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The Irony of Feminism

in the more widespread second wave feminism, we have worked so hard to argue the social construction of gender, and much of this is valid. We have argued that "hysteria" (a greek term for the wandering womb when a woman is not having enough sex or giving birth enough that suffocates a woman and makes her go crazy) is a cultural term used to keep women down, and it is. We have argued that  emotionality, nurturing, and submissiveness are traits pushed onto us by society, that enchains our body to reproduce. It is society which demanded us to be domestic, to have sex with husbands which at the time would lead to the inevitable role of our biology--reproduction. And this was a vicious cycle, both our bodies, and our society were telling us to stay home, and not go into the world made for men. Then birth control came out, and women's ability to control their reproduction allowed them to step out, for the first time, of the vicious cycle. To gain autonomy of their bodies so that they were not under control of men. We couldn't change the stereotypes that kept us in the domestic sphere yet, but we could change the fact that we didn't have to be in a body that beared children, and that we could decide when and where the place for pregnancy could be. We largely abandoned our mothering role in disdain. We gave it up to integrate into the male sphere, largely unaccepted at first. The proliferation of women scientists emerged. Carlson wrote Silent Spring, and was criticised for being "hysterical", "emotional", "fundamentally uninformed about science", "too nurturing", and her sexuality was put into question to deem her unnatural, and unfit to discuss things of nature. It is with good reason that we have become fearful of these words "emotional", "nurturing". It is because when we are told that we are these things, it feels like a slap in the face, because, in our minds, we have always heard them to mean "incompetent", which we believe we are anything but. We have finally gained larger acceptance into the male spheres of the world, with mascluine masks to hide our feminitiy and our biology. We integrate into the masculine world, accepting this new maslulintiy, and accepting that it doesn't have a place for feminity. We accept jobs in science, in buisness, in research, that doens't allow us any time to have a family. We get upset with the fact (at least I do) that men do not have to have the responsibility of childbearing. That if we are to have a child, it is US that must make the time sacrifices, and it feels unfair, it feels like men are keeping us down again. But it is also because we have not fundamentally questioned the dominant values. We have not fundamentally quesitoned why being "nurturing" is bad, why we cannot be mothers, and strong figures. We have grown to have so much desdain for the role of motherhood, that many equate it with being put down. Being at home with child is sometimes look at as a sign of weakness, a sign of that past that we don't want to go back to. But we cannot just ignore our biology. We must reclaim motherhood, as people have reclaimed the word "queer", and to do that, we must, in some regards, stop blaming men and start listening. 

When we have court systems that deny fatherhood on the basis of being male, we are not listening to mens issues. When we fundamentally think that a male nanny is somehow pediphilic, we are not listning to mens issues. We clearly tell men in our society that their job is NOT child rearing. We tell them they are unfit for the job, and that their interest in children is unnatural, pedophilic even. I am just as upset as you, reader, probably are about the rates of dead beat dads, but, we have to admit we are sending a message that being a father is not important, and that the mother will take care of it. Indeed two of the largests fields of men's issues is the lack of emotionality men are socially allowed to have, and the limited ability of them to be fathers. There are still so many stereotypes of men as being weak, unmasculine, pussies, faggots, queers. Men don't like to keep to their socially conformed boxes of masculinity any more than females do. When you dismiss males that are sensitive, nuruturing, or emotional, you are dismissing those things as socially unacceptable and unfit. We cannot bastardize men from the role of childcare and then expect childcare to be an important topic among males. We fundamentally have been too afraid of the words that once held us back (motherhood), that we are too afraid to reinstate them, scared it will put us back in the home. We fundamentally live in a system with masculine values because we have been to scared to become feminine again, and because we have not listened to men's issues. If we listened to men's issues, isntead of snubbing our nose, we would realize the immensity of our common ground. If we see men as enemy, there is no room to see how symbiotic our issues really are. If we get men invovled,  and we raise the status of childcare to both genders, and make it a social issue, not a woman's issue, we have a chance to fundamentally change the system. To fundamentally change american values so that childcare is a thing of social worth again, and not just to females. But in order to do all this we have to listen first....


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