Don't sweat it, Happy. Folks are already pointing out that Swedes have one of the longest life expectancies in the developed world, a fact that failed to make it into anti-feminist commentary.


As you know, I am a relatively new feminist. I have only labeled myself as such for about a year. Before then, I believed that feminism and Christianity were like oil and water. I could either be one or the other. The mere word "feminism" represented everything I wasn't (a lace-wearing, future stay-at-home mom, Republican voting, true-love-waits advocate, among other things). Heck, my AP English research paper was titled "The Feminist Mistake." At the time, I thought women should be wary of pursuing a career if they wanted to be mothers. I used statistics similar to the Swedish study you cited. Ultimately, I justified my reasons for wanting to be a future stay-at-home-mom using a poor analysis of feminism. My definition of feminism was based little more on stereotypes. "I'm not a feminist! I want to be a stay-at-home mother someday!" (How hypocritical of me. I was also the editor in chief of my high school's newspaper and played sports. I think I was one of the most adamant feminists in my class without even realizing it).

When I took Hugo's Women in American Society class, I realized that feminism is not about making women happy. It says nothing about whether a woman should (or should not) have children. Nowhere is it written that women should have careers. So the study is right in one regard: feminism neither makes women happy nor unhappy. It is simply gives women the CHOICE to pursue whatever they want. And it acknowledges that different women make different choices. Nowhere does it say that those choices will make them happy. As a feminist, I believe it is my duty to respect all women for the choices they make. And as a feminist, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to decide what is best for me. As of now, I plan on teaching English at the community college level in addition to raising a family. I believe I can do both. Only I can make myself happy, but I am very thankful that the feminist movement backs me up.


Mermade, my mum stayed at home with two kids until my little brother was 5, she used to read me Enid Blyton books while editing some of the worst of the sexism/racism out on the fly. Feminism + SAHM definitely possible.

She also never looked back once she hit the workforce (to the point where my family relocated for a year so that she could go to library school).


Yay! Happy's back on the blog train! I missed you.

Sorry, nothing else to add to the great post.

Welcome back.


And it's not like being in less egalitarian country is good for women's life expectancy.

Sweden 82
United States 80
Saudi Arabia 74
Pakistan 63
Kenya 49
Afganistan 41


Although I’m not a feminist, I also thought this study was kind of dumb. It seemed like it said more about today’s insane work culture than feminism (though I do think feminism somewhat contributed to today’s work culture by glorifying work).

Like Happy said, everything we do in life involves risk. There’s evidence that having children, like working a management job, can also slightly shorten your lifespan (and as a mom, I believe it). I’m not saying no one should ever have children or pursue a career they love. I’d rather have a full, slightly shorter life than a dull, long one.

That being said, though, I think there’s an issue here that goes beyond feminism, that no one is really raising, and that’s that the culture of work in this day and age is insane. People almost have to work crazy hours just to get by.

I’m a working mother out of necessity who would love to stay home with my almost-3-year-old. When I first went back to work, I went from getting sick once or twice a year to once or twice a month. It’s easier now, but I think there’s something very wrong with a society that requires such things b/c the cost of living is so high. BTW, I don’t think my getting sick so much was because I’m a “weak woman,” but rather because human beings are just not meant to work 40+ hours a week while caring for a 3-month-old.


Women have never *not* worked. Women have always worked, whether in the home or anywhere else. Their work just hasn't been recognized as such. Working women only show up as "working" when they enter the traditionally masculine workforce.

So, when women think about "working or being a stay at home mother," the question really is, "what kind of work shall I engage in?" If anybody doesn't agree, I invite them to keep house full time. It's not easy, it's not fun, and it's essential to a healthy life.

My mother always insisted that her occupation be listed as "domestic engineer" rather than "none."

I chose to work outside of my home. I have friends who did not. We're all busy all of the time, we all have good lives, and we're all working.


((it's essential to a healthy life.)))

Nobody keeps my house full time, and we survive.



It is simply gives women the CHOICE to pursue whatever they want.

But it also questions the environment in which those choices are made, and asks WHY women make those choices.


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