Has Feminism Actually Hurt Women's Ability to Choose Their Own Roles?

Rebecca Scarlett By Rebecca Scarlett, 16th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Daily Life

A disussion of how the feminism movement may have actually limited women's ability to define their own roles in life.

Has Feminism Actually Hurt Women's Abilities to Choose Their Own Roles?

At first, feminism seemed poised to be great. A huge shift in the zeitgeist, feminism energized women and helped them realize that the strictly defined gender role of a female could be cracked wide open. Smart women started to realize that what their inner voices had always told them was true: they could pursue higher education, they could be politicians or engineers, they did have ideas that were just as valid as their husbands' ideas were.
Women started to realize that they were not weak, frail, helpless creatures. It may be true that many women cannot lift as much weight as many men, but there are women out there capable of doing physical labour if they so choose, and women capable of earning a living as labourers or athletes. Women could push their bodies to the limit if they so chose, enjoying the feeling of falling into bed exhausted - not from the stress of ministering to crying children, but from physical or mental exertion.
And then, something happened. Suddenly, women were no longer allowed to choose. Suddenly women had to be everything they had always been, and be everything men had always been, as well, or they would have to feel inadequate and ashamed!
Today, a woman who chooses to stay at home and devote her life to her family in a traditional female role is seen as "lazy." It is assumed that she is too stupid or useless to hold down a decent job, or that she has no ambition of her own. In today's culture, everyone is supposed to pursue degrees and lucrative careers, and a woman who wants to have a family during her prime childbearing years, before conceiving becomes a struggle, is seen as taking the "easy way out." As inaccurate as this view is, because raising children to be responsible, independent, successful, and well-mannered while at the same time taking care of house and spouse is a full-time job and almost a lost art, it is widely held.
So many women decide to pursue post-secondary education, and a high-powered career. Society pressures women to get the high marks, get the good job, bring home just as much money as (if not more than) a man, and be fulfilled doing it. Of course, if a woman succeeds in all of these things, her very femininity is called into question. She is rumoured to be a lesbian (offensive to all women, both hetero- and homosexual) and is thought to be "weird" because she doesn't give into the ticking of her biological clock and have children. Her success is threatening to men, who supposedly aren't attracted to women who can best them in one or more areas. She is assumed to be too "manly" to be attractive.
So the successful woman is also forced to do what no man has to: waste a ridiculous amount of time in the morning so that she can go to her job, no matter how physically difficult it may be, looking like wax sculpture that has never seen a day or work or stress in her life. She must spend inordinate amounts of time and money to look like a vision from a fantasy: perfect body, perfect face, perfect clothing. Not too sexy, or else she is a worthless whore, but not too demure, or she risks being labelled threatening, a lesbian, etc.
So, women, have a full-time job that pays as much as your husband's. Have his children, and manage to raise them properly, keep the house impeccably neat, and have dinner on the table by the time your husband gets home, even though you work the same hours as he does. Get up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym and complete the beauty rituals that keep you looking as close to a teenager as you can, because society demands nothing less. If you're keeping track, that's three full-time jobs. A woman's chosen career, housekeeper/nanny, and actress (because those who are in front of the camera do have to work at fitness, nutrition, and make-up full time to look they way they do, and women are expected to be that flawless.)
Feminism, once praised as the beginning of choice for women, has accomplished the opposite. By insisting on proving to the world all the different things they are capable of, women have not won the right to choose their role, but instead have been forced to perform all roles - and perform each as if it were the only role they have.

Tags

Feminism, Stay At Home Mom

Meet the author

author avatar Rebecca Scarlett
Rebecca Scarlett is a professional freelance writer with over 14 years of experience. She writes articles, essays, blogs, short stories, plays, poetry, songs, novels, and does copy editing. She has been published in print and extensively online. Scar...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Sarah
12th Nov 2012 (#)

I could not agree more and all of this really needs to be said.

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author avatar Retired
14th May 2013 (#)

Very powerful. Keep up the work my friend, we need more writers like you. I'll continue to follow your writings as you do the same for me. Thanks

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