In 2020. What does it mean to be female? To be a woman?
Our mother’s and grandmothers have bravely fought for our position in society. Whether it be to be educated, to vote, to work. The battle to stop abuse is still very much being fought as is the battle to be paid equally to our male colleagues. I am a grateful recipient of this monumental bravery and effort by the women who have come before me.
But I’ve noticed a problem.
We have been trying to value ourselves by emulating traditional male roles in society. And in doing so, have we devalued the traditional role of female’s? To grow life, birth life, sustain life, create strong homes for mental and physical foundations, to provide food and clean clothes, to create a community, a social network, to catch everyone when they fall, to pick up the pieces and rebuild. To provide constant love, support. To create and sustain a home.
I love that we have a choice. I have personally, as have almost all of my peers had the opportunity to choose our life. What I, and most of my friends have chosen though, is to (try) to do it all. Which has, inevitably left us feeling incredibly tired and guilty. Tired because it’s impossible, and guilty because it’s impossible to do everything well.
I wonder if instead of fiercely trying to prove our worth and value by taking on roles traditionally held by men - we instead had been able to shift community thinking to simply value the traditional role of women. To consider that in fact the main job in the household, and in life, is being done at home. That the support person is actually the person leaving the house to be paid.
I think we had/have to get attention by proving we have the brainpower, the ability, the guts to do anything a man can. We had to stamp our feet, wave our bra’s, go to war (sometimes literally), so we can now say - “Hey! We’re not second rate citizens because we are awesome at bringing life to the world and nurturing that life. Yes it’s an unpaid and therefore undervalued position in society, but we’re doing it not because we can’t do anything else but because it is The Most Important Job in The World!”
I guess I’m saying, maybe feminism needs to keep going, maybe the real goal of feminism is to come full circle. Not to try and be men, but to recognise that we are different - and that means we have to grow and birth and feed the next generation. Maybe the goal of feminism needs to be: To uphold the role of a woman as giver of life, nurturer of life and (if she chooses) home-maker and caregiver. That way, women really do have freedom. The freedom to choose, and be respected and valued for either choice.
And if the role of caregiver and homemaker is seen as The Most Important Job in the World, then maybe more men would try to do it, just like we’ve been desperately trying to do jobs outside the home. And maybe. . . that’s what equality looks like.
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