I guess this is my bit on feminism. I’ve been reading a fair bit of late.. And I have some comments to make..
I think I myself do now identify as a feminist. But I am probably happy to identify as such given a particular definition. To me, a woman and should be as equally valued as any role a man might take in the workforce. To me, feminism is a removal of sexism from work, from life, from relationships, from family models etc. Sexism exists as discriminatory behaviours toward the opposite sex. (Well, *technically* speaking! This is the definition) however I think sexism can be displayed from women toward other women as well. To me sexism is really discriminating against someone because of their sex and therefore engendering them with particular afflictions purely based on their genitals. For example, telling a woman that she will want to have children some day even if she doesn’t want them now simply because she possesses ovaries. What other authority do people have but the possession of ovaries to tell others this I don’t know. In fact I’m fairly certain if I announced some time that I don’t want children that a) this would be met with some surprise given my career choice! and b) I’d have some smart-arse telling me I will change my mind one day.. When I’m not so young and immature.
Blah! To you I say! Blah! The truth is I’m somewhat undecided on children. But that’s a decision for me and me alone to make! Maybe I’ll involve the father of the baby too! Hehehehe! ;) these days, lord knows I wouldn’t be the first who didn’t!!
Anyhow, I guess this all came about for me cos I made a somewhat off-handed comment a few months ago on twitter. Something along the lines of: “why are all the feminists so angry?” It was poorly researched and was perpetuating a stereotype that is frankly unhelpful. I was quickly corrected and had some of the other feminists come out of the woodwork and admit to me that they too didn’t see that hostility generally improves ANY cause.. Let alone this one. So I quickly resigned to do some research on the topic. I needed to be informed. I’ve done some brilliant reading since then! I’ve stolen a good friends copy of “the bitch in the house” which is a compilation of short essays and had a whole lot of fantastic points, all without too much hostility. All things I could relate to! I don’t appreciate hostility and for me it just makes me shut down.
I don’t appreciate sexism either! I don’t appreciate being told that I am a woman and therefore I will be more nurturing to my child than it’s father. I don’t like being told that I can’t do something because I am a woman. Of course aside from peeing standing up… And let’s face it! If I want to clean up the mess then I can damn well pee standing up if I want to!
I am a midwife and as a student I found the whole gender thing a difficult thought to ponder. I think that in my experience, children are assigned a gender based on their genitals, so not only does their parent dream up for them to be happy and healthy and successful, their parents often have a whole bunch of other dreams for them too! They’re dressed in pink or blue based on their genitals, and then their parents make comments in reference to their sexual preferences. They’re assuming that while this baby is still an infant that they’ll grow up to be a straight heterosexual, marry a man/woman (whichever applies!) have their picket fence and their 2.4 kids and live happily ever after! Until they get their first divorce and meet their second husband/wife of course!
And you might think I think too much on this stuff. But people who are friends and who are pregnant at the same time will make comments of their children to mates with each other if they have the same genitals and they’re going to marry each other if they’re opposite sex.
And don’t get me wrong! I think it’s a natural part of human thinking. We have dreams for our offspring and these dreams extend to their happiness and their success in life! But what of the children who feel an attraction to the opposite sex once they *do* think of things along those lines?
I mean I for one have always been brought up to be a compliant, thoughtful, respectful young lady. I need to look a certain way and behave a certain way if anyone will want to spend their life with me. What about if I don’t want to spend my life with them? Does it come into it? I am conditioned both by society and my upbringing that if I am not in a relationship that there must be something wrong with me. And I am made to feel that if I am not in a relationship that there is something wrong with me. Fact is there’s not! I am perfectly nice, respectful and reasonably pretty. I am also opinionated, clumsy and argumentative. I like a good debate and I like a good children’s movie. I love a drink and I love riding my bike. I am a lovable curmudgeon and Liz lemon describes herself in 30 rock. I am sometimes messy and I am sometimes clean and tidy. I always care and I am always emphatic, but I don’t always communicate that well. I am a little deaf, a little blind and not particularly the sharpest tool in the shed. But what I do and what I say it comes from a place of love.
I don’t always expect that my boyfriend/partner male counterpart will do the gardening just because he has a penis. But I’m not very good at it, so if he doesn’t want to do it I’m happy to pay someone to do it or better still, buy a place without too much of a garden. I don’t expect I always need to cook, but I do enjoy my food and enjoy cooking so chances are I will probably spend some time doing it.
I don’t feel the need to put down my male housemates cos they don’t do the dishes the way I do.. Telling them they’ve had a “boy look” when they can’t find something in the pantry only further segregates the sexes. The boys in my house are actually cleaner than me, and often tidier than me. We are considerate of each other and they learn different skills from me as I learn from them..
I think what I’m getting at here is that I am keen for equality to be a thing. Equality means equality. So support of gay marriage, is part of that. Who am I to tell people that they can’t commit their life to someone? I don’t know that I will ever get married either.. I have a lot more thinking to do on it, and what it would mean to me. But I am keen to remove segregation between sexes. I am keen to work together with people and make our world better for all.
I understand none of these thoughts are particularly new. They’re just mine and I had to put them down somewhere.