April and Brandon 2003
These are comments from a woman after my post “We Have ALL Been Greatly Affected by Feminism”
Thank you for this post, April! You are spot on in your observations. I know I subconsciously harbored many of the beliefs you listed, particularly the ones about marriage, motherhood, and home life being prisons for women. Feminism explicitly and formally teaches this. The idea that marriage and/or motherhood could be fulfilling is presented as a “myth,” a lie purposely told to entrap women and keep men in power. Ringing endorsements for family life!
If you will permit me, these quotes are from one of my college text books (I graduated in 2012, so these are not old examples):
“Recently, scholars have studied so-called ‘myths of motherhood’ – how the ideology of patriarchal cultures supports and maintains women in the incredibly demanding, low-status, uncompensated work of mothering.”
“This brings us to the issue of the nature of many child-rearing tasks themselves. Not only are these tasks not a significant source of power, money, or prestige in the larger society, but they are also inherently onerous. They involve tremendous responsibility, constant demands, deprivation from other identities, isolation from other adults, disappointment with unhelpful spouses, and guilt about not measuring up to the ideal. They do not confer power on people and people with power do not perform them. We know that few men do these tasks with or without pay, and women do not perform them for pay when they have other options. Whatever rewards there are in mothering – and as mothers, the three authors know them well – the fact is that child-rearing is not regarded as a desirable job for those who are not the mothers of the children. Hollingsworth made this point as early as 1916, in her ground-breaking and myth-exploding early study of mothering, in which she cited the long years of exacting labor and self-sacrifice, and also the ‘drudgery, the monotonous labor, and other disagreeable features of childbearing are minimized by “the social guardians.” On the other hand, the joys and compensations of motherhood are magnified…the tendency is to create an illusion whereby motherhood will appear to consist of compensation only, and thus come to be desired by those for whom the illusion is intended.’”
“…something about being ‘just a housewife’ contributes to unhappiness and dissatisfaction in women. Even for people who enjoy keeping house, housework is frequently boring, repetitive, and physically demanding. It often involves serving other people and taking their needs, tastes, and perspectives into account. It receives practically no recognition or respect from people outside the home and, all too frequently, little from those within the home who benefit from it most directly. It is unpaid and never-ending. Historically, housework is the work of women and the poor, people with little power and status.”
The class was called “Psychology of Gender” and the book is “Engendering Psychology: Women and Gender Revisited.” I majored in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and took classes on marriage and parenting as well, but I don’t have those books anymore. They were similar in tone, particularly the marriage one.
It makes me incredibly sad, too, that this is the kind of thing young people are being taught, (with no counter viewpoint offered – because it is assumed that the greater culture serves as the counter view, even though in actuality it does not) and that I believed for most of my life. I am so grateful to you (and other women I’ve found on the internet) who’ve opened my eyes to an entirely different way of seeing things!!
How I long for young women to know that when we follow God’s design for femininity, marriage and family – being a housewife and mother can be RICHLY REWARDING, very fulfilling, exciting, challenging and completely satisfying. Yes, it can be demanding. But what could be more important than providing a godly, nurturing, loving, stable, peaceful, safe, beautiful environment for our husbands and children? We can provide a haven and sanctuary from the world. We set the emotional thermostat of the family as women. We can use all of the talents, gifts, abilities, love and strength God has given us and use them all to greatly bless our husbands and children and leave a godly legacy that will bless many generations.
Guess what? A Christian woman can also be deeply fulfilled at work, church, her neighborhood, her family and EVERYWHERE that God calls her to be. In Christ, we can be content in any circumstances. In fact, we can be content working as a janitor or as a cashier or as a medical doctor or doing volunteer work in an orphanage. We can also take delight in caring for an elderly parent or ministering to drug addicts or mentoring children. If we are in the center of God’s will, we will find fulfillment, satisfaction, joy and peace in Christ. He is the key! It is in yielding our lives to Him and walking in total obedience that we find fulfillment no matter what God’s calling for each chapter of our lives.
Here is a post I wrote about the blessings of being a housewife and mother. I LOVE being a wife and mom. I do work part time because my husband prefers that. But – I would be completely happy at home all the time. There is SO MUCH TO DO to bless my husband and children and to minister to others. I know that I am in the center of God’s will and purpose for my life here.
Being single is ALSO a gift from God. All people – men and women, married and single, are precious in God’s sight. He has a purpose and plan for each of us. He wants us all to bring Him great glory on this earth.
The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn