dinsdag 24 november 2015

The Freedom To Be Yourself

I have been thinking that though our society promotes "tolerance" and "freedom of choice" it will attack those who are not in line with liberalism just as often as the traditional society attacked those not in line with traditionalism (if not more).

What does it mean for a homemaker? First, you aren't supposed to like to be at home. If you are a mother of small children, it's OK to talk about great sacrifice you made when abandoning your career and how one day you are planning to return back to the workforce or to start your own business or whatever. Or, alternatively, you constantly have to prove how busy you are. You aren't expected to have any leisure time or, at least, not to admit to it publicly.

And, yet, though there are definitely women who enjoy to be out and about and working outside home, there are also plenty of ladies who prefer staying home even without/with grown children. Some of them are into crafts, others have a busy social life, or may be, they just spend their days with a book on a couch. It's really none of our business how they choose to live their life and yet they are constantly under attack, sometimes from their own relatives. This ostracism makes it difficult for an average woman to admit that she actually likes being home.

Another example is clothes. Again, we are considered to be pretty tolerant and yet you are expected to daily wear a uniform of jeans and t-shirts, with may be a rather short skirt in between, but if you try to violate this rule, especially if you are seriously into modest or historical type of clothes, you will be ridiculed or, at least, raise a few eyebrows. Women in the West aren't supposed to be modest, quite the opposite.

When I was younger, I was often hurt by the remarks of others concerning my "alternative" lifestyle, but with years I simply ceased to care. Yes, I will freely admit that sometimes I feel myself  "a lady of leisure", that I brunch or lunch with friends while my husband works long hours to provide, that I like shopping and pretty things, that though I like cooking I seldom spend more than an hour making dinner, that when the day is sunny I will abandon housework and spend a morning sunbathing in a friend´s garden, that I watch silly TV series like Keeping Up Appearances and that I would choose an afternoon with a trashy novel above making Power Point presentations in the office.

I´m writing all this not to try and say that good housekeeping isn´t important. Of course, it is, just like cooking nutritious meals and having a tight grip on your finances. I´m also not trying to insinuate that it´s OK to be lazy. It´s just that life at home is more flexible than the rigid working hours of a factory or an office, and once the children are older, you can afford more time for friends and hobbies, and, unless your husband complains, you shouldn´t really feel guilty about it.

Personally I admire women who dare to come out and admit they like frilly feminine things, those who dare disregard the modern conventions and will, for instance, wear long dresses or spend their days embroidering instead of making money. They are brave enough to live their life in the way they see fit, without asking the approval of others first. It´s actually a crazy thing when a woman will write in comments that she would like to dress more femininely but fears the reaction of others. Life is actually too short to pay attention to this nonsense.

If people claim to be `pro~choice` they should accept that some of us will choose a traditional lifestyle.

29 opmerkingen:

  1. As a self-proclaimed Lady of Leisure, I love this post.

    I had worked full-time for 11 years before I became a SAHM. That was over 25 years ago so at this point in my life I do have a lot of free time and I love it.

    But in the early years of being a SAHM I did feel guilty about not doing enough and I felt I had to work hard to prove my worth. I look back now and laugh at how foolish it was to past wax the wooden floors by hand.

    I read so many blogs by SAHM and so many of them seem to be going 24 hours a day. Cooking every thing from scratch, gardening, home schooling, refinishing furniture, raising chickens, and running some sort of home business. I wonder how many of these ladies are on the verge of a nervous or physical breakdown. I imagine some thrive on such a hectic life but I couldn't. I just hope these super-busy ladies aren't doing this to prove their worth to society and that they do it because they like to.

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  2. Thank you Sanne for this wonderful post! I love that as homemakers we have so much flexibility. We have choices and at different stages of our lives, our day to day activities will vary. We have freedom. :)

    I'm grateful that for all our married life my dear husband has supported me (and our children.) He went/goes out everyday to a stressful job so I (just me now) can be free at home.

    I really loved this post. Thank you.

