Sunday, February 27, 2011

Housewifery Is Alive And Well

The above article is about how to be a stay-at-home girlfriend. The author is an unemployed woman who spends most of her day doing housework, keeping herself pretty, and making dinner for her man.

Now, I have nothing against taking care of your significant other, it is a nice thing to do, but a healthy relationship also includes doing things just for yourself and spending time alone and with friends. I also have nothing against doing some housework and cleaning. If you're between jobs and your partner does work, it does make sense to spend your free time doing your share of the housework. However, it has been said by many experts that a job search should be a full-time job. This woman, on the other hand, seems to spend a little time sending out resumes and the rest of the day making it so her boyfriend comes home to a clean house, dinner on the table, and guaranteed sex - because he worked hard, he deserves it. That is the dynamic that disturbs me: she doesn't frame it as being a responsible member of the household, she frames it as being a good girlfriend and doing pretty much all of those things for the sake of making her man happy.

I would prefer to see women between jobs spending more times working towards bettering their lives and desirability as potential employees - reading nonfiction, taking classes at a community college, learning another language, networking with professionals in her field. Or perhaps taking up a truly self-fulfilling hobby - NOT knitting for her boyfriend, or cleaning for her boyfriend, or baking for her boyfriend, but something that makes her happy and enriches her as a person. Perhaps she could volunteer in the community, or try to get an internship that would keep her working and be a valuable addition to a resume. THAT would be my advice for someone, man or woman, between jobs.

Now, some may argue that there's nothing wrong with what she's doing because it's her CHOICE. Shouldn't we support her CHOICE?? Feminism is about CHOICE, people! Well yes, I'm trying not to judge her for what she does, though I will criticize her for making it sound like all women should do what she is doing, and perhaps draw the conclusion that she could use a little empowerment. I do, however, think it's necessary to examine the social factors that do lead women to make certain decisions. Like this one. It seems to me she's doing these because she's been led to believe catering to a man and making him happy is what makes a woman a desirable partner, and that that is what women should be striving for: being the perfect girlfriend. I see a lot of social pressures at work that are most likely driving her to make these decisions. And just like manufactured consent isn't true consent to sex, manufactured choices aren't really choices at all, but a surrender to pressure.

The feminist movement does support women's choices to do whatever they want with their lives, but more important than that, feminism is about women living their lives as autonomous human beings, rather than simply live to serve the men in their lives.

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