Muzikaal Intermezzo Vrouwendag women's day

Let a woman be a woman (…)

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.

Blog   Muriel Kloek
Foto: Annemiek van Eeden

Sensuality as an answer to powertalk

“How to fight back“ yells a newspaper, “We need to change the constitution” urges Hollande, “Close all the frontiers” says Dutch politician Wilders. And look at us: nine women on a podium asking for Love. Because we’re sick and tired of this power talk from Western decision makers. We’re asking for a world with more mildness, more curves and more devotion.

Underdog

For centuries women have had to struggle with a social underdog complex, and this doesn’t simply get erased in just three generations. A lot has happened since, but we can feel it’s still in our system: wage bargaining is still more difficult for women than for men, the glass ceiling hasn’t gone yet and our self image is substandard.

We’re done. Our planet and its environment are unscrupulously exploited by short term vision profit greed, our financial markets are packed with testosterone and they appear to have learned little from the financial crisis. And in response to the recent terrorist attacks all our leaders can come up with is impulsive, misguided power play.

More feminine energy

That’s it. The world needs more feminine energy. We need nuance, dialogue and a sense of nearness. But there’s little room for these qualities in our political and business leaders. That’s why our politicians are foaming at the mouth, calling for revenge and retribution. It’s a fight to the finish, while in fact we may never reach the end of it. On the contrary: we’re only spinning out of control.

Feminine energy needs male energy and vice versa: of course you need to defend your turf when the enemy comes knocking. But violence isn’t the only answer: make room for mildness and intuition as well. It’s badly needed: power without flexibility won’t actually be strong and decisiveness without understanding is ineffective.

Songs and dance for a better world

All we want is a better world for our children, mercy and attention for the dark side of life. We want attention for those in need and we want to be free to love whomever we want to love, whether white, black or in between. We want wisdom and reflection from our leaders, and we want to be able to give them our faith.

So this is why we’re nine women on a podium making music, singing and dancing about a quest for love and our hope for a better future. We set vulnerability against toughness and our emotions against bitterness. Our answers to power talk, hate and ruthless thirst for action are beauty, sensuality and a desire for Love.

Blog   Muriel Kloek