Is there such a thing as a 'stay-at-home feminist'? In the day and age where women's empowerment seems to equate to climbing corporate ladders and breaking through glass ceilings, being an exclusive housewife has become a new taboo. Yet women who do the 'double day' or otherwise work and perform most domestic duties are considered empowered. Tired, but empowered. They do everything in the public and private sphere. They are still perceived as disadvantaged, but they are one step ahead of the women who remain solely in the home.
Or so we think.
We are veritably lucky that our foremothers have paved the way for women to be social, cultural, and political players in ways that were previously off limits to the female gender. We are both fortunate and entitled to have equal opportunities -- or rather, increasingly equal opportunities since the social evolution of humanity is still a work in progress.
Now that we have more options than yesteryears -- newer ones that can be more empowering and enabling than ever -- shall we discard the older choices for fear of regression? If we accept stay-at-home moms or women who choose to become financially dependent on men, are we letting backwardness creep in to our forwardness?
We are thus led to ask ourselves the obvious questions again: Why is the movement toward gender equality so important? Why must women have the same opportunities as men, the same pay as men, and the same respect as men? What will all of this accomplish for women?
If we trace the fervent race to gender equality to its truest source, we discover that all we really want for women -- and for men -- is empowerment and success. And what is empowerment and success but euphemisms for balance, freedom, and above all, happiness?
Then the question becomes: what, exactly, makes women happy? What makes people happy?
Therein lies the quandary: everyone has different definitions of happiness, and variant ways of achieving that happiness. So how can those who support progress and empowerment for women and the rest of society ever condemn any adult path that may facilitate that pursuit as long as it does not harm another?
As our newest (and oldest) opportunities unfold, we are surprised to find that empowerment exists in nearly every freely-chosen occupation. We can be spouses, parents, CEOs, writers, artists, actors, politicians, domestic technicians, farmers, soldiers and even strippers. And who's to say we can't like it?
Above all, men and women can be anything they want to be, and that is the true goal and legacy of the feminist movement.
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