Sunday, March 11, 2012

Feminism v. an MRS Degree

Most of us disagree with extreme versions of radical feminism. Yet most would still agree that many feminist ideas are good things. Nowadays the idea of women empowerment is almost engrained in our minds. In taking this class, we are looking for any evidence of sexism or objectification of females on every page. Any action, word, or pose that could be interpreted as perpetuating the traditional standards in frowned on. Everything must be challenging norms or breaking women out of their sphere's. If not, the depiction can border on sexist, a concept our society is much against. 

Last year in my school in my rural Iowa town, there was a little bit of drama within my grade with two of my friends. One girl, let’s call her E in gossip girl style, is from a very conservative Christian background and is brilliant. One of my other friends, let’s call her A, was really annoyed at E because as a brilliant girl, her major goal in life is to be a stay-at-home mom. A, along with some other people, got mad because they considered it too stereotypical for a woman to aspire to be a mom. They could be doing something better with themselves, or society pressure is the only reason she could choose that path. No woman in their right mind could truly want to limit themselves to just a mom. E is going to college, but admittedly in part for a MRS degree. For those who have not heard this term before it is going to college to meet their future husband, and meeting them is easiest by being in college yourself. She plans to have a psychologist career only until she has kids, and then she’s done. 

The idea of needing to break societal norms is stressed in this Third Wave of Feminism. Why is any woman not actively breaking standards questioned? Even a woman who wants/plans on taking her husband’s last name (no hyphen) is almost looked down upon. In at least some of the many types of feminism, there is emphasis on the decision making power of a woman. If E only wants to be a mom, why are other people so against that? Is E not empowering her own gender, or should she still be supported in following historical gender norms? 


  1. Maggie, this is very interesting! I have never heard of a MRS degree before and quite honestly I am completely baffled by this concept. I personally went to an all girls high-school and was always taught to be empowered and to strive to have the best education and to be successful, so I am a bit biased toward this subject. I feel that E has every right to make her own decisions, but to outright declare that the only purpose she sees out of attending college is finding a husband, then I think that is where the issues lie. Is it not degrading of her to not see the potential she could have?
    I am by no means a strong feminist, but I feel most women harbor some feminists qualities, and I feel that E is merely reverting back to qualities of an older era, mid 20th century.

    Overall, I feel E has every right to her freedom and choosing what she wants, but I also agree with A for letting it be known that there is more to college than merely going for a MRS degree.

  2. Although now a days it is common and respected for women to go to college and get a great education alongside their male peers, both men and women can have an ultimate desire to become parents—and this can have an equally powerful impact on the community. Ultimately, the decision should be E’s. It sounds as if E is truly passionate about becoming a mother, and if this is her true desire, I think a feminist should encourage her to follow her passions. Although the feminist movement gave E the opportunity for equality and success in the realm outside of the domestic sphere, it simply provided the option. It does not require that women aim to succeed in a nondomestic setting, but gives them the choice to work outside of the domestic sphere with gender equality if they so choose to do so.

  3. I think the reason people would be against E only wanting to be a mom is that now a days women are able to be a mom and do something else. There are currently many women across the country who have great careers and take care of a family as well. I, along with many people, don't understand why a woman would want to limit herself to only aspiring to be a mom when she could have it all. Women who go to college for a MRS degree are looked down upon by many because they are placing men above their own education. The chances of finding a man at college are the same if you are motivated to learn or not motivated.

  4. I will admit, that E's decision to only go to college to meet her future husband, is a little ridiculous, but only because college is expensive and why waste the time and money on something that you really don't want to do. However, I believe that if E is truly passionate about being a mother, then more power to her for wanting to put all of her efforts into being a great mother. In today's society we hear about the "career mothers" and how successful women have it all. But, how does this affect their children? My mom dropped out of college when she had me, and frankly I'm glad she did. She spent hours and hours playing with me, nurturing me, teaching me, and I'm not sure that would of been possible had she continued studying and working while I was a baby. Now, she did work when I was old enough to go to day care, but not as a full career. Which I think made all the difference in the amount of time she could put into raising me and my sister. So, in conclusion, I support E's decision and think that she should follow her passion and be an amazing mom. She should be supported, because she is doing what she wants, and is choosing it. She wasn't forced to make this decision.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.