There are few things lately that stir up the peace of the internet the way feminism does. We have stars like Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston that proclaim themselves to be feminists. We have an Emma Watson giving a speech on gender equality that turned the hashtag #HeforShe in an internet legend and Patricia Arquette raising Meryl Streep to her feet during her Oscar acceptance speech this year. Not to mention the #AskHerMore social media campaign where celebrities requested to be asked more than what brand they are wearing. Yup…we’re amidst a third wave of feminism.
I’ve been cooking a text on feminism for a long time now mainly because I need to figure out where I stand towards this. IF you do continue reading this text you should know that I’ve written it from the point of view of a woman who had the chance to be born in a country where women have the liberty to choose their own paths.
I am a feminist. I wasn’t a feminist from the beginning and if I think of my highschool self I am very glad that phase is over. But I did mature into a feminist in the sense that for me it means independence, women finding their passion, going after what they want, taking care of themselves.
However, lately I’ve witnessed how feminism turned into this grey area where nothing makes much sense anymore. I find myself often disagreeing with what I see in the media labeled as an act of feminism and wonder if we didn’t get it wrong.
First of all I hate it when we use feminism as an excuse to dress inappropriately. It really gets on my nerves whenever I see a woman or girl wearing hot pants or other revealing clothes that is ranting all over social media that she was sent home from work/school because she was drawing attention to her half-naked butt. She then slams it with a hashtag like #equalityforall or #womenrightstowearwhatevertheywant and turns it into a freaking feminist battle claiming that men should be taught not to sexualize women and not women to be punished for what they are wearing. Seriously?
I mean we wear hot pants and cleavage for the exact same reason this cat is meowing her lungs out. I’m not saying that it’s wrong. We’ve earn our right to wear whatever we want and yes, one can argue that Coco Channel also shocked the entire world when she got women out of corsets and into leg revealing, comfortable skirts. But there was a purpose to Coco’s shocking fashion: times were changing for women, they were becoming emancipated, getting jobs, making a living. They were no longer stay at home wives so corsets became obsolete.
Today, when we have a gazillion clothing options what is the point to wearing hot pants at work or school and dress it as a feminist action? What exactly is womanhood getting out of it?
My understanding is that we want people to listen to what we have to say inspite of us being half-naked while we say it. Why didn’t Emma Watson give her #HeforShe speech butt naked? Do people remember how she was dressed? NO! Do people remember what she had to say? YES!
There are places in this world where women are treated like men’s property. Where women are punished for the wrongdoings of their male relatives. There are people out there that still consider that the only rightful place for a woman is the kitchen. There are churches that still preach the ‘women are inferior to men’ tagline. Or worse, there are women who believe that they need a man to think for them because they can’t do it on their own.
These situations is why we need feminism. It is empowering and powerful and using it for petty causes we only manage to steal its thunder and mock the struggles of women all over the world.
Second: feminism translates to overworking women. I am sure that what I’m about to say is in no way something new to the world. As things are now, feminism did give us the possibility of having careers and a voice but this added to our millenia old responsibilities of being a wife and a mother.
To be frank, we kinda brought this upon ourselves. Let’s face it! Having a career, managing a house, taking care of a man, bearing children and if possible, taking care of our persona is not doable. We are not superhumans nor should we be. This is when I get what #HeforShe actually means.
In a perfect world, just as the responsibility of providing for a family is split in half now, so should the household responsibilities be broken in half. Sadly, this is not the case. Especially in traditionalist countries like Romania where men still believe that a woman’s main role on this planet is to cook him dinner. Even if she just came home from a full-time job like he did.
Hello? It’s 2015 not 1955. Just as much as careers are not a man’s thing anymore, household chores are not only a woman’s business. We shouldn’t have to do it all, we shouldn’t want to do it all and certainly we shouldn’t feel pressured to do it all. Maybe it’s time for the men to get emancipated and make that sandwich on their own! The same way my money pays the bills, the same way you can bring me beer for a change!
The third and last point that I want to make is it’s not about equal chances. I’ve worked in the corporate world for five years and we had entire teams with only female members. In middle management were mostly women. It was only in the higher management that things changed and men took the majority. If you restrain from any feminist bias ideas, take a step back and think about it, this situation is normal. The main reason we find less women in higher management is timing: the time when business sees one ready to promote to higher management is around the same time women want to have children.
You are a business owner that needs to hire someone for a managing position. You have two candidates, a man and a woman. Both are equally good and suitable for the job. But she comes and says that she wants to have children in the near future. What do you do? Who do you hire?
I would hire the man. The reason is simple and practical: I am a business owner and I have to take care of my business. Hiring a person, going with that person through months of training to get her ready only to find myself X months later back in the situation where I need to hire someone due to maternity leave, it’s not convenient for my business. From a business point of view, maternity leave is a set back.
If we go further with the honesty, us women, we are not naturally drawn to this types of careers. How many women dream of having careers in power positions and how many women, if asked, say that their biggest dream is to have a family and children? In all this feminist fight of ours that we carry we forgot that, in the end, men and women are different. We should accept it as it is: having a career is easier and natural for a man just like bearing children is a given for women.
So when media and society in general points fingers to the business world calling it sexist is not fair. I am yet to meet a woman who wanted to be succesful in her business and failed for the sole reason that she is a woman.
It’s 2015! Women can do whatever they want to do! Get over it!