Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mel--On Feminism


Recently a friend of mine asked me what I thought about Feminism. 

It’s a shame that my immediate reaction was one of slight dismay; I am afraid that if I even write about Feminism I might immediately be classed as a bit ‘hippie’, a bit ‘radical’ or exhibiting misandry. Hell, I might just go burn a bra.

Obviously this image has (hopefully) evolved from the 1960s movement. But it irks me that 60 years down the line, I still fear being labeled just for wanting to talk about Feminism.

I am also very aware that the Feminist movement in the West is very different to what women in other corners of the world might be fighting for; that there is a fight in Feminism for rights, equality, the chance to wear what we want, the right to earn as much as men, the right to have the same legal rights as men, the right to vote, the right to do as we wish with our bodies, the right to marry who we want, the right to cease the overt sexualization of women, the right be sexual,  the right to get drunk and act a bit laddish…

The fight seems too diluted.

I believe there are too many versions of what Feminism can mean for us to be truly united in its cause. Whilst some women want the right to wear skimpy clothing and not get harassed, others are trying hard to distance the image of women from the sexual predator.  How are these examples at odds with each other? Simply that each woman sees herself differently; one woman’s refuge could be another woman’s prison. I have had strange conversations, often till the late hours of the morning, with fellow travelers about a woman’s role in society, and it surprised me when some of them expressed a certain anger at how aggressive some women can be against the image of the housewife.  Some claimed that women’s choice has torn families apart, or even that the emancipation of women has increased the average woman’s workload, expected to still run a household whilst now “enjoying” the new opportunities of a career.

I am confused by the notion of Feminism.

I want women to have a choice, as to what they want to be and how they want to live their life. But I worry about the stereotypes that come with that choice and the judgment and criticisms that are attached to each decision…

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