "I think feminism means letting women (and men) make choices." for me its equal opportunity, rights, freedom and choices at all times

its about how u still accept and appreciate the good things in men... its about how u still respect men even after being a feminist... its about how u stand up to the fact when u see something wrong happening... its about the fact that how u rear up ur children to support the above... not just the sons but the daughters too...

loved ur take

Chirag said...

@"I don't think Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs) are necessarily better moms, I don't think we made any sacrifices, yes I did get to spend more time with my kids, yes we are very close, but so are many working mothers' kids." - 99% Agree with you

I am all for equal rights for women, i mean there should not have been any debates at all if the really old great grandfathers hadn't screwed the system for whatever the reason.

My best friend and I exchange a lot of notes she's in HR and I am in Marketing :) that's a really good team, right ;)

Anyways, no society can progress until women are free. I mean really free, not the Femina Magazine free.

IHM, in my humble opinion the term 'Feminist' was screwed by the magazine for women by never really getting the point and only making money of the term. Is their any publication which actuality looks/ deals with issues women faces!

my space said...

IHM..I agree with you about SAHM..its no sacrifice..i too have chosen to be home for my kids but honestly i enjoy it..i love to spend time without any external pressures, pacing myself according to my whims and fancies..i think we are blessed to be able to choose..many are forced to either work or be SAHM..
as for feminism i find the word Humanism more appropriate...we are equals..why burden a man and be a liability when you can walk beside him???

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

My first visit to your blog IHM. Feminism is the least understood or rather most misunderstood cause today. Perceptions vary and though the gender discrimination in opportunities, education, basic necessities is narrowing in urban life, lots needs to be done in rural areas.

Thanks for your comment on Nita's Blog! Do Barrack into loud laughter by visiting my blog (it is a humor blog!)

Thought Room said...

IHM nicely put!. I some how do feel that the term sacrifice does need to be used here. You see sacrifice is a term used to describe the fact that we voluntarily give up something important to us, on the principal that something more important requires our attention, time, effort…etc. You see even when the freedom fighters fought, they considered the need of freedom more important than their lives. When some one dedicates their lifes for a cause, be it a scientist, an athlete, or many others, they sacrifice something for it. Being a mother is one such cause. Every one lives on the principal that they have to be their best at what they can be, even mothers. They dedicate their lives and their various interests for it. If it does not get termed a sacrifice, I am afraid that it gets taken for granted. It is a different matter when this sacrifice is demanded of you. It is no more a freedom of choice. But when a parent- mother or father, gives up a bit of their lives for what they term is more important, then it is a sacrifice. A term I would us as an appreciation, for some ones effort.

Indian Home Maker said...

just call me A I think basically so long as you are not bing forced to give up your job, in the name of Indian women must sacrifice ... it's fine :)

Sindhu, Yes feminism is just plain Humanism, but has managed to acquire a bad reputation :)


Usha Pisharody Welcome to the Blogosphere!!!
And I am looking forward to reading your new blog :)

Kislay I knew you would agree :) I have read your views in your posts and comments and once again, it's a pleasure to know bloggers like you.

D Yes, it simply boils down to the freedom for all humans to choose.

Sunder Read it :)

Ritu :)

Amrutha Just think how much we have changed in the last twenty years, we are moving towards a fairer and free-er society ...

Vikram Looking forward to it :)

myheadtrip I agree! My next post is about this forcing ... being able to choose, to work or not to work is feminism.
LOL I am not working and don't care who respects or not respects that choice:)

Shail :)

Nita Absoutely!!! Why fall into the sacrifice trap? We have as much right to live and instead of one person sacrificing we can all contribute towards the family welfare.

Manju :) I am waiting for your post!!!

kochuthresiamma pj - 'and how do we make the right choice? we must look into our hearts, and find out what we want from life. get our priorities right.' Agree!!

Mandira Yes it's all about being allowed to choose, not be forced to sacrifice either way!

Mama - Mia said...

true IHM.

i think feminism is about having a freedom of choice, ability to take responsibility for that choice and being comfortable in ones skin whatever one does! :)

cheers!

abha

Indian Home Maker said...

Abha Absolutely :) Knew you'd feel this way!

Rashmi said...

I came here through Shailji's blog. I enjoyed reading this. It is eloquently written and I like the way you made your points. I think we as parents have a big task of making sure or kids know how to Treat a Human Being regardless of their gender. We do have a long way to go.

Usha Pisharody said...

Done the tag :) If you can call that post any kind of tag ie.. :D!

shail said...

Oops! Forgot to report to you. :-) Here is my offering for what its worth:

http://shailsnest.com/wp/challenge/feminism-a-tag/

Mavin said...

Hiya,

Done yr tag.

Not very strident though. Would like you to rip it apart.

1conoclast said...

Dear IHM...

It's finally up. It's not anything I'm proud of, but then it's not something I've given much thought to before you tagged me!

Here's my scratchy, disjointed, Opinionated entry.

Utopianthots said...

Lovely post IHM and there is not one part that I could disagree with. Not yet a Mother, but I could empathise already a dilema that drives me nuts.
I wish Feminism could be defined as a right to being Just me and not wanting to conform to set moulds

1conoclast said...

Ahem...

Your vishesh tippani please?