Friday, August 8, 2008

Did feminism work? Are we there yet?

Several times this week I have encountered an attitude of resentment for the special treatment of women. As if feminism has worked so well, we don't need to work for equality anymore. As if there's something wrong with wanting to focus on "women's issues". As if prizes and incentives for women are somehow unfair to the men excluded from them.

So I wrapped a few things in a virtual red-spotted handkerchief, slung it onto a pole over my shoulder, and went for a short cyber foray into the far reaches of the blogosphere, picking up the clues left by strong and stroppy women everywhere, following the bread crumb trails they left.

Each time I found a feminist blog I looked for another feminist blog that blogger liked to read, and when I found one of those, I looked at one she in turn recommended. Etc. At the end of my journey I was not so far from where I first started.

And my conclusion? We have come a long way baby, but we are not there yet.


Virginia said...

Women have to keep standing strong for economic justice!

We can learn much from the successful strategies of the suffragettes. If we know what they were!

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The Paradoxical Cat said...

Hi Virginia,
here in New Zealand we celebrate being the first self-governing country in the world to grant women the right to vote, in 1893. This social advance was the outcome of years of meetings in towns and cities across the country, with women often travelling considerable distances to hear lectures and speeches, pass resolutions and sign petitions. A number of petitions were presented to both Houses of Parliament from the early 1880s till 1893.
Then, as now, it is intelligently motivated political agitation that gains ground, not "sexy shocking" behaviour by "beautiful" and "stunning" women.
Perhaps some women only find their history palatable if it is dressed up in romantic fiction and shot through a vaseline smeared lens, but for myself I prefer the unsensational non-fiction version.

Rachael King said...

I agree!

My husband and I met a man the day who told my husband how "courageous" he was to stay at home and look after our son. You don't often hear people saying that to women!

The Paradoxical Cat said...

So true, Rachael.

Even in this day and age I find that many males expect to be congratulated for doing domestic chores like doing the dishes. But how often does a woman get thanked by the rest of the family - or employees, or fellow members of an organisation - when she cleans up or does the dishes?

I always laugh when I see this sign up in staff kitchens: "YOUR MOTHER DOES NOT LIVE HERE - WASH YOUR OWN DISHES!"