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Adv. Saras Chettiar
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Is feminism Extinct ?

08 August 2013, 20:52

Modern women are now running multinational corporations, occupying high profile political positions, buying their own homes and cars. The cult Destiny’s Child  hit single in the 90’s seem to allegedly define the modern woman, “Tell me how you feel about this, Try to control me boy you get dismissed, Pay my own fun, oh and I pay my own bills, Always 50/50 in relationships, The shoes on my feet I've bought it, The clothes I'm wearing I've bought it The rock I'm rockin I bought it''Cause I depend on me, The house I live in I've bought it The car I'm driving I've bought it I depend on me.” 

This description is a far cry from the1950’s image of the woman who kept a spotless home, had her husband's dinner ready as soon as he walked through the door from work and single-handed raised the children - while still always managing to look fabulous but did not enter the work place and was not economically empowered.

If the cult Destiny’s Child  hit single is the version of the life of  the modern woman, then feminism belongs in the same  museums where  dinosaurs are honoured. Like the feminist, they walked the earth in all its glory with their majestic energy, only to slowly retreat and disappear into obscurity. Is it time to dust off the mantle pieces and bring the feminist movement back onto the agenda or leave them to stand still in the museums of the past?

 Every time I  walk into a meeting, a family gathering, a meeting at my toddler’s play group ,I observe the ramblings of the  “modern woman”  and her so called super power. Many modern women will tell you I can be a “ball buster in the boardroom but when I come home, I make sure my man has dinner, my children’s homework is done etc, etc.”

We lie to ourselves that we are making a conscious choice and that is what the goal of feminism is, “to ensure women are given choices and that’s the choice “I have made.” I have never heard a male ceo or executive, ever say once; this is the choice I have made.

In my opinion, the modern woman has become an extension of the 1950’s stereotypical housewife.  If  you have to ask the question whether it really is  a choice from the foundation of authentic emancipation or has her socialization through the patriarchal system made the choice for her  “to do it all and be it all.” 

Let us begin by analyzing the alleged “must do” for the so called modern woman who claim to be super woman and do it all. I acknowledge that there are exceptions to the generalizations listed below (I salute the men and woman who have managed to live outside the box of the generalization’ listed below). However  I don’t believe that the majority of women do not  make a conscious decision to behave in the manner listed below:-

1.    You want to be beautiful (meaning skinny). Must ensure that you pay weekly visits to beauty parlor, Botox, skin lightening, hair salon etc. to look good for your man and to defeat any competition that other woman bring to your power over beauty( which subconsciously is your way of supposedly controlling the men in your life cos supposedly men cannot resist a beautiful woman and her wants)

2.    You want be a great cook to keep your man happy or your man will find another woman to cook for him (either his mother or mistress rendering you not good enough).

3.     You want to raise a perfect multi talented child, make sure you build the motherly bond, and be the primary caregiver.

4.     You learn or try very desperately to keep your opinions in check to ensure your man’s ego remains on a high or he will cheat on you.

5.    You want to  be demure and feminine and sweet to in laws so you don’t upset the apple cart and ensure that you are a “good daughter in law”

6.      You want to be sexually confident or your man will be bored and venture outside your relationship.

7.    You want to break the glass ceiling at work.

 Does the foundation of this subconscious invisible belief system that seems to be present in our modern society really mean that women are making a conscious choice free from the duress of  society’s so called norm ( which is entrenched in patriarchy). Have you asked yourselves why do you harshly judge the mother who does not want to sacrifice her career for her child but not judge the father who travels extensively and works late hours, sacrificing his relationship with his child? 

Ask yourself why do you have this obsession with being a super woman? I believe it is entrenched in our psyche as woman because we have  been socialized with this propaganda that we can have the  supposed emancipation but as long as we remain the prodigal wife, mother and domestic goddess, then we are the perfect woman.

Any woman that falls out of this neatly labelled box is a lesbian, a slut, a bad mother, a weirdo, a bitch, a feminist, a lazy housewife so on and so on. This patriarchy system is fuelled and strengthened by the labels, the judgments, poverty, culture, the socialization of our girls and  it is unfortunately protected by our very own sisters.

We don’t want to identify with feminism because deep inside us, the little girl who was brought up in a patriarchy system with dreams of a perfect marriage, princess stories of knight in shining armour, feels threatened by the so called threat that this notion of true emancipation brings to the present cultural socialization of a family.

However feminism is the direct opposite, it embraces equally the freedom from gender stereotypes of woman thereby freeing men from the stereotypes of what a man should be his role and his purpose.

 I believe that feminism is very relevant .

We are not  presently making choices from real emancipation, if we are still asking what was the victim wearing, if we are still judging woman on roles that society has placed on her since the arrival of the first woman on earth, if our woman are still being raped, still earning lower salaries than their male counterparts, if woman are still living in poverty with no access to justice and rights afforded to them by the constitution, if we are scared to wear  clothes we want to wear because of  fear of been sexually harassed.

Feminism is very relevant. We may formulate a different version of the philosophy than our western sisters but let’s remember that feminism is relevant if we want our girl and boy children to grow into a world where making choices comes from the foundation of true emancipation. “A luta continua”

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