Thursday, 8 March 2012
International Women's Day
It's international women's day today. Did you know that? Twitter informed me; and I'll bet loads of you found out through Google. No one actually mentioned it to me today though. It's obviously not got through into our yearly celebrations.
I think it should have though. In many places, and in many situations, women's issues must still be discussed. Hell, even in the USA, women need support owing to the ridiculous idea currently pertaining to removing access to cheap and easy birth control.
There is however equality in many places and respects in this day and age; but there are also so many problems with the role of women in society. Both in what they are perceived to want, and what they actually want.
I guess in general there are two 'options'.
- stay at home homemaker. Seamstress. Child raiser. Cook. Cleaner.
- career women. Go out to work. Break the glass ceiling. Powerhouse.
I am really generalising here; some women are strong enough, maybe crazy enough, to do both. Have it all as it were. And women should be supported to have it all. To go out into the world and succeed in undertaking that role of mother, as well as career women.
To be honest, I'm not looking for such a job. Just something I enjoy. 21st century feminism? To me, it is the option of having access to both paths. The option of being a career person. But also the option of staying at home, unstigmatised by other women for wanting to undertake that path.
But that should also apply to where a man wants to stay at home in that role. Because that raises a whole other set of stigmas that really need to be dealt with. Equality goes both ways. I think sometimes that is forgotten.
Traditional activities seem to be having a renaissance of sorts. The homemaker crafts are on the rise in popularity, making it okay, in some way, to stay at home and raise a family.
It's just pretty unaffordable, and many women, due to the current social and economic situation, have to work as a family cannot survive on one income.
So in some respects, perhaps what women once sort to escape, has become the new unobtainable. We have what we want (in the west); understanding and representation, to a degree, but now, what we didn't want is what we want!
Did that even make sense? Probably not.
Moving on to the next point...
Julochka was talking today about a more compassionate and value based interpretation of the world being a potential way forward to encourage further equality.
This got me thinking that perhaps the current way of looking at women's identity is flawed; that in order for women's rights and values to be upheld, we need to change the way issues are comprehended in a male dominated world view. Women have come to an equality that is based on the male world view of career and money, an understanding rooted in the depths of history as established by men.
I took a course in university on feminism as a part of political culture, writing a paper on equality in terms of feminism and multiculturalism (as a side note, equality is an incredibly complex term as every group after equality wants something different, even when there overarching aim is the same; making these coexist, especially for competing cultures, is a nightmare).
What I discovered doing this was an argument produced around the idea of sameness/difference. Traditionally in feminism of the 18th Century, arguments for the equality of women stemmed from the idea of women being the same as men on legal terms. He undertook to see women become equal in the eyes of the law, but (see J.S. Mill on the subjection of women) Mill, a utilitarian, also argued that society was less rich for not having the input of women.
The more modern 'difference' argument stems from the idea that women are different, but the law makes them the same as men, thus establishing the idea of women building themselves on the blocks of a male society. Within this, women must be allowed instead to be women; they must be allowed their differences whilst also being allowed all that they have been denied. (see Catherine Mackinnon, towards a feminist theory of state).
On international women's day of all days, perhaps we ought to therefore look at creating women's identity in a world paradigm that is both masculine and feminine. Women should have their differences celebrated whilst also allowing them all that is denied; from the right to effective and free birth control, to the the right to vote, to the right to be the CEO of any multinational corporation they choose, or the head of any state they want, without any qualifications on their gender. Only that they be smart and capable enough to maintain that role.
We need to help build in an order that establishes a way of allowing women access to the life they want without being defined by the traditional frame of feminism and modern life.
So any ideas on how we go about doing that?
You can once again that this post for the above ramble...