I was brought up in a world where women called fixing a hinge “mans work”, and believed men were ‘gentlemen’ if they opened a door for a woman.
I was also brought up in a world where feminism exists.
I was brought up surrounded by women who protest about the injustice of being oppressed, while telling their husbands to do their ‘job’ and fix the boiler.
Is it just me, or is there a double standard?
Women cannot be ‘autonomous’, and a ‘powerless victim’ simultaneously.
We have to choose- and I choose independence.
I believe that some women hide behind their stereotypes, and perhaps don’t fully comprehend how much further it prevents women from achieving equality.
The uncountable times I have heard women ask ‘who’s the man in this relationship?’ After they put up a shelf or fixed a tap.
Why is this ‘mans work’?
The last time I checked, women are intelligent and are more than capable to hammer in a screw; the association with men and strength does not mean that women don’t have muscle of their own.
My own mother fits into this type of ‘pseudo-feminism’, claiming that she will never be dominated by a male, or fit the stereotype of a woman.
Yet the first thing she taught me was to have pride in my appearance, and never leave the house without looking presentable; I cannot recall a time where she encouraged me to develop a rounded personality.
Indeed, she also encouraged her daughters to ‘marry a rich man’ when we got older. Even at a young age, I wondered why she didn’t encourage me to earn my own living, or trust in my ability to succeed without a man.
Through her off-hand, and often humorous comments, my mother -and other women like her- are unwittingly stagnating the ability for women to become independent.
The very definition of feminism is ‘equality of the sexes’- how can equality be achieved when women themselves set boundaries for ‘what women do’ and ‘what men do’?
I felt the need to write this blog, because I have read many articles which blame males for restriciting women. I am certainly not excusing the role of men in preventing women from achieving autonomy- indeed I recognise the highly patriarchal and mysogynistic society in which we live.
However, I also believe that some women themselves can be the instrument of the destruction of feminism. We have to stop creating boundaries and stereotypes for both genders- only then can true equality be achieved.
Featured image: http://theprincetontory.com/main/contemporary-feminism-fighting-false-enemies-2/