Monday, 30 March 2009

Women's Liberation

In keeping with my age, I'm nearly wholly ungrateful for the massive leaps in human rights and freedoms that my previous generations afforded me. Perhaps ungrateful isn't the right word to use. Maybe "oblivious" would be better. Or "ignorant". I just seem to take these things for granted. Do you know what though? I reckon that was the entire point of gaining those freedoms in the first place.

Did the Suffragettes fight for the right for women to vote so that we'd remember them and honour their memory? No, probably not. They fought for the women's right to vote so that women could vote. The same thing goes for the Women's Lib movements in the late 50s to 60s. Do they want us to contemplate every day that they managed to make women a more equal species? I doubt it. They'd be happy that girls like me managed to get raised equally, go to University without any hassle over my gender, and generally get treated like a Human as opposed to one of those silly Female types who would be much better suited to the kitchen in their suburban home. I am truly happy and thankful for this. I enjoy being educated and going to bars with male friends and generally using me equality to its fullest. I just don't go on about it too much. We all love coffee and iPods and showers, but we don't get down on our knees and pray to the Humanist Society every time we remember what a great addition to our lives they are. They were invented to make our lives easier, or to give our days a little bit of luxury. If I saw the guy who invented tea bags, I'd probably shake his hand, but I don't think about his greatness every single day. You just get on with it, don't you?

I'm not saying that I don't care about women's rights. I clearly care deeply about them, being that my life is hugely affected by them every single day. I want to enter into a profession that was undoubtedly a man's world up until fairly recently when I graduate. The fact that I am getting the chance to graduate is pretty good in itself. Here I am, sat at my computer, making political choices, reading the paper, speaking my mind on a format that enables others to read my opinions (although whether people do is quite another story). I definitely wouldn't have been doing anything like this in the 30s, or even the 50s. I do care about these things. What I don't care about is the way that women's rights and women's lib has become another way for women to get their snide comments in on their favourite subject to belittle - men.

Feminism was an important movement in its time. It helped push ideas forward, and enabled male minds to be opened up to the suggestions that perhaps females had the same capacity for learning as they did. (As you might have noticed, my favourite outcome from the fight for women's rights is the educational side of it.) Here's where I get into arguments with fellow members of the sisterhood that is being-born-and-happening-to-be-a-woman. I don't think it's very necessary anymore to have fiercely feminist beliefs. I think aside from the alienating nature of them, they are detrimental to a woman's success. It shows you are intolerant to men. Perhaps you have god reason to be, perhaps you grew up during a time of repression. For that you can be forgiven to a certain degree. However, if you're young enough to have lived through a time of enlightenment (and I do realise that's a bit of a strong word to use - yes women are still repressed in places, glass ceilings etc etc but I'm talking about Britain and my own personal experience here) there really is no reason for an open resentment of men. Here is just one example of what I'm talking about:

If women don't want to be treated like this, then what the hell gives them the right to treat men this way?

We fight so hard to be treated equally, to move away from stereotypes, and to live equally. Why then, are some women so keen to pigeonhole themselves as "strong" or "intelligent"? Why can't they just be strong or intelligent? Why do they need to stamp it across their lives, brashly offering female chauvinist views on "the problem with men"? Surely we've come too far in the search for equality to start repressing some other sector of society. Yes, some women do aspire to be that strong, career-driven woman, but the only poster girls I've seen of them are the self-made Bridget Jones' of this world, curling up on sofas to watch Sex and the City (even though they know it's a bit derogatory) eating aspirational ice-cream and moaning about how men don't want an intelligent woman.

They probably do, but they also probably didn't enjoy being completely alienated the last time you went for a drink with them and repeatedly aired the opinion that men were useless. Why is getting a man so important to successful women anyway? Oh right, because it's actually OK to want to feel loved, and it doesn't make you weak or anti-feminist. Thanks.


the_man_in_the_middle said...

You reason in a refeshingly balanced and inciteful way... for a woman ;) Good luck with your writing - it makes interesting reading.

Katie said...

Thanks very much!

wowser said...

EXACTLY! Other examples include, well... every other advert currently on TV!

Katie said...

And for more examples, read anything Tanya Gold from the Guardian has ever written...

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