The “Women Against Feminism” movement is a little disturbing to me. Not because I’m a die-hard feminist, but because we’ve lost sight of what feminism really means. I like the idea of men being chivalrous, but I don’t want to be taken care of financially, I don’t want to be stuck at home doing all the cooking and the cleaning, I don’t want to be raising kids on my own, and I don’t want to be told how a woman should and shouldn’t behave. I also don’t want to (and shouldn’t have to) be afraid to walk to my car at night, to live alone, and to be seen as a weaker because of my gender.
It would be naive to assume that feminists and non-feminists are on the same page in terms of gender role views and beliefs – we’ve done the research. But I love when our research studies at Queendom surprise the heck out of us, and our research on women’s values did not disappoint. Over 1,000 women participated in our study, and here’s what our research revealed:
We divided our sample into 3 groups:
- Career-focused women who are forgoing marriage and a family until some time in the future (if at all).
- Stay-at-home moms who are focused on raising their children.
- Moms who work outside the home.
We analyzed at each group separately in order to determine their top ten values (from a group of 34 values). What we discovered was that these three seemingly distinct groups share eight of those top ten values, namely:
- Empathy: Those who value empathy recognize that in order to help others and make the world a better place, one must be able to see the world through the eyes of the needy and the suffering.
- Altruism: Those who value altruism have a passionate desire to heal the world and show a deep concern for the needs and lives of others.
- Family & Friends: As the name implies, those who possess this value greatly cherish their relationship with family and friends and derive much joy from being surrounded by those they love.
- Acceptance & Belonging: Those who value acceptance want others to approve of them and support them, and place a great deal of stock in the opinions of others.
- Community Values: People with this value are passionately involved in their community and social causes. They speak out against injustice and do their utmost to be good citizens and humanitarians.
- Hard work & Diligence: People with this value understand and appreciate the importance of hard work. They put 100% effort into everything they take on, often going above and beyond the call of duty.
- Stability: Valuing financial and career stability offers a sense of control over one’s life, which is something that people with this value desire. They thrive on structure and take a methodical approach to projects, goals, and problems.
- Innovation: Those who advocate innovation hate sticking to the status quo. They believe that it is essential for the world and humanity to continue to progress and advance new views, ideas, theories, and inventions.
Here’s where these three groups differ
Career women also value…
- Intellectualism – They not only enjoy keeping their mind busy, they may also require intellectual stimulation, both at home and at work. They see an idle mind as a terrible waste.
- Their career (not surprisingly!) – They take pride in what they have accomplished in their career, or at lease want to be able to say as much when they look back on it.
Homemakers and working moms also value…
- Socializing – Given the choice, they’d rather spend time with others than alone, and will often seek out opportunities to interact with and be around people.
- Ethics & Morals – Living their life according to a set of principles and morals is important to them. They follow their conscience, stand up for what they believe in, and make sure that their goals and passions are in line with their ethics.
So what does it all mean? It means that we’ve got it wrong. Career women are not focused solely on money and status, homemakers on family, and working moms on stability. In fact, they all want pretty much the same thing. And while I’m at it, feminism isn’t about restructuring society to ensure that women are the only ones in charge. It isn’t about branding all men as would-be abusers, aggressors, oppressors or pigs. It’s about seeing men and women on equal footing, professionally, financially, and socially. It’s about understanding that whether a woman chooses to be a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, or a career woman without a husband or children, it is absolutely her decision, whether others agree with it or not.