Rebecca Hadjiloucas ’11
Feminism has long been referred to as a liberator, but is this true? Alternatively, does buying wholesale into feminist ideology serve instead to act as an oppressor?
While in the past, men have typically done the oppressing, by limiting education, confining women to certain roles and occupations, and denying them the lives they wished to achieve; feminism, in hopes of liberating women from this oppression, has advanced the reverse description and image of women. In doing so, feminism has served to establish a new source of oppression, just in an opposite direction.
Women were viewed as caregivers, mothers, home-keepers, etc. Typical “women’s roles” included schoolteacher, typist, secretary, and were limited to supposedly “inferior” occupations. However, the negative connotations of these occupations did not come into play until the feminist movement. There is nothing “inferior” with such careers, if they are chosen freely, in fact, they are quite necessary. The problem with feminism is that women who do not choose to become doctors, lawyers, or attain a Ph. D are inferior to those who do, and are shunned by the feminist community. This is no less oppressive or restrictive that a patriarchal society shunning educated and working women. A woman forced into an occupation, whether motherhood or medicine, based on societal conventions and outward expectations is oppression.
Women are starting to realize; not all that glitters is gold. Modern women are experiencing massive bouts of depression and stress-induced disorders. Maybe wealth and standing are not what women want; maybe women just want freedom, which contemporary feminism does not offer. In truth, feminism brought very little to the advancement of women. Women are not free, happy, or respected. Just turn to MTV and watch as women are stripped of their dignity and individuality, into one collective mass of generic sex appeal. The problem with past generations is that they treated women like animals, undeserving of simple human dignity, which clearly has not changed. So what then has feminism accomplished other than eradicating graciousness?
In effect, the ideas and technologies advanced by the feminist movement have only served to harm women. Advances in maternity care, such as gender screenings, have led to an exponential increase in female targeted abortions. Instead of advancing simple hygiene and better use of antibiotics, feminist groups extolled the practice of abortions and sex-screenings in third-world countries, which in reality have mostly been used to the detriment of the female sex. In China, where in many cases a daughter is an immense disappointment, women will receive a sex-screenings so that they can schedule an abortion if the fetus is female. Also, in India, where the price of a dowry is greatly inconvenient to a poor and struggling family, doctors actually advertise the financial savings of one sex-screening compared to the expense of a daughter. Clearly, feminist “advancement” is nothing more than a modern means of subjugation.
Photo credit: stthomasstandard.com
After sacrificing womb and motherhood, women realize that feminism has led them astray. Instead of the joy in freedom feminism promised, women are miserable and dissatisfied. Just as the burden of male-dominated oppression was lifted, the limitations of feminism were placed upon the backs of women everywhere. It thus becomes difficult to distinguish between sexism and feminism; in both, women are limited to occupations and life styles, and must forgo their dreams for predetermined roles. It does not matter if the oppressor is male or female. It is time to throw the off the restrictions of blanket-movements altogether; in every instance, the movements only serve to harm those they promise to protect. Women must cease believing that what is good for womankind as a whole is good for each woman. Such philosophy serves to shackle the individual, and no movement based on the suppression of the individual for the profit of the majority, will benefit either. In order to attain true freedom, each woman must overthrow the societal, governmental, and cultural restrictions from within. Only then can a woman truly achieve success, when she has determined it for herself.
How do you feel the feminist movement has served women? Leave your comments below.