Thursday, 20 August 2015

Confessions of an Egalitarian

In his brave Edinburgh show, journalist, poet and wit, Lloyd Evans, opines that the most offensive thing you can say to a feminist is: 'Congratulations, you've won!'
You can do what you want, go where you want and be who you want (ie: what more do you want?).

I have been mulling over this ever since. I take his point that the point about a cause is that it should seek to obsolete itself, not turn into an entity in its own right which then has a territory to preserve and this has also previously crossed my mind.

For example if Cancer Research ever succeeds in finding a cure, you would expect them to close their offices and start refusing any further donations within days. You would hope the same with Oxfam, once they had solved world hunger, etc.

And yet it seems that causes really do prefer to become permanent entities and fixtures in our lives rather than seeing it as their moral duty to bring an end to the need for their existence, and as quickly and efficiently as possible. Rather, they seem to expand and expand with more and more highly-paid staff who appear to do less and less, except find ways to keep their jobs going indefinitely.

And I am still not entirely convinced that feminism is any more preferable to chauvinism as neither gender claiming superiority over (or denigrating) the other equates to equality, much though I acknowledge that the female race was once so disadvantaged that we did need a campaigning vehicle to 're-advantage' it. However in this country I think those days are gone and an individual should get a job because they are the the right person for the job rather than to fill an artificial gender quota, irrespective of their fitness for a role. Some disastrous female appointments have ensued, which just make our gender look bad. Then again there have been disastrous male appointments throughout history, so how bad should we really feel?

One curious fact that Mr Evans neglected to use in his show is that 'being female' has now become desirable enough for increasing numbers of men to undertake surgery to become us! Imagine that happening in Victorian times (even if the surgical expertise existed), when women were but the property of men, with even the wealthiest living lives of unbelievable societal and professional stricture. We were corsetted in more ways than one!

I am a grateful recipient of all the suffragettes and feminists have achieved since those days, enabling me to have total freedom of expression, the vote and all the opportunities and choices I now enjoy. I for one, am happy and content. The only person who has held me back in my life is me and that is a fact of the past now.

As for other countries, is it our business to act as if we were still an empire and dictate to them how they should run their society? Or is it up to the women of each society to do what the women of Great Britain had to do to win what human freedoms they seek? I have so many qualms about us interfering in the affairs of other nations, no matter that I might disagree on a personal level with how they run their countries and treat their citizens.


Wisewebwoman said...

H'm Laura, violence against women by men has increased (or become more visible) in the last few decades and many attribute this to the availability of horrific porn on line. In Canada and the US for sure. I don't know the stats in England.

Also trafficking of women is now generating close to a trillion dollars so women and girl children still viewed as commodities for the consumption of men.

I see regression everywhere in the status of women. Particularly in my extended family of young 'uns. I look at the percentage of women in parliament here and want to weep.

I think it a far, far deeper issue - sorry to take up so much space here but I have written extensively on the topic.


The Poet Laura-eate said...

Hi WWW. I agree that the rise of hard-core pornography at the click of a mouse or phone has had a deeply corrosive effect on society.
But actually the most domestic and sexual abuse is still precipitated by drink or drug abuse, which is just as dangerous in regressing our society, particularly as all these elements become increasingly normalised and mainstream (not to mention, fatal when combined!).
However I do not see it as being the job of women alone to protest against the regression of civilised society - it is all our jobs, male and female, to wake up and smell the coffee and stop making excuses for substance abuse/abusers and stop pretending it's ok to allow young girls to feel they have to dress and behave like porn stars or submit to sexual bullying.
We still have plenty of boys being raised as 'little emperors' too with a false sense of entitlement who believe they can do no wrong, which also sets a dangerous precedent for their adult future.
The message going out needs to be 'Heppiness and success lies in mutual respect and not using addictions as an excuse or crutch.'

Steve said...

Believing we have the right to interfere in the business of other nations - and to cherry pick what we do and do not interfere with - has brought only war and strife; never ever peace or equality.

Anne Roy said...

I am depressed to read that violence against women is increasing. Who raised these men? One cannot blame the drink either. I have 5 adult nephews, all married & when they drink they become more affectionate & sentimental. They were fortunate to have been raised in happy homes with parents who always stood together, especially about making decisions about the children.

As for on-line porn, I know a man who said when he first got internet access (back in '96) he went to look for naked women but soon tired if it, mostly he said because he knew they were right there & also because he started to think about his two daughters.