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  3. You are welcome! I guess what I was trying to say is that it's OK to enjoy your life and to be a woman and to like traditionally feminine things such as frilly clothes. We all have been taught that we should be more like men, efficient, businesslike, goal-oriented etc. The truth is, we are women and should celebrate this fact. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

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  4. Oh yes Sanne. I adore being a woman and looking feminine! I'm comfortable and secure in my traditional lifestyle and delight in the fact that I'm female. You only need look at little girls' dress here and they choose frilly, sparkly, twirly, outfits in pretty colours. (Often accompanied by their mothers who are in jeans and a tshirt.) It's a shame the blaringly obvious feminine choices of the young ones has to be squelched by the time they reach a certain age because it's just not cool to look 'girly'. Yes let's celebrate and enjoy the fact that we are women. :)

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  5. Instead of being "girly" or "matronly" or "grandmotherly" women are supposed to be sexy, hip, cool, a milf or a cougar. Or throughout masculine.

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  6. It's very interesting what you said. I agree with you on feeling free to speak up your choices without feeling guilty. What I noticed - urban homemaking is pretty different from rural housekeeping, because it often implies work outside the house, meaning gardening and farming. I personally like to take on projects that keep me busy with things that could be avoided normally, for instance I prefer making my own enzymes for cheese making because it's a tradition in my village I want to save from extinction. This is just a small example, it's not so important. There are less and less people aware of this tendency of giving up a traditional heritage, because they move to urban life styles and start buying things that their parents used to make with their hands. And even those who live in the village prefer buying from supermarkets unless somebody provides them locally with things they need. I wonder what will happen when old people die and their skills are forgotten too? I don't mean that living in a city is wrong or that everybody should live in rural areas, but what worries me is the tendency of rural families to give up a sustainable lifestyle in favor of consumerism. I could have given up many activities that are not very necessary but I chose not to, I am afraid that giving up one activity will determine giving up another project and slowly, everything is going to be given up step-by-step, this is a dangerous temptation of our modern society. I know families who sold their horse, this was really necessary, then one of their their cows, this was a serious need too, then some sheep and finally, they stopped working their land and gave it for sale. At the beginning our village used to have a hospital and a school, many people were born in that hospital, then just a school, afterwards the school lost some of the teachers and children and only 2 classes are functioning. Now they want to close the entire school. Got my point? I hope the school survives if we make it remain alive.

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  7. Preoteasa, yes, urban homemaking is different and I tend to write more about it since I live in a city myself. However, one still can engage in gardening if one has a garden (we don't, but it's probably for the best, since I totally lack green fingers:) I personally think rural traditional crafts are good and should be supported, however, many farmers' wives nowadays prefer to have a city job and leave the farm totally upon their husbands' shoulders, which I think is unfortunate. There are so many things for a lady to do on a farm.

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  8. Housewife from Finland25 november 2015 om 04:31

    And it is not only housewife who are not "allowed" to rest anymore: Back in the old days, sic people were sent to sanatoriums to rest for weeks, often abroad and always to some naturally beautiful place. Nowadays you are supposed to take painkillers and get over it. Nobody is supposed to rest anymore. Women are sent to home two days after childbirth...

    I think that people tolerate at least a little if woman likes frilly feminine things. But I feel that my desire to be Jane Eyre -like Quaker-ish woman is not understood at all. Because the biggest desire of every woman is supposed to be pleasing all men's eyes... Maybe it has something to do with concumerism. We are so brainwashed to think that consuming is good, so if somebody concumes significantly less than others, it is concidered very weird.

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  9. Yes, when you read old books people, especially children were allowed a long time to recover from a sickness. Nowadays you are supposed to be out and about after one day or so. About childbirth, here it's more like half an hour, if all went OK. And you are sent home several days after a major operation, this all has to do with the lack of nurses and reducing expenses.

    Personally I think that modern styles have more to do with the masculinisation of womanhood, as one is supposed to be pretty aggressive in attracting men, so to say. It went from being seductive or alluring to being sexy, even the words they use, a cougar, for instance, is a predator. Or a queen bee. I guess other women are worker bees then? Why is it that feminists are obsessed with the life of insects and want to copy it that much?

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  10. Housewife from Finland25 november 2015 om 05:23

    ^^interesting points. In the past women were seen as doves or lilies or such. And now cougars indeed. And you are right that women are supposed to be pretty aggressive in attracting men. There is nothing feminine in that. Compare for example Madonna and Marilyn Monroe...

    And we are supposed to change our bodies more masculin as well. Have you seen all those "fitspiration" images? And girls compete in fitness and crossfit. Don't get me wrong, I used to lift weights when I was younger and there is nothing wrong in being fit. But when women are supposed to be as toned as men... It is like we should have no feminine softness in our bodies or minds.

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  11. I'd say that even in the times past they had a seductress archetype, but she was more a siren, someone who lures men with her feminine charms, instead of aggressively pursuing them, someone like Lorelei.

