Yesterday was International Women's day and tomorrow is Mother's Day, so with that in mind I have decided to reflect on women's current social situation, in recent times I have become concerned by the way women's equality seems to have been subtly eroding in our society. In spite of the work many amazing women have done for women's rights and women's liberation throughout history women are still discriminated against and their status devalued in the most insidious of ways. I listened to a radio interview with Columnist Hadley Freeman yesterday and it really struck a chord with me.
Her objection is to the use of the word "mum" or "mummy" as a prefix to many words for example entrepreneur (mumtrepreneur) suggests that the only source of value that an entrepreneurial mother might have is in the fact that she is a mother, as if her entire identity is defined by the fact she is a mother and nothing else. Motherhood is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon any woman and to talk about it in this way is demeaning, there is even a hint of surprise in the words as if *shock horror* a woman who is a mother can do other things apart from care for children, or even, in the case of the acronym MILF that a mother might actually be attractive!
Here is a link to the really interesting interview:
I am also a bit concerned by the current fad for an idealised 1950's lifestyle with the woman grinning inanely with a home made cake and a Cath Kidston apron. It's as is we have gone back in time. I obviously don't object to women staying at home to look after their children, it's what I am currently doing after all, what I dislike is the image of the subordinate woman with no brain, and of course the fact that in the 1950's the lifestyle was not a choice but more an expectation, where as my staying home is a choice amongst several options open to me.
There has also been a trend for denouncing feminism which boggles my mind a little. I think some women want to disassociate themselves from an incorrect stereotype of a feminist which they perceive to be butch, aggressive and a man-hater, of course the definition of feminism is about equality for women (who doesn't want this right?) , I wish more women realised this. This again comes back to choice, something which feminists strongly defend. I recently have read several blog posts and newspaper articles which criticise women for their choice for full term breastfeeding (breastfeeding for 2 years or more) this blog post from renegade mothering explains it much better than me and this one. (I have more to say on the subject of breastfeeding actually since reading The Politics of Breastfeeding.) Actually she just writes better than me generally, what I particularly hate is women criticising other women for their choices, now that is messed up. I know this blog is supposed to be about everything beautiful blah blah blah, but today I feel annoyed. So back to the point, now we are attacking each other!! That really is messed up, can't we let women choose their choices and let them be happy?
So to summarise this slightly chaotic and angry blog post, over this weekend that celebrates women in all their forms can we start to accept women for who they are and stop trying to change them into what we think they should be?