Does modern femininity strike you as schizophrenic? On one side we have the leftover feminists, a dying breed still doggedly insisting to be taken seriously and failing miserably. Their opponents, ladies having come down from their brief taste of freedom brought to you by sexual revolt, are now reclaiming their roots as delicate flowers to be admired and handled gently. This is exemplified by former new woman icon Sara Jessica Parker. Remember those heady days Mrs. Parker and crew assured women everywhere that it was OK to be as brash and vulgar as men, to sleep around and carouse, and to sow those wild oats on Sex and the City? Parker opted out of the revolution and now is a proud stay at home mom. Apparently she was unable to further the feminist agenda via casual sex.
I could have told you this along time ago. Casual sex is no revolution. Any woman can throw on hooker heels and stalk their male prey through seedy bars and the wastelands of night life. But come morning, these ladies are still prostrate under ancient mores regarding love, sex, and gender. Once the novelty of anonymous fucking wore off, it was business as usual. Women went back to pining for their uninterested lovers, labeling each other sluts and whore for their indiscretions, and thusly passed on these values to their daughters.
Itís unfortunate that women are still held to ridiculous and impossible standards. Here we have the whore, a woman who sleeps around. She must hate herself. Here we have the bitch, a tyrannical frigid female who has forsaken family to pursue her career. She must be miserable. Here we have the loving wife and mother, unstable and incomplete, as evidenced by various maternal breakdowns peppering the news every so often (i.e. Andrea Yates, Susan Smith). Here is an ugly woman, she is worthless. Here is a pretty one, she is empty. And so on. Women are not afforded the luxury of being more than the sum of their parts.
Whenever the problem of modern womanhood arises, the usual suspects are trotted out. Pop culture is to blame, as are fashion models, leering men, gender discrimination. This is not the problem. The problem lies in the what women collectively value, what goals they pursue and what they expect out of life. Letís stop blaming mankind for our problems. An anorexic model in Milan has no control over you. A glossy, ad filled magazine is incidental. A man leering at you does not make you an object. Leering men serve to further the human race. If man did not leer at woman, you or I might not be here right now.
Women go from one authoritarian relationship to another. Little girls are told by their parents to find a husband who will take care of them, to birth little dollies who will love them unconditionally. Some women go through their entire lives being looked after and cared for, and many balk at the notion that they must be responsible for themselves. They accept what they cannot do, and yet feel obliged to special treatment. When most women speak of being treated equally, what they really mean to say is better.
Women occupy a fantastic position. They are not beholden to machismo and alpha male posturing. They are not at the behest of their hormones. They can maintain the balance between emotion and reason so crucial to social evolution. They posses a sensitivity that many men (for whatever reasons) do not. Yet we squander it all in the name of what? Celebrities? Clothing? Soap operas? Make up? Pure style, no substance? Useless, thoughtless consumerism? Provinciality? A void, between our thighs and minds? An empty vessel to be filled with what ever junk is pink and shiny and wrapped with bows?
Women are afforded every opportunity imaginable, but that does not mean that we should be handed them easily. Now it is time for the hard work, to earn respect instead of demanding it, to create instead of criticize or censor. We are no longer oppressed. Let us stop behaving as though we are.
Stacie Adams is an unassuming and introverted young woman with plans to take over the world and make it tolerable. Her heroes are few, but precious: Bill Hicks, Nat Turner, Orson Welles, and Hunter S. Thompson. She detests useless celebrity, bureaucracy, and unfettered stupidity. "I am disgustingly provincial and Iíve never stepped foot outside the US , but it is my dream to travel the world. My favorite beer is Red Stripe, my favorite movie Irreversible. Iíve seen Evil Dead 2 over 100 times. I am an encyclopedia of trivial facts and figures." She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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