I’ve been interested in feminism all my life; my mother was a teacher and talked about how she would go on political marches and feminism rallies in her youth. She showed an interest in women’s rights and chose not to wear a bra at one point in her life; this made me and my sister giggle when we were children.
From a young age, my peers told me I should grow up and have children. The thought of you not having them was not something people would be open about in conversation. In the 1980s, women started to find themselves and found some confidence. That meant having some independence and choosing the types of employment they wanted to do, rather than just doing the three Cs. (Cooking, Cleaning and Caring). I remember not wanting to do the three C’s from an early age but not knowing how to get a job that wasn’t this. I had no one I could talk to, and the internet wasn’t around those days.
The changing point
Back then, I had very low esteem, and it was crippling and stopped me from doing most things in life – such as socialising. A light bulb moment came to me when I came across a lady from Manchester who talked confidently and didn’t do the usual things girls do – such as gossiping. I decided I wanted to be a woman like her that had self-confidence and intelligence. I decided if I wanted to be a particular type of person, all I needed to do, was to act this way repeatedly, and at some point, I would become that person. I started to take an interest in learning and reading and aimed for the stars.
That also meant I had to treat everyone how I would like to get treated myself. I also decided not to lie and kept myself away from people who put me down. It also meant the type of employment I should go for needed to fulfil me and make me feel good about myself.
Some men are very shallow and presume ‘all’ women want in life is to find a partner and have children. That’s not true, yes, I wanted children, but I also wanted to be a woman my children could admire.
In the 80s and 90s, you would hear people being very harsh on mothers and how they should look. If they couldn’t keep slim and maintain a pleasant appearance with nice hair, nails and clothes, they were looked at as failers and would be pushed to the side socially.
Surely there must be a way of getting women to spend money but not wholely on their image, as it seems to be the most important thing for the UK media. Why can’t they change and focus more on sports, art and literature? It must be heartbreaking when your partner goes off you because you don’t look like all the media pictures.
Overview of a females life
Having a partner and children is just one aspect of a woman’s life; this seems to work for some happy women working in the care/cooking/cleaning sectors and being homemakers. But not all women are like this, and they shouldn’t feel forced into doing something they don’t want to do, and this applies to men too – but that’s another story.
So for those women who want something different, what are their options? It’s minimal, unless they have wealth and support, to become professional or further their university education. Otherwise, you’re forced into the three Cs or getting into debt to pay for a university degree. Incidentally, poor women who want babies early in their lives will need a husband who earns enough to let them find a career they will enjoy.
The choices women have in a capitalist society.
I don’t think capitalism works for women full stop. As far as I can see, women are the same as men; they have dreams and aspirations and want to live a life fully and have children. I can see that feminism in a capitalist world only works for wealthy women. It works as she pays to get a life that she wants that involves children, independence and a career.
In the “new feminist world” that we live in (apparently), women can now work, but what type of work is she offered? There’s no feminism for poor women, as her life option is a career that involves the three Cs and working for free effectively where she is looking after the home and managing things. I’m not saying it’s any better for poor men, as they have extended hours too and little pay, but generally, the women do most of the work at the home. I’m also not saying that it’s as bad as when the suffragettes had to fight for their rights, but I think there is a still long way to go.
The problem shouldn’t be considered a women’s problem as the issue affects men too. This problem affects men regarding what they get paid as a wage. Because as far as I can see, as soon as women fought to have some rights and be able to work and earn a salary and not be reliant on men. It was when the poor men’s wages stagnated, and a woman’s wage became essential as a man’s wage didn’t pay enough for a roof over a family’s head. Now, women have to work as a man’s salary doesn’t stretch enough to allow a woman to stay home and care for their family. So in effect, the man is now earning less than he did many years ago, as back then, a woman could stay at home, and the man could afford to let her do this.
So do I think feminism is a good thing?
Yes, as it’s helping women’s self-esteem, there’s still a stigma about what people think women and men should do in their lives. David Attenborough once said, ‘if women worldwide could do what they wanted, with their bodies, without being told to marry and have children. There would be fewer people on the planet, which would lead to a better world and environment’. You will notice the more sexist a country is, the more that the country wants its women to be producing babies, as the government has aspirations to become more wealthy. If a government wants a larger population, this gives the country more cannon fodder for its wars and more workers to improve its infrastructure.
So how does this move forward to something more positive?
A woman can have everything if she has a good education and earns money that pays for nursing, cleaning, etc. That’s the direction we give our kids, which is false hope. This hope for many women is just a dream and won’t happen for many of them.
‘Feminism’ shouldn’t just be one option; feminism should be about women getting the support and help they need to live a rich and fore-filling life and raise children. Karl Marx refers to women and their labour and suggests that the state pays for child support, similar to the NHS. I think there’s something good in that idea as it should be the country’s responsibility to bring up children that are well-rounded individuals.