I posted a comment on a blog not long ago where a woman working in a very male dominated industry was expressing how difficult it can be to be heard as an equal. My comment, amongst other things, stated ‘It’s okay and very necessary to be introspective and self analytical and spiritual, but as women we also need to fight. We tried being equal and that sucked because men aren’t free either…’ Okay, so I didn’t express myself very academically, but my point was akin to something the Dalai Lama said the other week when I went to hear him. He said that it’s all very well and good spending time in meditation, but if you are poor and hungry, all the meditation in the world isn’t going to fill your stomach. I was trying to point out that despite our efforts for equality, we still don’t have equity and perhaps what we really want (and in order to be really liberated) isn’t the same as what men have. Men don’t generally have a great work/life balance, nor do many Western men comfortably and publicly share their emotions and Spirit. Another woman replied to my comment with this comment:
That’s two women so far engaging in judgmental attitudes towards the masculine. You’d think women were VICTIMS or something else just as disgustingly disRespectful. I read of masculine bashing, followed by an emotional pattern of dominance, possession and a desire to mark your territory. Judging men then behaving just like them. And that’s why it is said to drop ALL judgments, because underneath it all, we are judging ourselves.
Wow. Me desiring to challenge a patriarchal social structure and being derisive towards ‘the masculine’ are two quite distinct things. I celebrate the masculine as I celebrate the feminine. Hence my desire to change the social structure so that rather than just emulate what we have now (a patriarchal structure where women are considered equal but are actually not equal), we create something entirely different. I realise that this makes me a socialist of sorts, but a change – in my opinion, is necessary – as what we have now is so very far from ideal. Women have made so many gains since the feminist wave of the 60s, but in so many ways are so much more confused and constricted. In the 60s, young women weren’t starving or cutting themselves like they are in droves today. Nor were teenagers getting breast implants from their parents as graduation presents, or getting labiaplasty because they are so influenced by the sheer volume of porn and all that that implies that surrounds them.
I went to a Women’s Expo this morning and listened to four women speak about their lives and share their own motivational stories. One of these women was in her 60s and had her own cosmetic/beauty company for older women to celebrate their own beauty. At one point she said “I wear my lines as a badge of honour.” I threw my hands together to clap and ended up holding them together as I was the only one who seemed moved to do so and soon realised that she hadn’t finished the sentence. She went to say “[I wear my lines as a badge of honour] and I can show women how to diminish those lines or at least highlight other areas to detract from them.” She mentioned not long after this that she was getting married the next day and this statement was met with thunderous applause and calling out. So you see, women aren’t even sure what we’re celebrating anymore. Are we wearing our wrinkles as a badge of honour or are trying to cover them up? Is marriage still the most celebrated success that a woman can have? We’re trying to do both, failing dismally and getting frustrated and pigeon-holed at the same time – by ourselves and by the men around us. Most of the men (who are my age or older) I know think boob jobs and botox look ridiculous, but they are becoming so ingrained in the popular culture that young women now wear their fake breasts as a badge of honour.
So back to the comment that shocked me so much: You’d think women were VICTIMS or something else just as disgustingly disRespectful. That women themselves are viewing victimization as disgusting and disrespectful is amazing to me. When on earth did it become disrespectful to be a victim? What does that even mean? Victim feminism is not what I was talking about. Seeking power by claiming an identity of powerlessness will hardly help matters. Putting our heads in the sand and thinking that we have equity isn’t helping anyone, men or women, either. Women un-united or uninformed, or women attempting to fit the stereotype of recent ‘masculine’ extreme fantasy (ie the ‘tits on sticks’ phenomena of boob jobs on Paris-thin bodies as one example; even the older women like the one I heard this morning are aware that young is good; young is very, very good) just results in amnesia from one generation of so-called liberated women to the next.