(Gentlemen don’t be put off by the title, this is IN NO WAY an anti-male rant, rather it’s a pro-female rant. It’s aimed at the Laydeez but do please feel free to read, clap, cheer, whoop and generally make appreciative supportive noises all the way through and in the comments below. Ladies, I’m assuming you’ll all be doing that anyway…)
I’ve been starting and abandoning new posts all week. Abandoning them cos they were crap. I was doing it cos I haven’t blogged in a week or so and I though it was time, but it doesn’t work like that. My Muse refused to get involved and just sat in a corner sipping Pina Coladas and humming Club Tropicana to herself, cackling evilly each time I deleted another atrocious couple of paragraphs.
And then this morning, when I could REALLY have done with a lie-in after last night’s STONKINGLY good launch party for The Networking Girls/Breast Cancer Haven Charity Calendar (I’m Miss September and my shoes look FAAAAAAAAABULOUS Dahling), what happens? Miss Muse drags me all unwilling from my pit of pleasure because she’s got not one, but TWO things she wants me to blog about.
Well I don’t want to wear you out so we made a deal. I’ll do one now, then I’m going back to bed for a nap, and then I’ll do another one. But I’m not going to release the other one till Monday so we can all relax over the weekend.
And I’m making her share her Pina Coladas with me so if the typing on the next one’s a bit woozy, you’ll know why.
Right then, let’s crack on.
I’ve never really thought of myself as a feminist. Yes, I believe that people doing the same jobs should get paid the same, regardless of gender.
Yes, I believe that men and women should be equal in the sight of the law.
Yes, I believe that everyone is entitled to protection from sexual abuse, harrassment or general unpleasantness, again regardless of gender.
From those opinions stem the beliefs that OF COURSE women everywhere should be seen as citizens in their own right, not as appendages of or belonging to a man.
That OF COURSE women should be enfranchised, educated, able to move around freely on their own, drive, run businesses, pay taxes, stand for parliament, determine what happens to their own bodies and their own lives etc etc.
I never thought that made me a feminist though, just a reasonable human being.
My daughter is very proud to call herself a feminist and that stance informs the work she’s doing for her dissertation his year and will go on to inform what she does in the future. And I’m very proud of her, but I still never considered myself to be a feminist.
And this morning, I have woken up and decided that, as a result of a number of things that have settled into my brain this week, I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANY MORE AND YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I’M A FEMINIST!!
Excuse me while I turn green, burst out of my clothes and develop an Australian accent…
So what’s got me fired up? Two comments from women who don’t value themselves, that’s what.
“I’d love to do that, but my husband won’t let me spend money on luxuries” (the luxury being herself)
“I don’t deserve to be treated as if I’m special, I’m not beautiful enough” (from a client to a beautician)
These are intelligent, successful adult women living in a Western democracy. There are plenty more who feel like that about themselves. Some of the comments I’ve had in response to my earlier posts about body image have shocked and saddened me as they’ve opened my eyes to how poor so many women’s sense of worth really is.
Let’s look at that first comment, from the woman whose husband “won’t let” her spend her money on something she feels she needs. I know she’s not the only woman in that situation and I wonder why it happens. Does it stem from being brought up to “be a good girl” and not make a fuss? Is that why so many of us STILL don’t treat ourselves as equal partners in a relationship? I work with clients who defer to their man in all things because “he’s the man”.
WELL SO BLOODY WHAT? YOU’RE THE WOMAN!!!
(…is what I sometimes feel like shouting, but of course I don’t because I am a professional and I make no judgements about my clients 🙂
But Ladies, Ladies, Ladies, why are you undervaluing yourselves? You have every right to make your own decisions about how YOU want to live YOUR LIFE.
If YOU want to spend YOUR money that YOU earned on something, then you don’t need someone else’s permission.
And let’s look at the second one, the woman who “doesn’t deserve” to be pampered because she’s “not beautiful enough”. This one is so sad it makes me feel like weeping. What is wrong with our view of ourselves as human beings that makes some of us feel that we don’t deserve things because we don’t look a particular way?
The level of despair and self-loathing underpinning that one comment is shocking. Not as shocking as some of the conditions that women in other parts of the world undergo on a daily basis, granted – I’m not in any way trying to equate low self-esteem with what’s happening to women in the Congo or Sudan or Iran.
But it’s shocking to me that, 30 years since the women’s movement first got off the ground in this country, and getting on for 100 years since the Suffragettes first started breaking shop windows, so many women STILL don’t see themselves as worthwhile members of society either because of their gender or their appearance.
What can we do? What can I do? I need to channel this anger and frustration into something positive. Someone out there can help me to corall it and get it moving in a positive direction. I’m waiting to hear from you….