Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Martha's Marshmallows

Let's talk about feminism for a bit, shall we?

I was raised in what I consider to be a typical middle class American family. I was a girl scout, took dance classes, went to church every Sunday. It was never even a question of "if" I was to go to college, a college education was just the next step after graduating from high school.

While in college, I was chatting with a new acquaintance in the typical college way (where do you live? what's your major? etc.) She told me her major and that she was just getting a college education until she found someone to marry and raise a family with. This stunned me. What year was it? 1952? Who went for an education without planning to use it? This young woman's big plan for her life involved making and raising a family?

Now that I am working a real, dead-end job (because a B.S. in the sciences is usually a dead end...unless you get a masters or a PhD), and I get excited about things like Martha Stewart's marshmallow recipe, I realize that perhaps feminism blinded me. I wish I had the extra 40 hours a week to make a good dinner every night and to clean the light fixtures and iron my husbands clothes. Was not the point of feminism to give women the choice to stay at home or to go out into the workforce and pursue a career if they chose to? Because if that was the point, then I worry that it has failed. Our society has been driven to the point where it is definitely not comfortable nor easy to raise a family on one income. Daycare and television are raising people's children. And that's fine, if that's what you want...but when it comes to the future, that's not what I want.


trashalou said...

Fabulous post and I think you raise some very important issues that we in the West/developed world/however you wish to describe it need to address. I believe it to be a part of the societal/familial breakdown we see happening all around us and wonder whether a new political viewpoint needs to arise to take all of this in to account.

Perhaps the standard models of the last hundred years have had their way time as the dominant political views too long?

Maybe we crafty bloggers are actually well positioned to start a ball rolling. Move over Marxism, Feminism and the Patriachy the slow, gentle movement is rising.

It is a long comment but you posed such a fabulous question. Thanks.

Heather said...

Beautifully written! It takes a real woman to admit that she wants to take care of a home and family. I hear so many women complain about HAVING to work. How they long to stay at home with their kids, but they (husband and wife) aren't willing to give up $1000 a month car payments, twice yearly tropical vacations or the custom built home in the suburbs. We can't have it all, but we can find a balance that works and make peace with it.

Oh yeah - that marshmallow recipe is the ONLY one that's ever worked for me. It's the best. I made some a couple months ago with almond extract. YUM!

jessie said...

This is a great point.

My theory has always been that women can have it all, but probably not all at the same time. (And now, after having been in the child-rearing mode for 16 years, I'm finally seeing that there will be time for earning money. I knew it!)

Sometimes I feel spoiled because I have been able to pursue certain interests that don't support the family (writing, dyeing yarn) because my husband pays the bills. On the other hand, I work just as hard as he does, in other ways, and together we are able to run a home, a business, and a family. It's not a glamorous life but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Somehow I have never felt like I am less successful because I haven't chosen a career path, but that's because I'm living the life I always imagined and it works for me. It wouldn't work for every woman.