Should feminists marry

Old and New Feminism: Feminism has neglected mothers

The new feminism differs from the old especially in relation to the child question: “For a long time the thrust was clear: fewer children, more self-determination. Alice Schwarzer and other representatives of the 68s stand for a feminism that thinks modern, independent and politically committed women largely without children. ”Tanja Dückers introduces a number of journalists and authors such as Alina Bronsky and Eva Corino, all of them mothers who have one thing in common The tenor was: “Feminism has neglected mothers.” The “mother-feminists” criticize the hypocrisy of a fully capitalized society. Isn't the battle for daycare places also somehow about the gross national product? They also speak for the overwhelmed "sandwich generation": career, children, caring for parents - everything happens at the same time in the "rush hour of life". Does it have to be like that? If we humans are getting older and older anyway, why can't mothers return to work at the age of 40 or 50? The authors ask provocative questions: Is the image of the “successful mother” really that much more progressive than that of the ironing seventies housewife? Is our society not only hostile to children but also hostile to mothers?

Tanja Dückers intelligently analyzes what she calls the “blind spot” in the discourse of mother-feminists: men, life companions or spouses. Very few wanted to work less or take more than two months of parental leave. Men are not targeted enough, says Dückers.

Experience from counseling: yes or no to getting married?

As a KOBRA consultant, I see the problem confirmed by many of my customers. The women really kick themselves off and in some cases do not notice that they do not take the fathers' responsibility enough. I often wonder how it can be that a young, maybe self-employed, maybe part-time woman, heavily pregnant with the second child from the same father, with whom she is unmarried but in a stable partnership, by the way, a man in a leading position - that this woman is stressed even though she will give birth in a few weeks. Financial stress for receiving little parental allowance; Action stress, because as a self-employed person she must not lose touch and now has to take care of what will happen afterwards and, above all, emotional stress because she cannot ask her partner for money even though she feels a kind of injustice that she cannot put into words can grasp.

“It's my own fault that I have chosen a job where you can't earn as much money as my husband,” I recently heard in the consultation. Yes, sure, I forgot the guilt feelings, we put that on top like the icing on the cake. She just couldn't ask her partner for more financial support, they had always shared everything up to now, even if she only had a fifth of his net salary available. But that would be ok for her. She would be used to getting by on little money. He would also prefer to take parental leave longer, but then she would have to earn as much as he did during the time. During the counseling session, I cautiously ask if she has ever thought of getting married.

What have we got ourselves into? And how does it come that, as a consultant for education, profession and work, I have to talk to a customer about the advantages and disadvantages of getting married. In 2018? Isn't it sometimes more sensible to get married for practical, legal and bureaucratic reasons? No matter how emancipated we are and no matter how much we want the state to shape our relationship? But at least, I came across interesting information on the net by entering “Marry yes or no” in the search mask. In fact, women will find useful information that shows which aspects, laws and regulations, in addition to tax advantages, play a role after marriage:

I also sent all these links to the customer described above and at the next meeting she reported that she had then compared the pension notices. With her an amount of approx. 400 euros, with her partner five times as much. Whatever she will do with this realization: marry or not, think differently about the household budget in the partnership, generally openly communicate the topic of finances and retirement provision with the partner - it is good to approach this consciously and not to pretend would you still be single.

We celebrated 100 years of women's suffrage this year, we achieved educational equality between the sexes, but we also have new problems in the gender debate that are not yet properly recognized and that are mainly on the backs of modern, well-educated people
Play mothers who want both a family and a great job. Something that men naturally claim for themselves. Justice is far from being established:

  • Mothers receive fewer pensions because they work more part-time.
  • Mothers are also less likely to realize themselves professionally because they have to juggle with their strengths.
  • and and and.

We women were not given the right to vote - let's keep that clear. A society doesn't just become more social or humane because it might be about time. That has never happened before. Great reforms always came about because people stood up for them and because they fought.

Men definitely want to work less and spend more time with their children, but companies or colleagues don't always pull along. Women definitely want to work more. The reality is quite different: the more children women have, the less they work - in contrast to men. They only reduce their working hours if they have four or more children. This is what researchers from the Institute for Work and Qualification (IAQ) at the University of Duisburg-Essen have discovered. In other words: "Part-time dads are as rare as white rhinos".

Wrong pictures in the head

Dear women, keep fighting about equal treatment, privately and politically, it's worth it. You don't have to bear the responsibility on your shoulders just because you want to remain independent. No woman has to be the “super mom”: successful at work, independent, always good-looking and in a good mood, a great mother, etc. Leave the clichés where they belong, in the waste paper container. Be the woman and mother you really want to be and question all the imposed images and roles of the old and new feminists, but also the images of our capitalist society and your own: what is really true of this?

For example, I thought for a very long time that my life as a grown woman and mother would only feel right when we lived in a beautiful old Berlin apartment of at least 120 square meters. That was a picture of how family has to be or what a successful life is. We have been living as a family of three in a 2-room apartment for 11 years now and are now very happy that we no longer have to work in order to be able to finance more square meters. Sometimes we sit together at the kitchen table at 4 p.m. instead and are happy that we can still spend so much time of the day together.

What wrong images are you chasing after? How did you get rid of it?

For further reading:

TED talk "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gax, OV with German subtitles (accessed on November 23, 2018) or the book "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay. In her essays she writes aptly and undogmatically about feminism, but also about society and consumption, which make us who we are. An inspiring call not to have to be perfect, but to fight for justice and humanity.

A contribution by Rosaria Chirico