Not Just any Ism
© 1998 Holly Sundstrom
Feminism or the women's rights movement was originally started to help women attain equality in the legal systems, justice systems and employment systems. Often when a a woman was in a situation where she had to work (e.g. she had been abandoned, was unmarried, not cared for economically, her husband was deceased) she and her children could not survive economically if they could not find a man to help provide support. This often left women in situations which could be mentally, physically and psychologically compromising...such as in the case of abuse of the woman and/or her children.
Feminism or the women's rights movement had objectives such as helping women obtain equal pay for the equal amount of work or labor that a man did. Under the older systems women were subjected to lower pay even if or when they worked right along side men. This made it extremely difficult for a woman to survive without depending on a man or many men to help support her and any children she may have had. This led to intolerable living conditions for many women and children. This opened up the ability to abuse a woman as her survival may depend economically upon any male who would be willing or able to help support her economically. This also placed her children in a similar position.
At one time before the women's suffragete movements, women's rights movements, and the women's liberation movement the job opportunities for women were often limited to very socially unacceptable positions or lower paying jobs such as prostitute, stripper, maid, laundress, wet nurse or nursing. As women began to speak up against sexual discrimination the opportunities for women improved, their work conditions improved, and their pay improved. Such that a women, if able to obtain an equal job, would recieve the same amount of pay for the same work. The problem which remained and often still remains today was being able to obtain such work.
Blaming Men/Hatred of Men
Men do not create all the situations that women endure...it is also mothers and fathers along with society who set the role models that children tend to learn and emulate. To blame all men for what has transpired in the past is incorrect. To punish or hate all men for any abuse a woman has recieved at the hands of a man is to ignore the fact that it was one specific man. I myself have had a few bad encounters with males as I have with females in different situations. For me to hate all women for what one woman or many women have done to me is unfair to all women. For me to hate all men for what one man or many men did to me is unfair to all men. This can further be extended to any animal, human, business, or entity. Granted often the majority of people have problems which sometimes can hurt or interfere in life we are overall responsible for our own lives and the choices we make. I have known many wonderful men as much as I have known many terrible men. The same for women. But in general the majority are about the middle to good. Not too many extremely good or extremely bad men or women have I met. Before I go further into bad or good I would like to explain that it is not so much that a person is bad or good it is that they have some habits or behaviors that are a problem for me as they are not behaviors or habits I find unacceptable. I am sure at some time the same has been thought of me.
Reversal of Ignorances
For women to take on the same behaviors they felt they endured such as unequal treatment, unequal pay, unequal treatment in courts of law (such as having ones past history introduced into court and not anothers based on gender) is incorrect. Whatever a man or a woman can have introduced in a court case/or allows another human being to be subjected to sets the precedence for both genders. Would any woman want her son to be unequally treated in court such that someone of the opposite gender would have an unequal advantage? Would any man want his daughter to be unequally treated in court such that someone of the opposite gender would have an unequal advantage? Would any man or woman want thier daughter or son to be unequally treated in court such that someone of the same or opposite gender would have an unequal advantage? Keep in mind what ever is acceptable in the eyes of society and the law may one day be applicable to you some day you may end up on the side where injustice and inequality which is transpiring possibly because you helped create such a situation or tolerated it.
Feminism was meant to improve the life conditions of working women, married women, single women, gay women and any women when it comes to equal treatment in working conditions, living conditions, and in legal situations. Today when a woman goes to jail for a violent crime (even in self defense) her jail sentence will usually be two to three times as long as that for a man. A woman whose husband beat her, broke her bones, slashed her with razors, and beat her worse if she tried to get away was put into jail for life when she finally killed him. She finally snapped when he began telling her he was dreaming of having sex with thier preschool daughter. The women and men in the state of Florida when prompted by the newspapers wrote to the governor such that her case was reviewed and she was released from prison. During the time she spent in jail she earned a Bachelors degree. Most men who have beaten or even killed a woman they have been involved with are usually not given a life sentence with no chance of parole. Many do not go to jail until after they have killed the woman they have been abusing and the law was most often aware of such occurring. At one time before the women's movements and advancement of women could be beaten, women could be sold, their children could be beaten, children could be sold, and women or children could be murdered with very little chance for legal recourse or action. This is still very common in third world countries which have not sought to improve the lives of women and children.
Every time a woman or a man says she cannot do that she is not a boy/man or he cannot do that he is not a girl/woman they loose a little bit that may have helped a girl or boy grow up with a greater capability to help their companions or understand them better. These things help with relationships. Playing with a truck does not make a girl gay or not feminine. Three of the most feminine women I know played with trucks, cars and/or motorcycles when they were little girls. Several of the most masculine men I know are better mothers than the wives that left them and their children. As long as it is physically possible then there is no reason that a female or male, girl or boy, man or a woman not be allowed to do what the other person does. A boy when allowed to play with a doll as a child can better help his children and relate to them when he has children of his own. A girl when allowed to play with trucks may be more apt to want to help her companion drive a truck to move furniture long distances or when they travel in vacation. When I drove a 5 ton and 2 1/2 ton truck at work I was extremely feminine and definitely heterosexual - More so than one female who was a secretary at my company where I drove a truck. Job categories do not determine ones preferences with companionship. I know of one female doctor who is married to a male cook who owns his own business. They get along splendidly based on mutual respect, love and caring.
What is Equality Really?
Part of the reason males and female were seperated was based on many older sociological issues such as: Wanting to keep males and femalse from becoming physically interactive at very young ages so that they would have more time to become better prepared as young adults both mentally, physically and economically to raise and have children. People had many children at one time because childhood mortality and mortality in general was very high, also there was no way to control having children based on lack of knowledge/ability. As a woman was constantly pregnant or breast feeding it would have been econmically and physically impossible for her to work at a steady job. In the hunter gatherer societies the men would go out into the wilderness to hunt or fight, and the women would remain in the villages to raise children, tend crops, and take care of the villages. As society has moved from a hunter gatherer society to an agrarian society then to a working class society the roles of women and men have been changing and adjusting.
The issues of equality were not based on things such as women should act and behave as men or that women should be men or that women were better than men. It was not based on if a man wears a jock strap then a woman should be able to. From what I can tell we do not have the physiology which mandates a need for a jock strap anymore than a man has the physiological needed for a bra. As to utilizing a urinal my body is not designed for such and I have no desire to do such. As to sharing a lavatory facility with the opposite gender I have no desire to do so even if it is practised in many countries...as it is I prefer a private lavatory and prefer to not share it with any company or either gender - so I can understand if someone feels uncomfortable if it is based on gender. But if there is only one facility available it would seem logical for it to be available to both genders regardless of original intent.
Just as much as women needed and need to be liberated so do men. In many ways it seems a shame women have been liberated in many ways but men still have to behave like men or be seen as not being a man. This means that women are not getting the benefits of men being allowed to sociologically have some of the finer attributes that make a relationship better, such as emotions, compasion and caring. To me these are artificial behaviors and rules. The best men I have known are very very caring, comitted, loving, kind, gentle, excellent nuturing parents, and great companions to the women they have chosen to have relationships with.
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The trees and flowers in the background image were created using a Sierra JPG. Sierra can be found on the internet. The front female I created using Adobe Photoshop.