Becoming a homemaker is NOT as valid as actually helping society.

Amy Glass questions why we celebrate breeding and homemaking so much and devalue women who do actual important things in the world (unfortunately she seems to suffer from the disease known as “I’m not a feminist, I just think that…”).

Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?

If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?

I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance. The dominate cultural voice will tell you these are things you can do with a husband and kids, but as I’ve written before, that’s a lie. It’s just not reality.

9 thoughts on “Becoming a homemaker is NOT as valid as actually helping society.

  1. Miep October 15, 2014 at 21:08 Reply

    Being a homemaker is work, a lot of work if you have to do it all yourself and are raising children as well, and must meet whatever exacting standards the man sets, for fear of violence or abandonment. And let us not forget that many women are literally forced into childbearing. This excerpt is painfully classist. How many women would choose a career of activism but were instead sold into bondage, or otherwise had their alternatives stripped away?

    • Independent Radical October 15, 2014 at 23:34 Reply

      I don’t think she’s saying that women who get married and have children are not valuable human beings, they are. But the tasks themselves are not particularly valuable. If women in these situations fear violence and abandonment and are coerced into giving birth, that just provides further reasons not to celebrate their conformity to such roles. Criticising a role or behaviour and attacking a person are not the same thing.

      I do agree that the excerpt is somewhat bourgeosie, in that praises behaviours that are essentially about moving up the capitalist hierarchy (e.g. getting a job, getting a promotion) rather than behaviours which challenge the capitalist hierarchy, but I have never liked the term classism. I discuss why in my “mainstream feminism is corporate feminism” article, but to summarise, the problem is that our society is divided into classes, not that there are people around who have negative feelings towards poor people.

      • Miep October 15, 2014 at 23:48 Reply

        I should have clarified that I understood the point but found the presentation tone deaf. I did not mean to imply that the author is down on poor people. I agree that touting housewifery as being some kind of romantic ideal for women is destructive.

        • Francois Tremblay October 16, 2014 at 00:58 Reply

          I agree with what both of you have said. I don’t think the article was written from any sort of radical or even antinatalist perspective. It’s just a woman talking about celebrating things that are not children-related. I agree insofar as that goes. Substituting the rat race for child-raising, not so much.

  2. ellahawthorne100 October 16, 2014 at 09:25 Reply

    I’m all for celebrating real accomplishments and not caring about mundane things like getting married. However, I think the title of this post is a bit unfortunate. It sounds like you’re trying to put down homemakers. Raising children is definitely valuable work.

    • Francois Tremblay October 16, 2014 at 13:18 Reply

      Valuable? Yes. But I’d rather people sublimated their desire for children into things that were more helpful for society and less damaging to the environment.

  3. Heretic October 16, 2014 at 16:52 Reply

    Being a homemaker is only as “valid” and “worthy” as much as a woman has a man supporting her or a man wants to put the responsibility on her as her role or purpose in life. It’s no longer worthy when she’s trying to re-enter the workforce. Oh, you took care of children and a man for 5 years? Too bad, that kind of “caretaking skill” is not what we’re looking for! Once you become a homemaker you’re pretty much condemned to that life, especially if you are a single mother. Society (especially men) pressured me into getting married and having children and I was lucky I didn’t get my life ruined on account of it, where I’d be preoccupied with taking care of other people and not myself. If I had kids I’d have to worry about them “taking care of me when I’m old” because I literally sacrificed everything for them and hoped they’d return the favor whereas if I don’t have them I can save up and HIRE someone to do it.

    However, I think the umbrage other radfems are taking with Amy Glass are warranted. In another post of hers she derides the hard work of chores in favor of outsourcing them to less-privileged women so she can do other, “more worthy” things. For her, since she doesn’t have children, this means laundry and cleaning the house – things which anyone should be able to do themselves.
    Independent Radical was right on the money when she connected corporate feminism. Only white-collar jobs are considered to be really valuable or “real work.”

    Homemaking is just another form of “women’s work” (feminized jobs) and “women’s work” is generally looked down upon; domestic work symbolizes a lesser status. AS SOON AS men enter a field traditionally female-dominated they bring prestige and it becomes “real work.” They also get paid more for doing the same thing. I’d argue that many feminized/pink-collar or female-dominated careers and jobs – cooking, nursing, raising children, teaching, waitressing – suddenly have more status and are legitimized as “work” when done by men and hence taken out of the home into the public realm. Also, who is sustaining the white-collar workers? The pink and blue collar ones. Children need mothers as much as doctors for their survival and well-being.

    I’d like to quote another radfem on the disparity between “hard labor” (male-dominated) and “caretaking” or emotional labor (female-dominated):

    “While all those jobs are physically taxing, how is any of that more difficult than child care, childhood education, nursing and other palliative care activities, waitressing, or other customer service positions that (1) mean the workers— usually women— have to be “on”, understanding, and available for all their shift, and (2) are often done outside shift hours by these workers for their families.

    Yes, mining, building, and infrastructure work is important, but without people with basic skills and in good health, why bother making any of that stuff?”

    • Heretic October 16, 2014 at 16:55 Reply

      I might add also that since the sex industry is predominated by females it is also considered “women’s work” as far as men think it’s a woman’s job to put out and please or service men sexually.

    • Heretic October 16, 2014 at 16:56 Reply

      There are a few radfems and other women I have seen speaking up about their being in blue-collar or male-dominated jobs and they kick ass at it. It’s unfortunate that men see them as a threat and try to harass them or drive them out.

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