Let a woman be a woman (…)

Blog   Muriel Kloek

When we think about feminism, we tend to think about the glass ceiling, about how women combine work and family or sexual harassment. We see feminism as a society problem where women have to pick up a fight against white bold powerful men in the first case, against established rules or otherwise against men in general.

But there’s an underlying matter in this whole debate. It’s that hidden but raging hatred women can inflict upon themselves. Where men tend to project their uneasyness upon the world and become agressive, women tend to interiorise it and become self destructive. It might not be hatred, it might be less strong. But us women are incredibly good in telling ourselves we shouldn’t be angry, we shouldn’t be hormonal, we shouldn’t be emotional, we shouldn’t be a lot of stuff. We should be good girls and take care of the people around us.

This is a comprehensible phenomenon as we’ve got generations behind of mothers, grandmothers, great great grandmothers who were under the authority of their husbands and could be raped within their mariages without it being a crime. Mentalities take decades, sometimes centuries to change.

The average educated woman, will understand she’s got the brains, the capacities and strength as good as a man to perform in any function. But that doesn’t mean a thing about how she feels about being a woman. For lot’s of women, being a woman is a weight. It’s periods, it’s sexual haressment, it’s being a prey for men and being lacked of respect by society.

And that’s an imense burden: women who don’t respect themselves are much more likely to become victims of violence and sexual abuse. Women with bad self esteem are less likely to have a career or stand up for themselves. Women who hate themselves will tend to implode or make life impossible for people who love them. It’s the bottom line of the problem: we just do not seem to see that the power of being a woman lies exactly in, being a woman. Emotions means strenght, hormons mean life and vulnerabilty means beauty.

We complain about magazines giving us impossible aims to meet, but they keep doing so because we buy it. We complain about society being organized around men but meanwhile we keep enhancing masculine values, like rationalism, cognitive development and reason. We complain about men not taking their place in caretaking, but are we ready to let men be men in the nearness of our own home?

Differences woman/man are okay

Feminism of the generations before us, meant putting up a fight against men and society, therefore having to become like them and using their weapons. They cut of their hair, put pants on and took to work. Our mothers and grandmothers did a great job, they did what they had to do at that moment.

But we’re from another generation and we want, we demand the right to be women again. We can be women reparing a car if we like that, we can be women being a dentist, or a mom or a mistress. It doesn’t matter what we do. It even doesn’t matter how we do it. A woman can be stronger than a man as she’ll fight in a different way, a woman may be less compassionate then a man as life will have thoughened her. But she’ll be a woman and that’ll make the difference.

It’s good. There should be differences. It’s completely unrealistic to think that being treated by a male or female doctor shouldn’t make a difference. It does, and that’s what makes the world go round. It’s powerful and beautiful.

Maybe we can’t touch those differences, maybe we can’t describe them, as we’re used to describe in numbers, in distinctive qualities and we’re not used to attach importance to feelings and vibes. But everybody knows, the atmosphere changes when there’s only men in a room and a few women enter the place. Everybody knows a woman changes when she’s got a man standing next to her. And it’s good, it should be that way. Of course we need equal rights and equal chances. But instead of trying to make this a unisex society, we should embrace the differences and stand for ourselves being women. Educated or not, sensitive or not, beautiful or not, still women. Because we feel it, sense it, experience it.

We should want enterprises to want us, not in spite of us being women, but because we’re women. We should want women in our gouvernments, not because of some equality thing, but because we’re worth it and we’ll make the difference. Being a woman isn’t something to ignore or reject. Being a woman is a selling point, it’s got value and it’s cool.

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