Monday, August 16, 2010

Homemaker of the year exemplifies care-focused feminism

Charlene Jolly of Highland Township, Mich. was named Homemaker of the Year at the Oakland County Fair in Davisburg, Mich. last month.

Read my article from The Oakland Press here.

When I interviewed Charlene, she was "so proud" of her accomplishment -- and she should be!

Care-based professions -- and yes, a homemaker is a profession -- are seldom recognized or respected in our society.

Care-focused feminism is the first feminist model that I personally identified with -- because it's so damn simple.

By focusing on care it embraces the best of human nature and extends the ethics of care to both men and women.

What a concept.

Here is care-focused feminist theory in a nutshell -- very well put by Wikipedia:

"While some feminists have criticized care-based ethics for reinforcing traditional stereotypes of a “good woman” others have embraced parts of this paradigm under the theoretical concept of care-focused feminism.

"Care-focused feminism is a branch of feminist thought, informed primarily by ethics of care as developed by Carol Gilligan and Nel Noddings. This body of theory is critical of how caring is socially engendered to women and consequently devalued. 'Care-focused feminists regard women’s capacity for care as a human strength' which can and should be taught to and expected of men as well as women. Noddings proposes that ethical caring has the potential to be a more concrete evaluative model of moral dilemma, than an ethic of justice. Noddings’ care-focused feminism requires practical application of relational ethics, predicated on an ethic of care.

"Critical of how society engenders caring labor, theorists Sara Ruddick, Virginia Held, and Eva Feder Kittay suggest caring should be performed and care givers valued in both public and private spheres. Their theories recognize caring as an ethically relevant issue. This proposed paradigm shift in ethics encourages that an ethic of caring be the social responsibility of both men and women."

Congratulations, Charlene. You embody care-focused feminism whether you know it or not -- and you look beautiful.

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