Two events happened in a short period of time that got me thinking about the feminist movement and the lost opportunity for social change that resulted in it. First, my girlfriend (a recent immigrant to the US) asked if there are any government programs that pay stay-at-home mothers for their real and measurable labor of raising children. I found that question amusing because trying to pass legislation like that in 2020, with Republicans controlling the Senate and the Presidency would be practically impossible, but it did get me thinking. That idea sounds great and why it’s not pushed for is strange.
The other event was me listening to a Joe Rogan Experience podcast episode with Douglas Murry and Douglas mentioned the issue that the feminism movement has dealing with the question of motherhood vs career. Here is a link to the full episode on Spotify, skip to around 116:00 to get to the specific discussion.
“Feminism skipped motherhood” is an undoubtedly accurate statement. The movement that is meant to give women more rights and freedoms will struggle with this question, especially since modern feminism is about equity, not equality anymore. The view of modern feminism is to look at motherhood as a wasted opportunity, to look at it as money that could have been gained and careers that could have been pursued. That is a dark and dehumanizing view of the situation.
Money is the goal of life?
When viewing motherhood as disempowering because it slows down career aspirations it implies that money is the only thing that matters. Which it certainly isn’t. It is disturbing and surprising that a social movement indirectly became a proponent of the Neo-Liberal idea that markets should be inserted into every facet of life. Capitalism is all that matters? I think not.
Trying to dismiss woman’s most unique ability
By trying to push women into the workforce and away from the home feminism is actually actively diminishing the most precious and unique ability of women: having children. Anyone can be a CEO of a company, man or woman, yet no man can bring life to this world. Instead of building on top of this fact, modern feminism tries really hard to completely ignore this gift. Every human being alive today came from a woman, every single one, that is incredible! Without women having children our entire species goes extinct, so what is more important, the CEO of some investment firm working to make more money for clients, or the woman that gave birth to that CEO? I say the latter. The most important asset we all have is our own lives and by dismissing the ability to make life feminists are really dropping the ball here.
Putting the two events together
Today feminists are spending a lot of resources, mental, financial, and social, to achieve what I consider diminishing returns of social progress. For example, we think it’s very important to have specifically more women CEOs yet modern feminism spends very little energy on policies that help mothers. We know that childbirth is extremely expensive and that the cost of raising children is even higher, where are the feminist outrages? We had a million women march on Washington after the election of Donald Trump, but no million women march to make it free to give birth? Why not? Women who choose to have a child should be not just encouraged but also empowered by feminism. Ignoring the most unique aspect of women by feminism could be the explanation as to why a majority of women don’t identify as feminists.
It will be a massive social undertaking, but the feminist movement needs to focus on policies that actually help all women not just those that want to have a career. The best way to achieve this is to push for Universal Healthcare that covers giving birth and programs to give women, or men, that stay at home and raise children an income so they actually have the choice to do what they truly want, not just what the market needs right now.