Big Question: Do Women Respect One Another’s Choices?
In her article, “When Mom and Dad Share it All,” Belkin explains that inequality persists inside the home as women still shoulder the bulk of domestic responsibilities (4). This topic triggered my thinking about the way that jobs were divided between my parents. While the housework was shared between the two, my mother (who is a working professional) was the main childcare provider. I don’t think that she is unique since it seems that division of childcare has been the most resistant to change. It is unclear whether this responsibility continues to fall primarily on women by choice, default, or familiarity. Do women feel compelled to exercise control in this domestic sphere because the role of nurturer is so closely tied to their gender identity or biological makeup? A recent study at University of Virginia suggests that women may end up with more of the parenting burden because they “like it more” than men and their “parenting skills are deeply rooted in biology” (infant.http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/do-women-like-child-care-more-than-men/).
A guiding principle of the Women’s Movement is empowering women to make choices, and for some, this includes choosing not to change certain aspects of the status quo (such as childcare). Bell Hooks asserts that solidarity between women is essential in transforming society as a whole (127). Can those who challenge the patriarchal system resist the tendency to criticize women who choose a traditional path or opt to embrace change in its modified form ? Do the differences (in cultural, racial, economics, and geographic backgrounds) which impact women’s choices pose a threat to solidarity, or is the failure to accommodate and accept these differences responsible for sidelining childcare and stalling out the Women’s Movement ? When we silence (and do not respect) voices that are different from our own, are we modeling equality or another form of social oppression?
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” The New York Times 15 June 2008: 1-15. Print.
Hooks, Bell. “Sisterhood: Political Solidarity between Women.” Feminist Review (1986): 125-38. Print.
Parker-Pope, Tara. “Do Women Like Child Care More Than Men?” The New York Times Magazine 25 Mar. 2012: n. pag. Web.