    I think being super fit is more of an American thing, it serves as a class marker, too.

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  12. Interesting comments! It is becoming more and more difficult to find feminine clothing to wear - clothing that covers what should be covered and looks great.
    I do think it's difficult for young stay at home moms that often don't have a support system - people that tell them that what they're doing is so worthwhile. At work girls get to climb the corporate ladder and get lots of praise. Not very often with stay at home moms.

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  13. Marietta, I order clothes from an internet company and noticed that their maxi skirts/dresses are widely popular.

    As for SAHMs, I think we all should support them.

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  14. An excellent post! I sometimes start feeling bad like I haven't spent enough time "working". Then I remember, my husband and I work different "shifts". When he is home relaxing, I still have dinner dishes to do and whatnot. Also, most dinners for me only take about 45 minutes or so. (I make bread pretty often, but I don't count that towards making dinner.)

    Yes, some days I don't do much of anything and those days are usually when he is working. However, this goes to my peace. I need to feed my peace. There are other weeks where I work more hours than he does, so I chalk it up to a pretty even schedule.

    He looks at it like I have my job and he has his. My work takes as long as it takes. If I can be more efficient at it, great! I'm thankful to have a good support system at home.

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  15. I just finished mowing the lawn on our tractor. I love the freedom of doing this when the weather is beautiful outside - if I worked outside of the home, these wonderful opportunities would be missed.

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  16. Lucky you, having nice weather in the middle of November:)

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  17. Housewife from Finland26 november 2015 om 01:55

    I actually do not see housewifery as my job or work. I cannot compare my "work" to my husbands. And I do not want to. For me, the whole point is that I am set free from work. I am sick with the idea that one should always be oh-so-productive. Even my old housekeeping books quite often underline how important it is that lady of the house is efficient and productive and not lazy. I am so sick and tired with that attitude.

    So I love Dawn's term "Lady of Leisure". :)

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  18. Love your comments, Housewife from Finland!! Thank you.

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  19. Well, I see general smooth running of my household as more or less my duty, but housekeeping by its nature is simply different from working for profit (you can work from home for profit and though you are technically there, you are still not a housewife). Those manuals you are talking about, were they from 1940s and 50s? In those years they made strong attempts at presenting homemaking as a profession, either as a response to the growing feminist movement, or as a part of it (some people even suggested housewives should be payed a salary by the state). I personally think they are horrible since they all come with very rigid schedules which take all the joys out of homemaking.

    This said, I'd urge my readers to realise that at least half of everything on this blog is written tongue-in-cheek. Housewives are often accused of being lazy bonbon eaters, so I say:"bring it on". And I do really love bonbons, though unfortunately, I'm allergic to chocolate. In reality, what I'm doing at home I see definitely as work, it's just different from what my husband does.

    Cheers to everyone!

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  20. I predict that feminine women will start to become quite immune to shaming from other women for being feminine or the brainwashing from culture that tries to wring femininity out of women since it leads ultimately to childlessness.

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  21. John, housewife shaming is sooo 1970s! Didn't you know it's the current year:) My mother told me, you can be anything you want nowadays...

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  22. Misery loves company as they say. Being unhappy being a cubicle drone and childless they want other women to share in the fun.

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  23. Unfortunately, for some women it's their own parents who give them hard time...

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  24. Fortunately women who don't follow that lifescript laid out by the parents will reproduce. Those that fail will ensuing a thorough winnowing.

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  25. I don't see homemaking as an issue about having children or not, since there are plenty of working mothers. There are also childless housewives. The difference between then and now is that in old times being a wife/mother was viewed more or less as a full time occupation, while now it's just an addition to your job.

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  26. I get a lot of comments from family, in-laws and friends about my housewife status. They say I do nothing, no obligations, I don't help out my husband by contributing etc. The nurses and doctors I have seen have been mean toward me. Before I got married, I lived with my parents and I did some summer jobs in between my college classes, performed music in churches and then I taught piano. Not exactly six figures a year but still something I wanted to do. Then I got a lot of health issues including two surgeries and recovery, moved to a new country and moved back home, changed apartments many times, acquired cats, etc. I cook, I clean and I adapt to whatever new job my husband has, even sometimes finding the right ad for him. I've done a lot in my life and I am proud of who I have become. I am trying to learn how not to let others' opinions affect me but it is very hard.

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  27. I'm very sympathetic to your struggles!

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