Georgina Guedes

How to be a woman

2012-08-09 09:38

Sometimes I think that feminists got it all wrong.

We demanded an equal share in all the traditional responsibilities of being a man, without having a caucus to work out which share of the traditional female responsibilities the men should take over. The upshot? We work bloody hard and we raise the children. We're fucking exhausted!

Don't dictate me

In bitter moments, I sometimes wonder what we were thinking. I imagine a life in which my greatest worry is what colour to paint my nails – when someone else goes out to work every day, manages the finances, pays the bills and puts a hefty monthly sum in my top drawer with which I am expected to beautify myself.

Fortunately, for me, that little flight of fancy holds the seeds of its own destruction. I am not that woman, nor do I want to be. Because the person that I am when I'm having that fantasy knows that if any man were to try to dictate to me what I should wear or what I should do with my hair, the feminist that I keep on a slow boil would erupt like a volcano.

The trick to having an easy time as a feminist, of course, is ensuring that everyone else around you is a feminist as well. And this is where we run into trouble – not everyone is. So we either spend our lives in perpetual conflict with men and other women who want to suppress those of us who don't stick to our knitting, or we pick and choose our friends and partners from those who feel the same way we do.

Team effort

I have the wisdom or good fortune to be married to a feminist (although I'm not sure he would define himself as such). When he asks me what we're having for dinner, he means, “Which of the things that we planned, shopped for and stocked the fridge with will we be making for dinner tonight?”

We both scamper after loose financial ends, working together to make them meet. We both raise our children in a daily patchwork of responsibilities and fetching and carrying – and more importantly joy. (Other than the breastfeeding, of course, because there are physiological differences that can't be denied.)

We're partners in life, and while this means we each have an equal share at the worry, it also means, for me at least, that if my husband were one day to vanish in a puff of smoke, I wouldn't I wouldn't lose my house, I wouldn't wring my hands and wonder what was to become of me – and believe me, this isn't because we have such brilliant life insurance.

Be in charge

I am halfway through Caitlin Moran's brilliant book “How to be a Woman” (from which I stole this column's title), which is a part-memoir, part-rant about being a woman and a feminist. It's a book I would love to have written. As it is, I want to add my own notes to every chapter.

It's reminded me of all the things that I take for granted. The fact that when I've encountered the occasional blatant sexist, I've been able to shrug off his attitude because it hasn't actually affected the way I live my life or pursue my career. If I were to find myself subject to the whims of a person with such an outlook, that volcano would erupt again.

So, on this 9 August, when we remember the South African women who, fifty-six years ago, marched against another sinister form of oppression, I am doing what Caitlin Moran urges every woman who “has a vagina and wants to be in charge of it” to do – stand on a chair and proclaim: “I am a feminist!”

Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.





NEXT ON NEWS24X

The testimony that sunk him

2014-04-18 07:00

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.