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Jun 14 2012

Mad Women

By at 1:22 pm

mad men womenI love the show Mad Men, and am amused that Sally Draper and I are about the same age. Nostalgia is not my reason for my being such a fan. Rather, the storytelling is great, the characters are complex, and the narrative is compelling.

We baby boomers thought we invented sex. Don and company prove us wrong. We thought women were treated primarily as sexual objects and had a hard time getting ahead professionally, even if they were smart and capable. Peggy and Joan prove us right. We thought that our mothers didn’t do very much at home (I still wonder about that) and Betty shows us what the consequences of that can be. And, in the Mad Men world, and my own world at that time, the only mother who was “working” did so because “she had to.” Many of the rest of us, like Betty’s family, had “Negro maids” to do the housework and child care. Read the rest of this entry →

May 10 2012

Why Did Nobody Tell Me Being a SAHM is So Much Fun?

By at 4:02 pm

m.r.s. degreeI went to college. I am a voracious reader. I used to be a news junkie, and watch all the shows, and go to dozens of movies a year.

So why did I never, in my 30-plus years on the planet, receive any clear and believable messages that being a full-time, stay-at-home mother is a fantastically rewarding job that I should have considered pursuing at a younger age?!

I learned early on that I could be an airline pilot, a doctor, or President of the United States, but I don’t recall any enthusiastic advertisements to the effect that being a wife and mother is ridiculously fun, not to mention a hell of a lot less stressful than a paid job? Why weren’t there any pamphlets at the college-and-career center itemizing the rewards of an M.R.S. degree? How come no one ever casually mentioned, “You should plan ahead to ensure that you are married and having babies by your late 20s, because that way you’ll have time to fit in multiple pregnancies before your ovaries give out and your pubic hair turns gray”? Read the rest of this entry →

May 7 2012

I Am a Feminist Mother… Who Stayed at Home

By at 9:44 am

feminist mother megaphoneI have practiced “feminist mothering” for thirty six years. Really.

I was at Barnard College just as the modern feminist movement was unfolding in the early 70’s. There, I learned to respect my own choices and to have the confidence that I could accomplish anything I wanted to do. There we “girls” were convinced that we were as smart (actually, usually smarter) than the boys we knew. There we were convinced (as if we needed convincing) that we should proudly feel smart and not hide it. That we should only be with men who respected our intelligence and our bodies. Read the rest of this entry →

May 1 2012

Motherhood Vs. Feminism: Join the Debate with Mayim

By at 3:52 pm

motherhood vs. feminismThe New York Times “Room for Debate” section has tackled a topic near and dear to many of our readers’ hearts: Has women’s obsession with being the perfect mother destroyed feminism?

Among the featured debaters (along with Erica Jong and Bringing up Bebe author Pamela Druckerman) is Mayim Bialik, who argues that attachment parenting goes hand in hand with feminism.

What do you think? Can you be a feminist attachment parent? Read Mayim’s full debate here and then throw in your own two cents.

Feb 16 2012

Is My Daughter Doomed Because I Can’t Play Barbie?

By at 3:14 pm

barbie and friendsEvery weekday morning, after my husband and two older sons leave for work and school, my 5-year-old daughter and I are left alone for about 45 minutes.

And, every weekday morning, I promise her that if she eats breakfast and brushes her teeth and gets dressed and there is time left over, we will play whatever game she wants until it’s time to go to preschool.

For the last few days, she’s wanted to “play Barbie.” Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 8 2012

From My Days on the Forefront of Women’s Lib

By at 4:32 pm

women's liberation protestAlina Adam’s post on Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique inspired me to leaf through my copy. I’ve never actually read it but it is a treasured memento. In 1963, when I was still a little girl, my feisty, well-before-her-time grandmother bought up a whole bunch of paperback copies (still marked on the cover at $.75 each) and gave them out to friends and family. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 6 2012

On the Feminine Mystique and Not Wanting to Have it All

By at 2:58 pm

feminine mystique betty friedanBetty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published in February of 1963. However, excerpts of what would become her celebrated work appeared in Mademoiselle as early as 1962–exactly 50 years ago.

And though it is such a part of the American culture that I felt I knew what it was about, I didn’t actually read the entire thing–as opposed to references, reviews, analysis, etc.–until last month. It wasn’t at all what I expected.

For one thing, I was surprised to learn that what we now call Helicopter Parenting was a phenomenon described– if not similarly named– by Ms. Friedan as far back as five decades ago. Only her primary concern was for the syndrome’s effect on the mothers. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 15 2011

Too Busy For Book Club: Jewish Women on the Back of the Bus

By at 11:49 am

Orthodox women waiting for bus in brooklynHello Kvellersphere,

There have been several articles over the past few weeks about bus lines that serve Orthodox areas in New York coming under fire for allowing the community to force women to the back of the bus, so the men and women can sit separately.  These buses are run by private companies, but they receive public funding and are considered public buses. Here’s one article from The Post, and another from The Forward.

Recently I also saw an article in the LA Times about a similar situation in Israel, tied to much bigger issues on the state of feminism in the Jewish State.

I would love to know what you think.

And I would really appreciate some different perspectives here, as well as someone who can explain something to me: I see Orthodox Jews riding the New York City subway all the time, and I can’t think of a more tightly packed sardine can humanity than a subway car. So if they can ride the subway, why do they need to curtain off the bus home?

In this New York Times article, a legal expert argues that forcing women to the back of the bus is a violation of civil liberties. But a religious expert argues that blocking these communities from public transportation is a violation of their rights.

If you were riding one of these buses, in Israel, or in the United States, what would you do?

Read up on why we started Too Busy For Book Club.

Aug 4 2011

Nature Tackles Nurture: Forced to Rethink It

By at 11:46 am

Liz and her son.

Of all the parents who used to tell me I’d change my stance on the nature vs.  nurture debate once we had a boy, the only one that ever mattered was Sister Feminist. The others I could dismiss in a self righteous second.  (Like the mom down at story hour, who used to chuckle when her son would poke the tractor on my daughter’s t-shirts.   “I just don’t know what boys did before the invention of the combustion engine!”)

I met Sister Feminist at synagogue when she and her partner were trying to get pregnant.  A year later, they had a son. Like us, Sister Feminist guarded well the tower in which she kept her first babe. She let in no bulldozers. No big plastic dump trucks. Not even little toy cars. “The only thing we have with wheels is a plush turtle!” she told me, arms raised in exasperation. And still, before her son could talk, he kicked his feet with wild excitement and made engine revving sounds whenever they passed a 16 wheeler.

“I don’t know how else to explain it, Liz,” she’d say in disbelief.  “I just don’t.” Read the rest of this entry →

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