I am a self-defined Feminist. There I said it. I think men and women should be equal. And yes, I do also think women should be given better chances/access to certain things which they have been purposefully kept out of for so long, like a scholarship to study a science/tech degree. It seems unfair but unfortunately thanks to gender norms and stereotypes still being prevalent I feel this is necessary for the immediate future. We currently still have girl and boy suitable subjects, toys, activities, allowances. By giving women these extra opportunities, we might achieve in 10 years what would likely take 50 if not more, which is women and men having the same opportunities.
Now, a lot of people will say, Hey! But feminists hate men, or feminists are all angry, anti-establishment, anti-family meany-pants. Or that we have no need for feminism in today’s society where woman are now pretty-much equal to men. *pah*
Now, whoever is saying these statements, may have personal experiences to back them up. I’ve met some feminists who were pretty angry, even towards each other, but that a grand sweeping generalisation, it’s down to different personalities. It would be like judging all Scottish people on Gordon Brown, or all Americans on George Bush…yeah they might have been able to get themselves into a position which means their voice can be heard the loudest, but it doesn’t make them right or that all old white men or feminists are like that.
So, that’s my disclaimer, right up there. It’s like my affirmation to myself…because what I’m about to say…well, doesn’t necessarily fit with that.
I’m not saying Feminism is to blame or anything, but it’s given me issues with how my life is going! Issues which I’ve converted to guilt. It’s kinda like Catholic guilt, but worse.
Whether it’s little things like make-up; I like to dress up nice and wear my painted face when my partner and I go out for a meal, or drinking. I like to go to the hairdressers and get my hair done all pretty.Or my love of cooking and baking (when I’m not too tired) and I love serving people dinner. There is nothing better than a big meal with friends and family, I just love being a hostess.
A little pang of feminist guilt twangs in my chest every time I do these things.
When I think, Oh I should have shaved my legs, or Hmmm this dress is comfy but not very sexy, generally stressing that I’m not presenting the most feminine aspects of myself to the world.
But then…oh but then, there are the big pangs. The ones that tie my insides up in to knots and have full scale medieval battles in my mind. Being financially dependent.
So, when I left Uni and got this horrific illness, my partner stepped forward and did something amazing. He said, don’t worry about money, just focus on your health and getting your life back together. At first, this was just a huge weight lifted, and too be honest, in that first year, I didn’t really think about it too much. I don’t think I was able too. I spent most of my time Zombified on the couch watching Netflix or sleeping.
But now. Well, now…I’m better. Better in that I don’t spend my days comatose on the couch, where I can have an albeit simple life, not pushing myself too hard for fear of relapse, but I do, I can go out, see friends, write, go shopping, walk the dog, so long as I take a rest afterwards. So yeah, a life, but not better enough for a working life…unless someone wants to employ me as a stay at home writer? That’d be grand!
But now my mind is working well enough again to start to question this life we have. I am not financially independent. Something which I have always been since 16. I starting working at 15, earning my own money, paying for my own food, rent, clothes, everything. I’ve travelled on my own money, bought a flat with my own money, got myself out of debt when I sold the flat. All of which just bolstered my feminist self.
Now, I do believe that feminism is about choice. Women should have the choice. If they want to become a chemical-biologist who grows organs, then she should study, make the sacrifices that all career driven people make and go ahead and be able to get a job growing organs. If a woman wants to work at her families shop and have a family, staying home a lot to take care of that family, then she should be able to. That’s just two in the universe of options a woman should be able to take, without it being a detriment to her feminism supporting self.
But this guilt. Would it bother me as much if he was a woman? Is it because I have a man taking care of me, a man pursuing his career while I look after the house? I feel like I should be financially independent to really class myself as a feminist. Thanks Beyonce and the Destiny’s Child crew for that one.
He listens to my opinions and we discuss things as a team, and I “know” he doesn’t see this distinction between his, mine and ours. Yet still, this merciless issues persist.
They have my mind believing that the only way for a woman to really be a Feminist, is to be self-sufficient, financially independent and uncaring about the way the world views her physically.
All of which I’m failing at.
Then….well then I get shown a music video by Brittany Spears or read a website like this, and I realise how much work still needs to be done and my issues pail in comparison!
You can argue about personality types, core structures, waves, but when it comes down to it, what matters is that everyone gets the choice to be who they are and to follow their dreams regardless of their gender. And until that rings true throughout the world, there is still a need for feminism and I’ll try to keep believing I’m not doing it wrong.