Is 'Faminism' the New Feminism?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mother and Daughter (flickr user "brighter than sunshine")

As Irina Aleksander sees it, the feminist movement of decades past was defined, to a great extent, by the fight for access to contraception and abortion. But today, in middle class urban circles, she believes feminism can be seen in family-oriented fights for breastfeeding acceptance and stroller parking — a movement she calls "faminism."

In her words: "Our mothers fought so that we could choose the life we wanted, not so that we were forced into a paradigm where family didn't matter."

Aleksander considers "faminism" a natural outgrowth of feminism. But readers of her article in the New York Observer on this topic saw her position as rather unfeminist.

Aleksander talks with us about her controversial article. And Annie Horcasitas, a young mother of two and blogger, explains why her "faminist" lifestyle is anything but oppositional to her feminist views.


Irina Aleksander and Annie Horcasitas

Comments [3]


Heidi: how long do you expect you should've been allowed to take off and have your job held for you?? Most people who stay home with their children wish to do so for years. Meanwhile your employer is using a temporary employee for heaven-knows-how-long so you can stay home.

Would anyone hold my job for me if I wanted to take a sabbatical to join the Peace Corps, start a soup kitchen, or find a cure for cancer? Nope.

I'm sorry women take the brunt of childrearing duties. Perhaps we should be working to change society so that men have to pony up and do their share of caring for THEIR children, rather than giving special concessions to mothers while still allowing fathers to fly scot-free from their responsibilities.

(Another amazing thing is that when my mom had a mastectomy for her breast cancer, she was back at work sooner than either her doctor or boss thought she should be. Why? She was out of paid leave and she couldn't lose the income. Nobody was up in arms over the fact that she had to go back to work after having a *part of her body cut off* because of an *illness she couldn't help getting,* but heaven help us if a woman has to go back to work after a childbirth she *chose*. Stop wondering why people get angry about this.)

May. 17 2010 09:35 AM
Heidi from Jersey City

You asked what the ideal age was for women to opt of their career and have a baby, with the hopes of re-entering the job market or going back to their jobs.
I think that's the wrong question to ask because no matter when a working woman decides to have a baby, she will have a difficult time either getting her job back or finding a new one because she left the workforce and may have lost either momentum or skills. The only choice for women who want to continue working after they have a baby is to take the alloted 6 weeks that are legally allowed (and paid, albeit 60% of their paycheck), and then go right back to work. I'm 41 with a 6 year old daughter, and when I had her, I took off 3 months because my job would only guarrantee my position for that amount of time. It was heartwrenching to have to leave my daughter with babysitters and daycare providers when my instinct was to be her primary care provider, especially while I was nursing. Neither she nor I was happy about it. I went back because, firstly I needed the money, second, I didn't want to lose my job.
The real question should be, "What can American society to do enable women to be a productive member of the workforce as well as have children when she decides it's time (biological clock notwithstanding)?" We need more time off with our babies, more paid leave, and/or more daycare options that are affordable and convenient. Women should not have to choose between career and family, just like men do not have to choose. Faminism or feminism, something has to be done in our society.

May. 17 2010 09:18 AM
Veda from New Jersey

I don't think there's any age that is better or worse for having kids to help achieve a high-flying career. To have a great career, when push comes to shove, the woman has to choose the career; if she has planned well, she has a good backup for child care, but ultimately one or the other has to give; because no one can be multiple places at the same time. So if your child is in the hospital, and you have a most-important board meeting, what would you choose -- that ultimately depends on your philosophy and your way of achieving self-fulfillment.

May. 17 2010 09:05 AM

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