It is said that women today have many more choices than women of other eras. We can vote, we can receive an education and we can have any job we desire. Our current society prides itself on being the most open-minded society of all time but I seriously question that. Though women may have more choices, society clearly favors one choice over the other.
Throughout history, women were expected to bear children and remain at home. Then the feminist movement came along and told women they didn’t have to choose that life, which is great for the women who don’t wish to stay at home. But we as a society have moved so far away from traditional gender roles that when a modern woman decides she does want to choose a traditional life, she is chastised. In our society, it’s acceptable for a woman to have a career and not have children, but the opposite situation is viewed with undue surprise and judgment. Motherhood is arguably the most vital role a woman can play, as it propels society forward, yet for some reason it is looked down upon.
During my first year at NMU I covered up my true desires, claiming to have goals of becoming a professor or an editor or anything that would make my fellow students think I was “normal.” I feared discrimination (I still do, sometimes). But after finding a mate who shares my dream of playing traditional roles in a marriage and thus realizing the fulfillment of that dream in the near future was a definite possibility, I began to be more open about discussing it. The general reaction I encountered was not exactly what I had expected.
Most people, upon learning I have chosen to be a homemaker for a future career, ask me: “Well, then why are you here [at Northern]?” Well, I want to be an educated and informed member of society. A college education does not have to be used strictly for occupational purposes. An education should teach one how to think critically in everyday life.
That is precisely what I have learned during my time at Northern, and it will certainly not go to waste just because I don’t plan to make a salary. Is learning how to think not the purpose of the university? If the purpose is merely to be trained in a marketable trade, why not demolish all universities and just have trade schools? I feel we have lost something over the past few years. Universities used to be where people went to learn how to analyze the world around them and engage in intelligent debate. Somehow the importance of being educated in this sense has been diminished and now people simply want to learn skills. Learning skills isn’t a negative goal for a person to pursue, but along the way, all students should have the desire to learn how to think and to be educated for education’s sake.
A practical example of education for education’s sake is the liberal requirement of all majors. Students complain so much about this, but it should be embraced. We should all use these three, four or even five years to soak up all the knowledge we can and use it however we choose. And the next time you find out someone you know wants to be a homemaker, remember what you learned in that history class you didn’t want to take. It’s really not that strange after all.