Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Woman home-makers

I struggle sometimes to be open-minded. There are those still in this world who want a heterosexual marriage with gender roles clearly marked. The man works, the woman stays home and looks after the children and the house. The 50s style suburb but without the Cold War playing on the radio. Now that I am educated and able to defend my ideas I rarely make vitriolic statements against things I disagree with, and rarely even believe those things. Instead I make good arguments for my own side and point out flaws in the other. I do not call someone who wants to be a 50s style house wife a sheep and I no longer think her one either. But this is one area where some of those harsh judgements still remain, and I struggle against them.

I was homeschooled. I am an advocate of homeschooling. I learned how to tell stories, and do art, I learned about plants in the forest and really nothing useful at all. Once I could read, however, I would take a subject I was interested in outside of school and find all the books on it. I loved learning. I think home schooling did that for me. It also gave me a chance to mature in a protected environment so when I finally faced the world my beliefs on right and wrong stood strong. Day Care, to me, is cruel. Children are not supposed to cry all the time. They do at Day Care. What are we thinking putting all these hardly human creatures together in a room and telling them to share? I learned to share by being given too much and realising that I wanted those around me to have some too. Scarcity and obedience do not teach a sharing spirit, they teach greed and secretiveness. Looking after your own children instead of paying someone else to do it seems quite sensible in this respect, although not always possible.

The world is really not that nice a place. If a couple can afford to have someone stay home, that might be a good thing, especially if the person who stays home happens to be extremely shy, sensitive, have some mental disorder that makes dealing with the external world every single day difficult. As a consensual act between two adults having someone to stay at home is not unethical and sometimes desirable.

This is my defense for the bread winner / home maker model. Note that it does not assume women ought to stay at home, but that there isn't anything wrong with one member of a partnership keeping charge of the house well the other works. This assumption is built on my positive experiences as a homeschooler and my observations of friends who had parents contribute positively to their up bringing. I still find it difficult to understand the woman willing to, from how I see it, give up her freedom. But would we still calling it giving up freedom if both members of the relationshio were women? No. So why is it patriarchy if one of them is a man? I'm not saying it isn't. Maybe that is something we still need to work on as a society.

I have a trouble, however, with those who defend a women's right to stay at home. Not the right of a person to become a homemaker, but the right of a woman to look after her family because it is her natural role. It is appropriate to defend women who wish to be home makers. They need defending. They get flack for their choice and should not. The trouble is that you have no right to tell me my natural role, and all those who do not fit into your little box. I am not abnormal for my choices. I am not abnormal because I do not wish to have children.

It makes no sense. These people deal with criticism all the time. People think they are weak or dumb or abnormal for their choice. They should know better then to turn around and try to force others into the same role in which they themselves are suffering.

"If suddenly the majority of women decided to pull out of the workplace, it would cause economy to undergo quite a shake, but eventually, we might all be better off. " How should young women prepare for their future? from Domestic Felicity by Anna T.

We would not be better off. We as women would certainly not. I personally would be a very upset philosophy student running around asking why no one wants a female scholar. Then I would probably change my name legally and try to pass in order to get a job. Thus would begin a repressive and tyrannical society! It would not be better. It would be better if those who desired to stay at home were encouraged instead of discouraged. That is what would be better. This is the trouble with apologists for woman homemakers: They take it too far. They take their arguments beyond what is acceptable, beyond simply defense, and make claims that are meant to apply to everyone, thus encouraging alienation of a different group instead of solving the problem.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tea cups made of bones

At a yard sale today my partner bought a belt. I bought a tea cup made out of bones. It does not matter if it was more valuable, because I am unlikely to give it up. There were other tea cups and saucers. I chose this one because the one with pretty blue flowers cost five dollars. It is paragon fine china and cost three dollars.

The British, wanting to make porcelain cups and dishes at home instead of paying for chinese porcelain, ground bones to mix with the local clay. Bones made the clay whiter. In China porcelain was made from a white clay fired at extremely high temperatures. Genuine porcelain glows just a little, is just a little bit translucent.

I am starting to learn that this is the way with history: Tea cups are made of bones. It is so very much the way of the British empire. To say 'yes, these people did great things; yes, it is beautiful, it was heroic, it is amazing' but look again. Look at the bones. We cannot praise the past, but I long to. The sun never set on the British Empire, and it was grand. But the imperialistic policies were used to subjegate the peoples of North America, and I live on land which they stole. In some places the land was fought for. Here we signed a treaty with the local people, and then built on the land which the treaty gave them.

I am a skeptic now. I doubt Plato, who thought that beauty, goodness, and justice were unalterably linked. But every time I find a thing of beauty I also find that other thing, like my tea cup made of bones. I think it adds to the beauty, but it's a good thing I'm not vegan.