Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dear Gov-Stop mythologising 1950s motherhood

(This open letter is in response to comments Governor Phil Bryant made on June 4, 2013 saying that the decline in education is due to women working outside the home)
Dear Governor,

I have a request for you and others like you-please stop mythologising the 1950s housewife. I know, I know like many white middle/upper class males you may have warm fuzzy feelings of home and hearth when you think of  the "Leave it to Beaver" like existences of days past. However, many families never had those existences in fact most families that thought they did-did not.

Those cookies everyday after school and perfect laundry may have came at a cost. Not every 50s housewife was happy. Some women enjoy staying home many don't. In fact that's a big reason why second wave feminism happened Governor. I don't know maybe you skipped that part of history.

Perhaps you also skipped the part of history where some mothers never had the option to stay at home or not to work. Whether in the fields or as domestic help poor women-especially poor women of color have always worked. When it comes specifically to Mississippi history many 50s housewives you so adore Governor couldn't have had it all together without the assistance of their black housekeepers and nannies. Those woman washed their clothes, cooked their meals, and helped raised their kids so they could attend to things like improving public schools and playing bridge.

Yes once upon a time many women stayed at home-most middle class especially white women. Now those days are gone and do you know what studies show, children are fine. Children of working mothers are not worse off Governor. Children benefit from having mothers who are happy. What really hurts children though is poverty. As the Governor of the poorest state in the country I would think you would take some responsibility for that statistic rather than blaming working mothers for attempting to better their children's lives.

Lastly I must say I am confused because our state wants women to work,right? I mean poor women should always work. The state can't seem to force poor women back to work fast enough after giving birth . In fact women on TANF have 6 weeks to go back to work. So much for that needing to be with your child thing. So which is it? Do you want women to work or not? If you want to stick to the myth of the 1950s housewife then you should go back to the old rationale of aid to single women with children, which was to ensure she could care for her child's basic needs and stay home if needed.

See Governor it's not easy to stick to outdated sexist ideals is it. So I am asking you to please stop. Stop scapegoating women for the failures of the state of Mississippi. More than that stop promoting an America that never was.


a black mom who doesn't wish to be in the 50s