I appreciate all the e-mails, comments (through the back roads, you sneaky people you), and Facebook messages regarding my most recent miscarriage. Eventually I will respond. I promise. But right now I’m choosing denial, anger, and a whole lot of other things. The best way I have found to cope is to continue writing about something–anything–other than kid stuff, and to read all your blogs. A nice escape from a crappy situation.
When I decided to embrace feminism, it wasn’t a whimsical decision based on cultural pressures or a desire to be different. It came because I recognized that many of my personal beliefs matched those of the feminist movement. One example is my view on women working.
A couple years ago, I quickly read through The Feminine Mystique as a primary source while researching feminism. At the point I read it, I disagreed with many points (per my disgust of all things feminist), but much of what Betty Friedan, the author, postulated through her research and suggested because of her research has stayed with me.
Before I studied Friedan’s work, I believed that all women who worked outside the home were feminists. After a couple years of pondering on her words, I know the truth to be otherwise.
See, Betty does suggest women can only achieve self-actualization (re: Maslow) through working outside the home. But, and this is important, only through meaningful work that requires she use her full mental capacity. That is what I want to highlight today.
I know many, many, women who return to work after having their baby because they believe that’s the best thing for them; unfortunately, they detest their jobs and often feel more miserable because the choice they made. The problem, as I see it, is they chose a job that paid moderately well but had nothing to do with their personal and professional interests.
One of the fundamental purposes of feminism is to empower women. But, to do this, information must be disseminated as to how this works. Primarily when it comes to working outside the home. If we, as women, are going to enter the workplace, we much find professions that challenge and fulfill us. We need to either pursue higher education to assist us in our professional goals or work our way up in a company we wish to manage.
One of Ben’s great friends once gave him excellent business advice: plan to attain the highest position in any company you work for, that way you can get off when you want rather than settle for something lower that doesn’t bring satisfaction. This is great for women and men. A big reason I plan on pursuing a masters and Ph.d someday. If I feel that a masters is all I need, great. If I realize I do want to continue, I will have already planned on it. The point is, I am not limiting myself–I am reaching for the stars.
There is so much more to say on this issue, but for now let me end with this thought. After reading this, you might wonder why I stay-at-home. Because, despite what Betty Friedan says, I do find complete fulfillment at home. While I have goals to continue my education in the future, for the present I am very satisfied with my profession. This is the important “take home message.” Find something that fulfills you: whether that is staying home with your children, a secretary job, or pursuing a career as a doctor.