So this is the constant discussion I hear. Gender equals Diversity - Diversity equals Flexibility - Flexibility equals (dialogues about) Women - Equality equals Diversity = Diversity equals Flexibility and so it goes around. Problem is, Gender does not equal diversity. Gender is a discussion about our constructed gendered roles and how those roles play out in society. It is also about the way we see ourselves through our gendered lens of expectation.
How we define ourselves, the labels we use and the accompanying social judgments that ride along with our choice of words, speak volumes about how we are positioned in society.
I think for women, especially mothers, the question, ‘so what do you do for a living?’, no matter how casually asked, has been a loaded one.
Should we define ourselves solely by our biological status as mothers, as so many women have done before us?
If so what type of mother’s are we?
Full time mother, part-time mother, stay at home mother?
Or should we strive to avoid the trap of seeking to quantify ourselves by the amount of hands on time we spend mothering in the first place?
On this issue I totally agree with http:// oneforthemummy.wordpress.com /2012/09/28/whats-in-a-name/ contestation over the use of descriptors such as ‘full-time mum’ or ‘stay at home mum’, when seeking to define ourselves.
I’m not sure why we as women still refer to ourselves in these terms, but we do. At least I know I have done and occasionally still do and probably will do again in the future.
Yet each and every time I do, I also know that I find myself becoming increasingly more uncomfortable about doing so.
To me the description of a mother as either a full-time mum or a working mum, automatically sets up that god awful, age-old debate concerning the roles of women in both the family and the workforce.
And apart from anything else, it also tends to rub in the even more appallingly ridiculous notion that being a mother and mothering, isn’t hard work at all.
Newsflash, mothering is hard work. Just because it doesn’t come complete with a recognized financial package and a demarcated award wage, does not mean that it is not legitimate work. It is and it deserves to be acknowledged.
Of course once you get past the whole full-time, part-time, stay at home debacle, you are then faced with the more modern conundrum of whether or not you’re a married stay at home mum, a single stay at home mum, married working mum or a single working mum?
If we’re honest about it, we know that each of these patriarchal definitions arrives complete with their own unique brands of social baggage and more often than not, moral judgements.
Which you might not mind confronting so much if you were simply honestly being asked whether or not you were a Miss, Mrs or Ms,…… but when the question is supposed to be a harmless social ice breaker like ‘what do you do for a living’……? Somehow the automatic roll call involved just doesn’t seem to fit.
Especially considering the fact that feminists worked hard to legitimise the title Ms, specifically so that women wouldn’t have to automatically define themselves as either married or single, instantaneously.
Of course these days the term Ms has become synonymous with divorce, so that now it’s used primarily to define a woman as a divorcee.
So that particular piece of hard worn anonymity still hasn’t been able to purchase for women the same rights as men, who only need to declare the letters Mr before their name, on any and all occasions.
Quite simply I find the inadvertent information that each additional label sends out, when applied specifically to women, nothing short of astounding.
Not to mention a double standard of enormous proportions.
And I think we as women really need to ask ourselves whether or not, in this day and age, giving out that sort of information to a casual observer is really necessary?
I mean, even in today’s world, it’s still not a definitional issue that men are exposed to, as they have always tended to define themselves by their employment status alone anyway.
Even if they didn’t hold that stop-gap , men are rarely expected to divulge their status as either a full-time dad or a single dad with such an easily laid out , ‘what do you do for a living?’…. the way that women are expected too.
But I guess the bigger question is, why do we even feel the need to try and define ourselves by what we do?
Personally I prefer to define myself as a human being, who happens to be both a woman and a mother.
How do you define yourself?
- Mother Lands (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- Motherlode Blog: Full-Time Work Means Better Health for Mothers (parenting.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Working mums healthier than stay-at-home mothers, study says (todayonline.com)
- Working mums healthier than stay-at-home mothers (telegraph.co.uk)
Before continuing, please note that I consider myself a feminist. I believe that women and men should be socioeconomic and political equals and that both should have the right to pursue their chosen career based on their merits and abilities alone. I believe that reproductive decisions should be left to individual families and not legislated by government.
Clearly for some, the definition of feminism is much more specific; and indeed, they use their image of a "true feminist" to lash out at any woman whose educated decisions diverge from their ideal.
- Feminism. Ay or Nay? (eurekanaija.wordpress.com)
- De-Constructing Feminism (dmgreen2013.wordpress.com)
- I Was Born A Feminist (elizabethahawksworth.com)
- The Descent of Men? Really? (Post-Radical Feminism) (theartofpolemics.wordpress.com)
- The Narrow View of Feminism (goodmanstrongman.wordpress.com)
- [Femin/Sex]ism (freepussyriot.wordpress.com)
So what was she saying that provoked her husband to kill her?
According to the man his wife had been telling him that she was leaving him.
His apparently ‘legally legitimate’ response to this news was to run into another room, grab a box cutter (AKA Stanley Knife), return to his wife, stab her, slice her throat open and willfully leave her to bleed to death while standing above her and watching her expire.
I don’t know about anybody else, but as far as I’m concerned, this is an act of murder.
To have this murder ruled as a reasonable
attack response to a verbal provocation begs the question:
Since when does a wife attempting to have a discussion about ending a marriage become grounds for murder?
So how does this happen?
