In the 1950’s, it was all hunky dory for women to quit their jobs, move to a house in the ‘burbs, don an apron and dedicate themselves to being a full-time housewife. But after The Feminist Mystique, burning bras, birth control and Gloria Steinem’s “I can’t breed in captivity” quote when discussing whether or not she could have children while married, Gen Y women face an entire world of opportunities and choices. We can have it all. We can be the high powered attorney and the soccer mom. But do we necessarily really want it all?
In a 2006 poll done by The New York Times, more than 60% of the female undergrads attending Yale polled that they’d quit their jobs in order to raise kids. Are these women throwing away the decades of toil their foremothers went through in order to earn the luxury and freedom to even be able to have it all?
Gen Y women suffer from extreme pressure to create a life that reflects the choices we have in today’s society. We’re expected to go to college, earn that MBA, work tireless hours to afford designer shoes and handbags and haircuts. We need to marry the perfect dapper gentleman and move into a stylish flat in the city and have beautiful bouncy babies. We then take a week off for maternity leave, kiss our newborn on the head and then merrily skip back to our jobs to begin the process of juggling career, baby and social life.
In a world where both parents are expected to work, is there any room for stay-at-home moms? If the Gen Y woman does decide to quit her job to stay at home with the children, can the family even afford to live off of only the husband’s income?
The true question is, has feminism hurt Gen Y women? The benefits we have received by being born into a post third wave feminism world are countless. Glass ceilings are gone, the intricate female anatomy is now no longer a secret to men and more women now than ever are pursuing higher education.
The backlash is that there is no longer any room for the women who do want to stay at home and have babies. The price of living has increased dramatically and we no longer have the luxury of being able to live comfortably in a one-income household.
So what do we do? Do we downsize, move into a cheap apartment and sell the second car in order to be able to afford staying at home while our hubby or civil partner or girlfriend works? Do we work part time so we can still be with our kids?
It’s odd how far we’ve come only to be stuck again.