Today, some people were discussing a feminist version of Cinderella. Pretty cool! There was talk about Cinderella saving the Prince instead of the other way around, which was just great. And then the old refrain cried out about why does she even NEED a prince?
Why does anyone need anyone? And why is it so important for some feminists to hide so many feminine things? All women are different, but it seems that to be a feminist, you need to not be feminine. Why should we cheer on the female soldier, but scorn the stay at home mother?
Why are we ashamed of feminine traits? If we put that out there as the feminist message, then aren’t we saying that those traits are weak, shameful, undesirable? Why is loving someone, nurturing, cooking, looking ‘pretty’, liking the arts, negative? For starters, they are not female only traits, but to say they are negative is just another way to devalue not just women, but women’s work.
Sure, I want equal pay for equal work. It’s a matter of human rights, a moral issue. But I also think that we need to place a greater value on “women’s work”, such as teaching, nursing, administrative work. We need to respect the work that those who do not have a paying job spend their time on every day. We’re volunteering at the schools your children go to. We’re raising money for the organizations you support. We’re running households, our own small businesses in many respects. How is that not as feminist as working as a lawyer or doctor? (Let’s hear them say “truck driver” — no, females should only aspire for men’s white collar jobs, not blue collar ones, another issue entirely.)
If we start by devaluing some traits that many women share, scorning them, rejecting them, then we are rejecting not just our sisters, but ourselves. We’re saying women are not as valuable as men. We’re saying women should be men to be equal. I say we should elevate women, not try to suppress the ones that don’t hold up to some sort of male standard of behavior. I am not ashamed of being a woman, and still believe in equal rights for women, which is what feminism is. You can be different and equal. You can be yourself AND still be important, equal, valued. That’s how it should be.