It's a miracle I got into feminism, actually. I was raised by a single mother (in the late 80's, in Asia
, where the culture tended to encourage calling our whole family a disgrace,) and I all her superstitions led her to expect me to be a boy. She didn't tell me this in a "should have called the midwife to strangle you with your umbilical cord and present you as a stillbirth" way, but more in a "isn't that so funny? You could have been an emotionally stunted potential rapist! Haha!" -- she didn't have a good relationship with either my biological father, or any of her boyfriends before him, or even with my maternal grandfather. So, when I was older and we would watch television, something for girl-bonding time, like Sex and the City
, and she would loudly proclaim that everything that went wrong in every relationship shown was the fault of men because they're men... I would actually be personally wounded, because I often wondered what would happen if I'd been born a boy, and didn't think that the content of my character would be all that different at all. I would look at my mother and think, feminism has gone too far.
Now I realize that my mother was no feminist. Real feminism recognizes that men are equal to women, as much as women are equal to men. Not only that, but that women are equal to women-- that the choice for one woman to be a housewife and mother, versus another woman to work and live childfree, are both valid-- it's not feminism that took away the former option from women, but it gave women the freedom to choose something else, and even for men to be househusbands and stay-at-home fathers if they wanted.
And even with my family being in this little bubble of matriarchy, I've eventually experienced-- and, well, suffered-- things that have been best explained by feminist social theories. I've never been raped, thank goodness, but my classmates would threaten to do that if I said anything that they didn't like-- and, because they were boys, I never had anything of the same impact with which to retort. My sister knew this, but ignored it just to say things like, "I can understand no boyfriends-- I mean, just look
at you-- but no crushes? What else is wrong with you?" And I never understood why that rubbed me wrong, and called her boy-crazy and slut-shamed her in hopes that she would just shut up. Thanks to feminism, I realized that everything she told me held the undercurrent of that being an accessory for a man was all I was really good for. And that a part of me believed her. After being able to articulate this, I could get over myself and be more constructive.
The most difficult and valuable lesson I've learned was boundaries. What's my problem to deal with, that is really nobody else's business? What underhanded offenses can I ignore/forgive and just let go, because it's the other person's problem-- not mine? I've read and treasured articles by Erin Pavlina and Anna Conlan, who learned to set boundaries the hard way, through trials as professional psychics and personal conflicts as empaths. Feminist social theory analyzes how the boundaries of women specifically are regularly violated, and how even women just take that for granted as our right to do even though it's ill-founded. Building a strong foundation for boundaries based on deconstructing this sexist culture, allowed for the principle, the skill of respecting boundaries, to apply to everything else.
Originally Posted by Dimitri
What I'm interested in is why this subject is still relevant and why some people who live in North America insist that women are still being discriminated. That's no excuse to use for something that you can't do. If you live in North America, women can do just as much as they put their minds to.
Not completely. I think North American women enjoy a lot of rights that women in many other countries are deprived (such as not being set on fire just because your dowry's too low.)
But rape is still, for the most part, a gender-based hate crime
(with 1 in 33 men having experienced sexual assault, while 1 in 6 women have experienced sexual assault,
) this non-YouTube link says more of the same
, a lot of careers have this "glass ceiling" thing to them (like this interview with two supreme court justices
, being asked how many female supreme court justices were "enough" -- I think that's the kind of question you ask in professions that see gender first, not competence. Not to mention the perils of serving in the military if one identifies as female
North America can not say that they've fully achieved real gender equality and can stop now. There's a lot to be done, still.