I’ve vacillated almost endlessly, unable to decide whether to post this, or not. I suspect some people I respect will misunderstand me or my intentions. In the end, though, I’ve decided that I should stop being a coward and say it, right or wrong, so here goes…
For once I want to be serious. Jeez! I know! It doesn’t happen very often, does it? Look out for a blue moon tonight and watch out for the odd flying pig too.
However, to my mind, the question mark in my title does say a great deal about the subject of this post. Are women free, or liberated these days? Well, particularly in some cultures, just as was true thousands of years ago, some plainly are. Also, it’s perhaps a far greater proportion now than it once was during recent centuries – in the West at least. But I have to admit that I don’t think that most are all that free at all.
Then again, some would argue that relatively few people of either gender are free in any real sense of the word, but I suppose the question most women would really be asking is: are women today at least as free as their equivalent men of today? I suspect the answer to that question when asked in general terms is still a resounding NO.
Before I attempt to explain why, I ask you to please take a good look at a great article from a clever and talented lady. It makes some entirely valid and well argued points. It’s also something with which I entirely agree in principle at least. Conversely, I almost totally disagree with it as well, on a very different level.
I know – that’s as clear as mud, isn’t it? I guess I’d better pause here whilst you go for a quick read of the excellent article right here…
Done? Okay then. Now, if you’ve looked at the post in the link, then I hope you’ll understand when I say that I can’t disagree in the slightest with the sentiments at least and that I think all the behaviour and phrases quoted are clearly of an unpleasant nature (certainly when used publicly) and not a way in which I hope I would ever regard or behave towards any woman. Nevertheless, the comment quoted as being from Charlie Sheen (for instance) only serves to demonstrate that he apparently knows practically nothing about real women and very little about sex either, but then some people have extremely limited imaginations. In any event, he’s only playing up to the role he’s picked for himself (or that has been picked for him) in the eyes of his ‘fans’.
Equally, I should point out that it’s not all one-sided and I don’t much like the way some women refer to men and stereotype them either, but (as the rather graphic saying goes) shit happens and I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, or dignify people like that by giving a damn about them – they are what they are – usually rather stupid and pretty ignorant, in my opinion.
The simple and absolute fact is that some men hate women and some women hate men. No one can change that truth by legislating, or complaining, or anything else (unless you’re prepared to shoot them of course), because they think what they think and every time you highlight their behaviour, you simply increase their importance. Most people are not that pathetic, so why would you care about a stupid minority of insignificant jerks? Marginalise them and they and their ilk will eventually become almost invisible.
There are women’s issues that desperately need to be addressed, such as equal pay for equal work and real equality of opportunity regardless of gender, though childbirth is a factor to be considered in some cases, whether anyone likes it or not. This post is not the place or occasion to discuss the subject in detail, but these days and for most women, the decision to bear children is just that – a choice. I can see no reason whatsoever why an employer should be forced to manipulate reality in order to try to ensure that such a choice does not affect the career prospects of the individual. I believe that positive discrimination is just as evil as negative discrimination.
All that said, although I write fiction, there is a recurring theme in much of what I produce, particularly in my sci-fi stories and it’s that most women of the future are strong and liberated. In my tales, whatever their individual hang-ups and insecurities, future women have largely achieved equality and even superiority at times by one simple means – as a gender, they DON’T GIVE A DAMN what any man thinks! Of course, I’m not talking about personal relationships, those are always excepted, private and should be what suits and is developed by the individuals involved for themselves. Outside of that, I’m a passionate believer in the equality of women, but I’m also sure that they’ll never achieve it if they remain dependent on men being nice to them, frequently not saying what they think and allowing it to occur because it’s some kind of decent thing to do. It simply won’t happen!
Men don’t care much what women (as a whole gender, rather than as individuals) think of them, but women on the other hand are all too often demanding that men in general should view them differently from the way they do. That is not only unrealistic and doomed to failure, it’s a dreadful weakness and they will not succeed in achieving their goals until they manage to move on from that and cast off the shackles of such limiting ideas.
So, there you go. I say again, I think the article in the link is superb, but I do think it also highlights a weakness in the female cause. That, for what it’s worth, is my opinion. Still, no one ever took much notice of my views in the past, so I can’t imagine that anything will change significantly on this occasion.