The Feminist SAHM

When Gloria Steinem appeared on “Oprah’s Next Chapter” a few days ago, I started thinking about what’s next for women? Times sure have changed.  And, although we have seen small steps in the women’s movement over the past decade, we are still far away from where we need to be.

Believe it or not-Gloria Steinem has become a household name here at the Vaughn residence.  Rather I am giving my oldest daughter a mini-history lesson or the hubby sighing, “Alright, Gloria,” after each lesson. Our family is well-versed on who Gloria Steinem is and the work she has done to amplify the voices of women.

Today, many of the societal and political issues are the same.  With the elections just around the corner, women’s issues are at the forefront of many conversations.  Presidential elections are no strangers to women’s issues. Women’s rights were discussed in the 1960s and 1970s, and 1992 was named “The Year of the Woman” after a number of female senators were elected.  So, how about 2012? Where are we headed?

I hope the media frenzy around “mommy wars” is no indicator of where we are headed. Being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom is often tied to issues of feminism, and women judge each other harshly according to which path you take. Working mommies will accuse the stay-at-homes that they have lost their identity and are supporting a patriarchal and archaic system of females being slaves to the family. Stay-at-homes will allege that working mommies don’t have enough time for their families and are prioritizing their own ego through their career over their child’s needs.  Keep in mind, these are STEREOTYPES people.

What is un-feminist is the endless scorn that we expel onto other women, not the personal choices we make.  Women attacking women about how they choose to parent has a certain irony, because it goes against everything that is feminism and the progress we have made as a gender.  From this seriously struggling SAHM, I prefer to support the choices that my female friends, co-workers and peers make.  If you desire to be a stay-at-home mom and it works for you, I am behind you 100%.  For me, I am actively pursuing my next career step, because I prefer the career route.  Well, that’s okay to.  By working together we can conquer, but quibbling against each other will only set us back.

There is something powerful about multiple generations of women fighting together for the same cause.  Each generation comes with its own set of history and wisdom that knits together a story on where we have been and where we are headed in the 21st century.  So, even though the steps might seem small and the change slight, significant change and a movement that spans generations and centuries doesn’t happen overnight.  The internal optimist in me wants to believe that we are making a difference.


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