WOMEN UNBOUND Start of Challenge Meme:
1. What does feminism mean to you? Does it have to do with the work sphere? The social sphere? How you dress? How you act?
Feminism, to me, means the right for every woman to have the same rights and expectations that men have in today’s society. It starts in the work sphere and moves into the social sphere. It does include how you dress and how you act. A woman who acts in the same straightforward manner should never be called a b!tch, when the very same behavior by a man would earn him kudos. Tears do not make a woman weak. Conversely, women should not perpetuate the stereotypes by playing the ditz or by playing up sexuality in an effort to win favors from men. They are only harming the cause of equality for all.
2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?
I do consider myself a feminist. I am extremely passionate that women have equal rights and expectations as men. Women should not get stuck with the brunt of the housework or cooking just because she is a woman. Similarly, men should not have to be the only ones who take care of the yard or the maintenance on the house or cars. Gender stereotyping drives me insane as needless and strike me as perpetuating the unequal roles. Nothing gets me angrier faster than seeing that in this day and age, women still make less than men in similar roles with similar educational and work backgrounds. In addition, women still get punished for having a family.
3. What do you consider the biggest obstacle women face in the world today? Has that obstacle changed over time, or does it basically remain the same?
I think one of the biggest obstacles women face today is each other. Women are notoriously cutthroat and are famous for backstabbing others in the boardroom, something most men would never consider doing in a business environment. Also, we are the first to criticize a woman for working outside of the home, assuming that her parenting leaves something to be desired; however, we also criticize women who stay home as being unmotivated. We compete for men, we compete for jobs, we compete with clothes, jewelry, purses, and the like. If we stopped competing and started helping each other, I feel that we would be a lot closer to equal rights for all than we actually are.
I do think that this obstacle has changed over time. According to history books, there was a time when women were more likely to form close bonds and help each other in life, which I just do not see happening now. This saddens me because the numbers are on our side, if only we could come together to utilize the power of those numbers.
What do you think? Are you a feminist? What is our greatest obstacle today?
Jodie – I am perfectly okay with agreeing to disagree on this. At least we both recognize that feminism is still alive and kicking, and that women still face many problems gaining equality in every facet of life! To me, that is the most important learning lesson behind this question!
That's ok Michelle it's great to see so many people really thinking about the issues. Your reply is why I think I mentioned it being all down to experience, as you mention you've seen women act this way and while I've had a little experience of this (ugh first line manager had something to prove) my main experience has been with hearing all the things men will quite happily say behind a womans back and how that all feeds into how they treat a woman without her ever really knowing what's going on. That's what I've seen so far in life.
It's something we'll have to agree to disagree on, which is ok we all have different opinions built out of how our lives have grown 🙂 Look forward to hearing your opinions on the books you read.
Jodie – I appreciate your comments. I apologize for taking so long to respond, but I had to consider my answer.
In my opinion, women being catty is only a trait of women. This starts from an extremely early age, with girl bullies causing horrible torment to most girls before they enter into junior high. In the business world, I've seen women blatantly call out others for making mistakes in the middle of a meeting. However, I have never seen a male do this, preferring to keep any criticism for behind closed doors. Men just do not act like women, and we can excuse our behavior by trying to convince ourselves otherwise. It still does not change the fact that women are just plain mean and will continue to harm the women's movement for each other, in my opinion.
Just chucking in my tuppeny thoughts. In my opinion the backstabbing comes from the origins of corporate feminism where we all had to be 'as good' as the guys, by being exactly the same way as the guys. Women who were great, achieving and typically feminine tended to be less successful than women who were great, achieving women who emulated men because to men the only way women could prove themselves equally as worthy as men and thereby win their respect (and thereby get the decent positions and advancement women wanted) was to act like men. Think about all the classic novels written by both men and women where women are called awesome because the things they're good at all typically male, because they're considered the anomalies of their gender who operate in a sensible (read apparently male) way.
Male corporate behaviour wasn't exactly nice, in fact an aggressive, competitive corporate culture was fostered in big business, which to some extent still persists today (the bonus culture, the culture that punishes anyone who admits to a mistake). This kind of idea of how a woman had to act if she was going to reach the top is really at the root of the disolution of female solidarity. Women had to operate in a male way, or risk looking like she was performing worse than her male colleagues. So they cut out cooperative behaviour and went out for their own advancement, just like the men.
I think male culture is really at the root of our opposition to each other. It's not just in the business world we're encouraged to a level of unhealthy competition (celebrity body image anyone). Sure women are free to reacte against this culture, but it's hard, just as hard as it is for men to break away from the pressure to fulfill the male gender stereotypes set out for them. We all need tp have a little compassion for each other, because we're all slightly damaged and slightly enthrall to the expectations of people from a past culture.
I often hear other women say that women are petty and catty, but men aren't. I think that's really a matter of personal experience, not something that can be applied to all women. I've met so many men who bitch about women and men that my experience is really different. I think maybe culture has this expectation that women are supposed to be super nice and caring, while we turn a blind eye to the nasty things men say if it's just fairly low level cattiness, because men are suppoused to be a little more abrupt and bad at expressing their feelings.
Ok so that was my rant – over now!
Stephanie – I too am more comfortable around men than women. It isn't until the last few years where I've developed some lasting friendships with females. I think the fact that you don't have a lot of “girl” friends says nothing about you except that you recognize how petty women can be to each other and you do not want to be put through that from supposed friends. If you are like me, you experienced enough of that pettiness in junior and senior high school to last a lifetime.
Florinda – I wish I understood why it happened so often. It would definitely go a long way to overcoming some of our current difficulties.
Megan – It's upsetting that so many women recognize it and yet, female backstabbing and competition will continue to drive their behavior even after they make this realization. Is it an innate characteristic in females that dates back to the need to compete for men in order to perpetuate the species? Or is it something that is more societal-based, do you think?
I totally agree that women can be their own worst enemies. I have always been more comfortable around guys for the very reasons you mentioned.
It's sad that I don't really have a lot of “girl” friends. Hmmm…wonder what that says about me??
Great answers to the challenge meme. I wish I could disagree with you about #3, but unfortunately I can't. Women undermining one another is certainly a major obstacle, and it happens entirely too much.
I've been skulking around reading these memes and waiting for someone to have the same answer as I would to the last question. I think you totally nailed it. The first thing I thought of when I started reading the last question of these memes is how it seems like all-too-often women are so terrible to each other. I mean, why go to the trouble of having a feminist movement if all we really gain is the supposed right to sit on the high horse of our personal decisions about how we're going to live our lives and judge how other women choose to live theirs? I'd sooner gain the right to choose how I live my life (working or not working, with kids or without, working on the car or not) and not only not have that decision dictated by others but also be respected for that decision. You're quite right that until we learn how to help and respect each other instead of constantly competing and cutting each other down, we're still going to have a ways to go in the quest for equal rights.