Jag har länge märkt att feminismen är död eller döende. Feminismen, som jag själv brukade gilla, ledde till att män och kvinnor började bekriga varandra om minsta lilla sak. Bad en man sin fru om något, så såg hon det som att han försökte vinna ett slag i det urgamla kriget mellan könen. Gav hon med sig, så hade hon förlorat det hon och andra generationer slagits för.
Man förstod och förstår inte att det gäller att ge och ta. Jag dör inte av att göra någon en tjänst eller göra något fint åt min partner. Här kommer en artikel skriven av en australiensiska, den är på engelska men ger några bra exempel på hur även feminister börjat ifrågasätta feminismen.
While women were once proud to loudly associate themselves with the fight for genuine equality between the genders, those of younger generations have been less eager than expected to take up the mantle.
Or at least to take said mantle in the same direction.
The reason for feminism’s unpopularity seems to be the straitlaced stigma of the word.
Feminism is associated with a dour and comprehensive agenda of concerns. There is negotiation of fair salaries, the tragically unequal status of women in less-developed nations, reproductive rights, the trafficking of women for sex work … and the list continues.
Younger women, on the other hand, tend to be distracted by the glamour and rhetoric of sexual freedom already achieved for them by previous waves of reformers.
At the forefront of this movement are trend-setting celebrities like Lady Gaga, a New York pop singer best known for performing in outfits akin to knickers and heels.
Her appearance is aggressively sexual and in control, like many a male rock star. She has also attracted attention for her blatant rejection of feminism. In a recent interview she said: “I’m not a feminist – I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars.”
In another interview, she equated feminism with man-hating. “I think it’s great to be a sexy, beautiful woman who can f— her man after she makes him dinner. There’s a stigma around feminism that’s a little bit man-hating. And I don’t promote hatred, ever.” Her take on what it does and doesn’t mean to be a strong woman these days is not unique.
It’s a common perception among young women that feminism will be unpopular with men or is somehow anti-men.
There has always been a tension between the pleasure to be found in femininity and the efforts necessary to achieve equality. Femininity seems to have captured more interest since young women who have grown up with the privilege of opportunities fought for by older generations now often prefer to be seen as sexy rather than progressive.
On the other hand, older generations of women are apparently renouncing this rebranding of feminism. World-renowned feminist and author of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, recently confessed: “I don’t know if I am a feminist.” This one-line answer sounds bad but came in a more complicated context in which she questioned the direction and breadth of the interests currently commanding feminism.
The British national treasure and actress, Judi Dench, said: “No, I wouldn’t call myself a feminist at all really. I don’t know what a feminist is.” Fay Weldon, who once immortalised the she-devil in her bestselling novel, now tells women to stop nagging men to clean up after themselves. Clean “the loo” and pick up men’s socks, she says, because then we’ll all be happier.
These famous feminists with sudden misgivings still support the rights of women to have opportunities that equal those available to men (although Fay Weldon might be off on her own tangent), but questions remain about the direction and point of feminism.
It was therefore a timely reminder when an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman’s office revealed that Australian women asking for maternity leave are at risk of being frozen out of their workplaces.
Some new mothers who are being granted maternity leave find the office rearranged in their absence so that it becomes impossible for them to return. Their jobs have been filled or made unrecognisable and unwelcoming while they have been faffing about with the business of breastfeeding and expanding the nation.
The issue under investigation here is not a paid maternity leave scheme, which will be available to Australian women in 2011 – just a reasonable amount of time taken off from work to deal with the birth of a child.
Sexual liberation was a vital aspect of the feminist movement. It is an essential, wonderful freedom. But the current emphasis on the glitz of sex and image is a distraction.
Obstacles remain to equality and the new brand of feminism must prioritise social justice concerns such as the need to protect maternity leave. One need only follow the career path of Hillary Clinton to see that females in positions of power still face particular scrutiny.
As well, survey after survey reveal salaries among men and women in corporate jobs to be uneven and now and then women still get fired for trying to start a family.