Feminist Housewife: Not an Oxymoron

Feminist housewife
So I recently discovered that I’ve been living a lie all this time: apparently there is no such thing as a feminist housewife. That right there is supposedly an oxymoron and therefore doesn’t exist. And here I was thinking it actually meant something. Silly me.
So what exactly is feminism? There doesn’t seem to be any single agreed upon definition of the term, and like so many other things in life, it seems to be easier to define what feminism is not than it is to define what it is.

I recently wrote a piece on how labels seem to be so important in today’s society and the need people then feel to define their labels down to the tiniest detail. The problem with trying to define a label though is that it will almost certainly be defined as what it is not as well as what it actually is. This defining of the Other of course is problematic because this is where racial/cultural/religious stereotypes are created. You end up defining what you are by first defining (and therefore stereotyping) all those other people that you most certainly are not like. I’m a feminist you say, and a feminist must be equal to men in the workplace, so of course all these housewives can’t be feminists, not unless they are being forced out of the workforce against their will by mysogynistic men, in which case we must save them! A feminist would never agree to an arranged marriage, and even if she says she chose to have one of her own free will, she’s obviously been brainwashed by the patriarchal society she lives in and therefore needs saving! Oh she’ll thank us later, don’t worry. We just have to mould her to our particular definition of freedom/womanhood/feminism and stop her from mistakenly thinking that she’s happy with her choices.
There can be multiple meanings of the term ‘freedom’ and yours is not the only true one. At least try not to be so arrogant.
So yes, being a housewife doesn’t make me any less of a feminist. Having an arranged marriage doesn’t make me any less of a feminist ( and FYI people, at least try to understand the difference between arranged and forced marriage!). And no, I haven’t been brainwashed into thinking this way, don’t insult my intelligence with your holier than thou take on the situation. Just because my feminism is different from yours doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it different. Deal with it.

14 thoughts on “Feminist Housewife: Not an Oxymoron

  1. My one thought on this is “What’s good for the Goose is Good for the Gander”. If homemaker is a useful valuable and meaningful way to spend your life it is a good option for men and women. The 300:1 ratio of women homemakes to men homemakers is a MUCH larger gender inequality than the 5:1 ratio of Male Federal lawmakers to Female federal lawmakers or even the 20:1 ratio of CEO’s.


    1. True enough. As far as I’m concerned, feminism is not about exclusion, it’s about inclusion of all. But most importantly, it’s about choices and having the freedom to make informed choices without fear of ridicule, backlash or hate-speech. Just as women should have the freedom to choose to be a home-maker or a CEO, so should men.


      1. I hope you do see my problem with feminism. Gender discrimination in “homemakers” is quite literally 60 times worse than gender discrimination in the Senate. Gender discrimination against men in homemaker roles gets little press. The closest that most feminists come is trying to shame men for being discriminated against, and that’s working so well *snark*. If feminism was really about equality gender discrimination in home making and k-12 education and nursing would be at the very top of the lists for things to fix since these are the fields with the greatest level of gender segregation.


      2. I understand your point of view and respect it. Like I said, feminism should not be about shaming anyone, not women with a different take on the movement or men. Feminism shouldn’t be about pulling one group down in order to put another in its place, it’s about moving forward side by side.


  2. The part where you talked about defining something by what it is NOT, and it turning into a form of “other”-ing, is so true and well-put. I have several interests with hardcore followers in small numbers, and it’s really common to have the elitists excluding newcomers (or simply the people who are “doing it wrong”) in order to define their own identities. They end up defining the group so narrowly that it pits us against one another, since nobody can actually live up to such strict standards.


    1. Very well put. Feminism is supposed to be inclusive, not exclusive like it’s become with the enforcement of strict boundaries by different sects within it. The problem is only compounded by the fact that each facet or sect within Feminism seems to have a different definition and therefore different boundaries to what the ‘right’ way of doing feminism is.


    1. Excluding others through your narrow definition of feminism is the anti-thesis of what feminism actually hopes to achieve! Thank you for reading and for commenting 🙂


    1. That’s a story for another post and one I’ll hopefully write :p But basically, my parents met my future husband and his family, thought them a good fit, arranged for me to meet them all and the rest as they say is history! I met him a few times before the wedding only, and never unchaperoned


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