Despite all the oppressions previously laid out, there are people who still believe that we live in a Post-feminism society.
The goal of Feminism is gender equality (see notes). In a world where there are still campaigns to educate girls the same as boys and to stop treating boys as disposable labour, there cannot really be any assumption of gender equality between men and women, let alone between these and the other genders that are newly coming to popular awareness. But even if they only mean that the Western countries are post-feminism, they’d still be wrong.
In order to fully prove this point, we will spend this month examining some aspects of feminist goals. The first will be the end of traditional gender roles.
Gender roles for all genders don’t allow people to just be themselves. Traditional gender roles place mom nurturing the kids at home and dad working in the world as the breadwinner. Let me be clear on these points:
- Staying at home with a child, does not feminize a man.
- Having any kind of full time job does not masculinize a woman, not even the manual labor jobs.
- Men that are feminine and women that are masculine were made that way. Their choices may highlight these differences, but they did not create them.
Work and the division of work within a household is up to the people in the household, and should not be judged or influenced by those outside of it. It will vary from household to household depending on the motivations and ambitions of those in it. That society greatly devalues the unpaid work that is often still considered “women’s work” doesn’t help the argument that women do as much work as men. It also doesn’t help women get into more paid work, which they may desire, because men may be less likely to engage in “women’s work.” If all the hours were even in the graph, we would have 10.5 child care hours, 14 housework hours, and 37 (which is full time and not about to change) hours of paid work. This totals to each person doing about 7 more hours of work than they are doing now. I know that this probably sounds undesirable and probably factors into why it doesn’t go that way, but there is a pay off (note 4).
Choice is the biggest bargain in the pay off. Each person knows for themselves whether working in the home or outside of the home makes them happy, but society often presumes to know what’s best for our families for us. Many mothers are happy in a variety of family/work situations. I have a feeling that fathers would be too if they weren’t constantly told it was feminine or unmanly to be the primary care giver of your own children. But change is coming, slowly, and here’s another major consideration: Fathers have a lot more to do with the well-being of a household than the money they earn. Studies have even found that fathers who do more housework and child care are happier than those who don’t. Better interaction with fathers has an important impact on the futures of their sons, and those who are more willing to do housework greatly contribute to raising more ambitious and independent daughters. Because of their extra time doing housework, they also alleviate enough time from mom to catch that extra 16 hours of paid work that may give a little better breathing room to the family budget (depending on paid child care requirements of course). Also, consider that perhaps in a household where both parents are aware of necessary housework, they may create less of it and might have fewer hours necessary overall. I know that I’ve had the conversation many times over the years that one or the other of us was creating extra housework for the other, which were followed by a sharp decline in overall housework.
Again, things are already changing . In just the past few years, more fathers are getting the kids than ever before, or they are more likely to get an equal share of the kids. Which is great because they are just as capable of being great and nurturing parents as moms are. The numbers of breadwinning moms and at-home dads are growing too, along with single fathers. The world is evolving slowly to a place where gender roles will be a thing of the past and people can decide what they want without being criticized by random strangers for it. We just aren’t there yet, which is exactly why we still need feminism to grow.
Join me next Friday as we look at the ever present problem of sexism! Follow me here and on Twitter @createparity on the right!
- I acknowledge the negative perceptions of feminism and that feminists only advocate for the rights of women and never for the rights of men. This is true in varying degrees based on the feminist or feminist group that you are speaking to.
- Feminism grows and evolves as equality gets closer, but I won’t say that we will “not need feminism” at any point because I don’t want to negate the existing feminism that would have attained that freedom.
- For new readers: I am an egalitarian, and I believe feminism is but one aspect of that. I identify with several forms of feminism, just follow the link
- Remember too that graph reflects averages an even average between both parents in each category would likely involve many work/life situations and reflect fewer full time hours for everyone. This is because, theoretically, men would be just as likely to stay at home or work part time as women will be when societal pressures are off.