Gearing Up for National LGBTQ Families Day

Historically, “women’s work” has been defined (in America) as being a stay-at-home mother who packs the kids’ lunches for school; cleaning the house; running errands; making sure that dinner is ready by the time Mr. Familyman comes home fro work; and putting the kids to bed at night. This definition has been critiqued since the 1700’s (at least from an upper-class, heterosexual, white perspective), but it still the cookie cutter image that comes to mind, even in the 21st century.

American suffragists started to deconstruct this definition in the 1800’s. One example is founding suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She told women to stop having children so that they could start petitioning for the right to vote. Women’s work was redefined even further in the 1940’s when women were recruited to help with the Second World War (think Rosie the Riveter). However, when the (primarily male) troops came home, Rosie and her sisters were told to go home so that the men could have their jobs back. Second wave feminists of the 1960’s and 1970’s started rabble rousing, demanding that women be allowed to work outside of the home. This struggle is still active today. Women as a whole are still paid 78 cents for every dollar that a man is paid. The gap gets even wider for women of color. Age is also a factor.

Economics aside, raising a family is still considered to primarily be “women’s work.” This definition is problematic on several levels. The economic reality is that most households need more than one income provider. When you consider additional factors, such as race and economic class, the definition of women’s work becomes even shakier. When sexuality gets added to the mix, the definitions of “women” and “family” get even more complicated.

June 1st is t2015lgbtqfamilydayhe annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day. Bloggers from all over the worldwide web will be writing articles about queer families. I will be focusing on the same topic throughout the month of Jun. I hope you’ll join me in the discussion, either in the comments section or on Twitter. What does family mean to you? And how did you develop this definition? I’d love to read what you have to say.

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