When you think of the word ‘feminist’, what kind of woman comes to your mind? A classy businesswoman leading a company? A purple haired girl protesting on the street? Probably not a housewife taking care of the house and raising her children. You will probably say that she is quite the opposite of a feminist. But is it really that simple?
Feminism is a movement for political, social, economical, and personal equality of sexes. It is also known as the ‘women’s rights movement’ because it mostly appears to be a fight for women oppressed by men, and through the history, it often was exactly that, as women before couldn’t vote, work if married, own property, and marital rape was not a crime. However, today, feminism fights for both men and women, and it is not a man hating movement, as many people think.
For example, feminism fights against ‘toxic masculinity’, a set of beliefs that decide what a man should (not) be like – men should not cry, be weak, men cannot be raped etc. True feminism fights for all, its goal to give every person, regardless of their gender, a choice to live their life the way they want it.
So what about the housewives?
Do they live their lives oppressed by tyrant husbands who will not let them work and who make them be stay-at-home moms? Are they not aware that their lives would be better if they had a job?
Do they disrespect everything feminism has done for them? Well… not really. At least not that last thing in any case. In case that they are forced to be housewives, and they want something different, they are victims, not perpetrators of the ‘crime’, but what is with the situations in which women decide on their own they would rather stay at home? That they just do not want to work a 9-to-5 job, or that they want to focus on something else, like their kids? Is it anti-feminist choice or not?
Well, that is when the word ‘choice’ comes into play.
As long as women (and men, too, it counts for them too) freely make choices about their lives and futures, feminism should support them.
Whether it be a job (or a lack of it), a way that person chooses to dress (in our society, however woman dresses, someone will judge her, even some self proclaimed feminists – hijabis are ‘oppressed’, but women dressing provocatively are doing it ‘for men’), even something as small as a woman taking her husband’s surname (some radical feminists consider that demeaning too), the most important thing is that it is a choice made because that person wanted it. They decided that their life would be better that way, and that is their right.
Of course, what women that decide to be housewives should not do, is forget themselves and just serve their family, as women before often had to do. First of all, they should choose a husband that they know will not abuse the situation of them not working, but respect it and be aware of how much work they actually do every day, even without the official job. Second, they should find some time for themselves regularly, whether it be a self care indulgent treat, going out with friends, or enjoying a hobby. And most importantly, they should not care about what other people say about them being stay-at-home. It can be just as feminist choice as being a CEO.