Wikipedia talks about Feminism happening in three waves. Briefly – the first wave addressed the right of women’s suffrage; the second, ending discrimination between women and men (primarily white women); and the third ending discrimination for all races and addressing other issues from the second wave. I would like to name a fourth wave – recognizing that women ARE different than men, but just as valuable to society.
I feel like the second and third waves of feminism hurt us as women in a lot of ways. Where I am very thankful to have the CHOICE to do a man’s job, it is as if we are EXPECTED to do a man’s job. Recognizing our differences has become politically incorrect, which I feel is a mistake. There are just some things women are naturally better at and some things men are naturally better at. Especially as parents. That idea doesn’t make me sexist. It is part of the natural balance of the world. We should admire these differences.
I believe the discontent that mothers felt in the 20th century with “having” to be home with their children was because this role isolated them from society. They were not given a choice. Being home was viewed with less respect than going to work every day. Being a woman was less respectable than being a man. Women were supposed to be subservient to men. Imagine what this time would have been like if these women were honored and respected as women and mothers rather than being oppressed and treated as if they were less than men. We, as women, have been battling these male-domination issues for centuries now. I feel like we finally got somewhere, but then we went too far.
The goal for the second and third waves was to make us equal to men, but essentially, they turned us into men. We began ignoring all of the things that make us women. We ignored what it truly means to be a mother so that we can fit into society. Now we have women who compete with men and give up their vital role as mothers. It puzzles me that putting my child in daycare so that I can go to work and make more money is viewed as more acceptable and honorable in our society than the mother who decides to stay home with her children. Mothering is the most important job a mother can do. What could be more important than giving my children the time and attention they need from ME during the early years of their life? We need to take our womanhood back and rejoice in it. Honor all that is woman without minimizing man. We ARE equal as far as rights go, but mothers and fathers are very different. It is those differences that allow us to raise happy, well-rounded children.
The fourth wave would see this move to be home as admirable and exciting rather than a sacrifice. In fact, I would like to propose programs and tax breaks for mothers who decide to stay home during their child’s early years. Imagine the debt to society these mothers are paying by doing this. Putting your child in daycare at 3 months and the lack of parenting many experience due to both parents working and not having the energy to parent has a huge influence on crime and the educational level in our society. Why give birth to a child if you plan to have someone else raise him? I understand situations where this is unavoidable, but it should not be the norm. The disconnect a child feels by not being attached to either parent usually leads to trouble in the teenage years. How can a child feel confident about his parent’s advice if they weren’t there much in the beginning? Why would he care if the bond or attachment was never formed or broken at an early age? Imagine how alone this child feels, which will likely lead him to be self-centered; only looking out for himself; contributing to the out-of-balance issue. This cycle has to stop.
I feel like this fourth wave IS currently in affect with the rise of families living more naturally and practicing attachment parenting. Employers are becoming increasingly more open to allowing mothers extra time with their newborns as well as allowing them to bring their children to work or their work home. Some businesses even have lactation rooms and a daycare on site. I am excited to see us continuing to move forward in adjusting our values and our views about Mothering. I believe how we handle this situation will directly affect how much crime and depression exist in our society. I am excited to see our society learn where true happiness comes from.
Where have you witnessed positive changes?