Under the law in Australia there are acts understood as arising out of provocation.
Quite literally the idea is that one person can be provoked , verbally, into losing control of themselves and attacking another.
In the USA I think the equivalent term may be the claim of temporary insanity.
In this case however, there are clear indications of fore thought. The man had to leave the room in which the ‘offending discussion’ took place to retrieve the box cutter he later used to kill his wife.
Given this, how can his murderous actions not be seen as providing clear evidence of fore thought, planning and a willfully controlled act of murder on his part?
As far as I’m concerned this should never have been a case in which the law of provocation was applied.
It should never be seen that killing another person because you do not like, or are offended or hurt by what they are saying, provides an excuse for murder.
Especially if that other person is smaller, weighs less, is defenseless and is a woman.
To me, the ruling in this case sends out a very dangerous message to all would be domestic abusers.
What do you think?
- Australian law is bad: victim’s sister (news.smh.com.au)
- Man gets 6 years for cutting wife’s throat (news.theage.com.au)
- Wife killer sentence prompts call for law change (abc.net.au)
- Gaston man sought after brutal attack on wife (thestate.com)
- Death by Slut Shaming: The American Honor Killing (angrynerdgirl.net)
- Sharia in Action: Pregnant woman has throat slit, stomach cut open in horrific honor killing (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Prosecutors Appeal To High Court To Reinstate Conviction In Domestic Violence Slaying (sfappeal.com)
For most women the notion of ‘Choice’ has become analogous with the idea of choosing whether or not to become a working mother.
As the writer of this blog post from http://newsofthetimes.org/2012/05/29/why-cant-we-all-just-get-along-dividing-women-does-not-serve-anyone/ so eloquently states.
“I can’t help but feel that all of the seemingly fabricated conflicts trying to pit stay-at-home moms against working moms or against working women who are not mothers, feels like an intentional effort to divide women…The truth is that most women do not have a choice.”
Hidden within this context is a more insidious notion regarding the concept of choice that is still not openly being talked about.
Women, by their very biological makeup , have no choice but to be the gender that creates new life.
This is true in any and all circumstances regardless of relationship status, time frame, or socio-economic conditions.
There is simply no avoiding this factual observation.
Yet avoid it we do.
But what about contraception ?
I hear you say.
Doesn’t that now allow women to make the choice as to whether or not to become mothers?
No. What contraception allows many Western women to do is to ‘put off’ having children at a young age.
Contraception merely enables some women to (hopefully) make a willful choice concerning when and with whom they choose to have a child.
It does not however, in any way, shape or form, stop them from being women.
To me the notion that women now choose their own path based entirely on contraception is an incredibly hollow one.
Especially when you consider the consistently high rate of unplanned pregnancies still occurring in the Western world.
And that’s without even trying to take into account the millions of women living in third world conditions who have no access to the so-called contraception of ‘choice’.
So what is it that is wrong with the way society paints the picture of ‘choice’ for women ?
It avoids the very real truth that all women have no choice but to carry all the expectations, tags and labels that society heaps on them specifically because they are the gender that produces children.
And while as a society we verbally give voice to the sanctity of creating new life, in reality, we ignore the extremely limiting ‘life choices’ that biological inheritance still creates for women.
Yes I know the argument, women in the modern era can and do work, and that things are getting better.
But just what sort of better is it exactly?
Women are still being criticized for making their own genuine choices.
Perhaps now even more so than ever before.
Yes women are able to choose career’s but what’s the number one reason why career women loose they’re status?
What’s the number one reason why women who want to work often can’t?
The number one reason is still being the gender biologically charged with creating new life.
It seems to me that too often we are ignoring this one glaringly obvious and indisputable fact within our modern societies.
Yes men can and occasionally do choose to stay home and look after the children so the Mother can go back to work, but this idealized argument is so far from the norm as we know it, that house husbands are still being considered ( let’s face it), a rarity.
So women, in addition to always being the gender that creates new life, are also now routinely being both expected to, and criticized for, going/not going off to work.
Yet we all live in age where, regardless of gender, we are forced to deal with the reality of living in a capitalist world that requires everyone , to make their own way.
Increasingly it seems to me, that these days, women are simply being criticized for retaining their femaleness within a man’s world.
So with that idea in mind, we just might ask ourselves, what new biological of socially driven roles, are men being required to take on?
The world has not changed as much for them.
So the next time the issue of ‘women’s choice’ is being bandied around, you might just want to stop and consider just which socio-economic or biological choice is it exactly, that women are being critiqued for now.
Having children and working?
Having children and staying home?
Not having children and working?
Not having children at all?
Or for simply being a woman?
I mean really, when was the last the time you heard of a man’s ‘life choices’ being broken down and critiqued in such an unrealistic and entirely unforgiving way?
- Feminism. Ay or Nay? (eurekanaija.wordpress.com)
- Questions about owning our choices as women (dowhatuluv.wordpress.com)
- The Cost of Birth Control (everydayfamily.com)
- Can Women Have It All? (everydayfamily.com)
- ‘The Feminist Housewife’ Is Such Bullshit (jezebel.com)
- Why I need feminism (jmuwomensstudentcaucus.wordpress.com)
- Gender Selection. A Problem? (pj30blog.wordpress.com)
- Is This What It’s Come To? (1fleshoffranciscanuniversity.wordpress.com)