loquamani: (Default)
Mondays and Wednesdays I have an entrepreneurship class at the local community college. It can be pretty much summed up as "Ways to get the most money out of people, er, and I guess maybe try to be ethical." Now, since I spend the rest of my time raising a daughter to be a good, moral person, trying to live sustainably, and furthering my third wave feminism knowledge on teh internetz (I love third wave feminism!), it's usually pretty hard to wrap my brain around this way of thinking. But there is class passing to be done, and so I must.

The other most common moment of cognitive dissonance I have happens when I tell people that I stay home and take care of my daughter. I get one of three responses and they usually, but not always, are made by the groups I am about to describe.

A childless woman's response: (vaguely) "Oh, that's nice," gets bored soon, and walks away. This is probably the most honest, and I have no problem with it.

A working woman's response: "I wish I could do that. It must be nice." This is mildly irritating, since in my (privileged, I know) middle class neighborhood where most working women also have working husbands, she could stay home if she wanted. She just doesn't want to trade the money and independence. It's also condescending as hell.

I know that these first two responses are shaped by LOTS of social factors, AND I have absolutely no problem with working moms. I just wish they could say they enjoy their jobs as well as their children (but I know why they don't say it, especially to a mere acquaintance.) This next response, though, is a doozy!

A man's response: "That's great! It's a really important job, isn't it?" And they usually seem genuinely enthusiastic about it.

Now, I do think raising children is a really important job, although I'm not always sure how great it is. ;) But one of the most stunning developments of becoming a mother who doesn't have another professional occupation is the incredible drop in respect from the public at large. At the grocery store, gas station, and mall, suddenly I am regarded as a mindless drone. And people don't talk about this! I mean, "they" don't tell you a lot of things about motherhood, but this is a big one. I think this is one of the biggest patriarchal doublespeaks there is. "Motherhood is fantastic, it's wonderfully fulfilling, it's what women are meant to do!*"

*Becoming a mother may lead to a near total loss of credibility as a real human being.
loquamani: (Default)
Had my first one today, and it was scary as hell. Mentioned it on facebook and someone basically said, "Pshaw, why are you having a panic attack over that, you spoiled brat?" Once again feeling not particularly safe to post over there. Can I find friends here?

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loquamani

June 2010

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