Friday, April 03, 2009

It's okay to be a homeschooling feminist!

Years ago I was daring enough to volunteer the information that I was a feminist at a homeschool support group gathering. I was kind of shocked at the response. It polarised opinion and started a heated debate. The term 'femi-nazi' - something I'd never heard before and which deeply offended me - was casually tossed into the conversation... A couple of friends distanced themselves from me at future gatherings. Sadly I'm no longer in touch with them. 'Feminism' is a dirty word in some homeschooling circles. But that is what happens to words that become trendy - their meaning becomes distorted and abused.

Recently a good friend and mentor, Wendy Priesnitz, wrote a lovely long article which describes the type of feminist I am in the Natural Life magazine. I'll share with you a snippet from her article in the hope you'll feel intrigued to read it all, and better still, feel the need to read more of her writing. She's been an inspiration to me for more than a decade...

"One of the questions I asked almost 40 years ago – the one about paying for childcare in order to have a career and retain the feminist label – is still on my mind. These days, some feminists are working to solve that conundrum through the use of tax credits or other methods of financially rewarding caregiving parents; others believe higher quality childcare, workplace reform and better pay for childcare workers is the solution.

But there is, as I mused so many years ago, a third way. What if we overturned the male model of success that feminism adopted in creating equal opportunity for women? If we reject the idea that success is only about money, we can forge new attitudes toward what’s important in life. Challenging the notion that feminism relates only to equal opportunity within the workplace and can only be obtained by a full-time paying career is controversial, but there is a growing movement that questions the tradition that well-being is based totally on economics."

Read Wendy's article: http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/0906/unschooling_as_the_ultimate_feminist_act.htm

© Beverley Paine

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