Posted by: Leah | March 18, 2012

On Feminism

I have heard multiple times that a woman is a fragile flower that needs to be protected, otherwise she will become too distressed or unstable. Following this logic a woman is not a flower, but a squirrel, who when left hungry or unsatisfied will destroy your garden and bite you. Thus, it is better to keep her pleased and quiet.
Life does not work the same way for me. The idea of a fragile flower is likely to have come from England and France where upper class women wore tight dresses with corsets, and having a period could easily send them to bed for a week. These women had servants, so they did not have to be strong or do anything productive.
Unlike them, my great grandmother lived in a village, had several cows and horses, a garden, worked in the field, had to carry drinking water to her house all the way from the river, did all her laundry with her hands (no washing machines back then), had four kids, and when her husband left her for some other woman after war did all work everywhere by herself. She wasn’t a fragile flower. She might have not been the most sophisticated woman, but she is definitely a role model for me.

The idea of a woman being something fragile and extra special hits actually guys back more than they realize. IF I am a nervous unbalanced flower, then he should be careful not to make me upset, distressed or displeased (I may throw a tantrum), and if he does he will have to buy lots of flowers and jewelry to make me happy again. Yes, satisfaction with life and career normally do not enter this picture.

Sounds funny to you, right? How about I say that there are still many cultures that follow this pattern and even in North American families this is not something unusual.

Let’s consider a different situation, what if I am not a fragile flower but a human being with my own morals, beliefs, dreams and accomplishments? In this case, believe me or not unfortunately some men get really confused: what does she mean she can make her own choices? How do I keep her happy (not with expensive restaurants and diamonds but with accepting who she is? Really????) The pattern is very different and often new.

Of course, I have exaggerated the scenarios a tad, but what I am trying to say -is that if a woman is an equal human being who makes her life choices, her influence will go a long way and many generations ahead – as in the case with my great grandmother. Fragile flowers do not necessarily influence – they faint, cry and get heart attacks, and we definitely do not want that.

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