The feminist movement in the millennium and the masculinization of femininity. This is Part 1 in a series of 3.
In my early education I was taught to question accepted belief systems, as a way of clarifying the underlying paradigms and developing mindfulness. As the years have passed since my your, our world has changed. I notice that there is still a lot of questioning of traditional beliefs but I have noticed that alternative beliefs or beliefs identified as progressive are not as questioned among my peers. Perhaps it’s because it feels like it’s proven to my peers; additionally, there is this energy that finally these non-traditional ideas are now taking hold, so there is no need to question them…but I think it’s a good thing to evaluate what you believe from the inside out, and see if what is being created is actually a better situation or needs more fine-tuning.
I often find I am standing in the center of a controversial subject, which is to say that I see points of view from both sides; I experience my conclusion to these controversies is not fully in alignment to either side…so I find myself alone, a lot, outside of either group….
Just because something is popular, doesn’t make it right…and sometimes the thing that is right: sound and just, isn’t popular.
Belief systems are set in the center of the social milieu…what sociologists call location in time. As an example, in the fifties in America drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes while pregnant was completely acceptable…today there are prohibitions not only legally and socially but also medically for doing such, because it has been determined that alcohol and cigarettes have deleterious effects on the developing baby in a woman’s womb.
So the idea of feminism has been applied to various social issues. My concept of feminism seems to be different from how the word is interpreted by various groups. From my perspective the idea of feminism is inclusive of elevating the opportunities and rights of women…not exchanging rights or limiting rights, or diminishing women who choose more traditional roles. Feminists should on the face of their actions support women, all women. They should actually stand up for each other and not create a divisive set of good women and bad women groups. Feminism should entail a broad set of beliefs that are inclusive of the roles women choose, should provide support to women figures that have attained a positive power role in society and should focus on increasing opportunity for women. At the least feminism should not be a way to deride women who are participating in traditional roles or who have chosen to be conservative versus liberal…this action alone is hypocritical and deflates the positive aspects of the feminist social movement.
Recently there have been three situations in the news where women have been forced to step down from speaking at universities due almost exclusively to their political affiliations: most recently, Christine LaGarde, previously Condoleza Rice, and just previous to that Ayaan Hirsi Ali.Wall street journal, may 12, 2014, ..closed minded universities.. previously Condoleza Rice, and just previous to that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, latimes, april 2014, …an example of a university not choosing to stand for freedom of expression, critical thinking…
These individuals have each overcome tremendous adversity and attained a position of influence and clarity in their specific fields. And yet, rather than being supported or defended by the feminist movement leaders, their treatment is either ignored or the feminist leaders are complicit in deriding the women. I understand this is sociological group behavior, ostracize behavior seen unacceptable by the ruling group leaders…and it is not popular today to be conservative, it is not popular today to go against the current progressive belief systems and it is not popular today to be in any way affiliated with the finance community…but the fact that the feminist movement is choosing which roles are acceptable and which roles are not is simply another way to control women and limit their choices which is the opposite of the goal of feminism. It is a real war on women, driven by women.
Feminism has unfortunately taken a bifurcated, and skewed course over its reign, since the late 1800s. I perceive that indeed some actions supported and advocated under feminist ideas are actually limiting women’s rights and opportunities, while others are increasing women’s freedom and equality in the American society.
By analyzing the course of feminism with a neutral perspective, unencumbered by the propaganda of the feminist movement, I have come to a few vastly different conclusions than the current progressive belief systems taught in university.
I perceive Feminism of the sixties as a paradigm of increasing the opportunities for women to participate in sexual relationships without the threat of having to deal with pregnancy or child-rearing. This is directly related to the development of the birth control pill. Women wanted the freedom they observed in their gender counterparts…This is one of the main driving forces behind feminism and ‘civil rights’ of women and is the issue that is behind women’s rights in areas where women’s sexuality are severely controlled by the society in which they live. This is a far more pressing issue in countries other than America… ie: where women are ritually circumcised to reduce the degree of sexual pleasure they experience in sex — this is to control women. This aspect of feminism is akin to women’s voting rights of the suffragist movement. Both of these aspects of feminism have greatly increased women’s rights as human being and their equality to their gender counterparts in society. I perceive to be of great importance.
Another important issue of feminism is to recognize the importance of equal pay for equal work, this was first in play in the forties and then returned in the eighties and nineties when women began to identify the glass ceiling in corporate America. It was at this time that the power suit came into play. It brought with it a shift away from creating more choice for women and extending opportunity to choosing which kind of behavior was favored by the feminist movement. This was the beginning of an accepted persecution of women whom they felt didn’t support this focus. This resulted in a fracturing of the feminist movement.
Pushing Yang (active, competitive, masculine energy) over Yin (feminine energy, inner creation, collaboration), the movement attacked women directly for their personal free choice of how to work, marry, and participate in society. Value was placed on ‘doing man’s work, in the corporate and political world. Working at home, caring for children, and traditional roles were devalued.
Women are in general paid less than men how much less depends a little of whether you are comparing apples to oranges. The amount less for similar work is now around 5% less – so an amazing good score for the efforts of feminists in this arena. But at what cost has this been achieved? The means of achieving it has created other unintended consequences (see more in part 2, and part 3 of this series).
Society and location in time have a lot to do with the original pay discrepancy and how things have changed today. A change started in the forties, the fifties created a lull in that change, but as part of the sixties movement this began to change. The nineties addressed this through a changing focus on gender roles. It has been shifting to a more equal compensation in the last ten years.
In the fifties, a man worked to support a family (children and a wife) and women worked to support one. This was partly due to the culture of the fifties that women worked in the home and men worked outside the home. So the employer tended to pay accordingly. As women became more highly educated and interested in working outside the home the shift in the marketplace represented that societal shift.
Several issues plagued the movement toward equal pay: specifically biological limits of childbearing (women are limited in the range for safely getting pregnant while men can conceive over twice the number of years), childrearing (although daycare and equality for men to stay at home and raise the children came into action in the nineties, for the most part this role fell to women).
So men stayed in the workforce and at that company while women left to have children, get married, and tended to leave to follow their partners. Additionally, from a sociological perspective men were mentored to move into the areas of business which were on the fast track to moving up the corporate ladder, marketing, sales while women were mentored into human service which dead ended at middle management or areas away from the ladder; this appears to have a connection to the issues of having the freedom to child bear and child rear and still be in the workplace.
Okay so fast forward to now: due to the no contest divorce effects, (IHM march 13, 2014 blog) and other factors, more women are having to support children without the help of men and so that fifties concept no longer applies.
Additionally, women no longer wait to have babies in a committed/married/partnered relationship. There a number of circumstances where women are not supported by the other parent indeed sometimes the other contributor is the federal or state government through Medicaid and other funding, including women who choose to parent via IVF as single parents.
So equal pay is a more appropriate response to the societal change and is a good place for feminism to focus on when supporting the rights of women.
When you do a statistical analysis that really takes into account these issues, time in the workforce, and job choice, the difference between genders is less than 5% for pay for similar jobs, according to new studies out this year.
In this arena feminism has done a great job to move forward the importance of equalizing the attitude toward women in the workforce and their value there.
But I propose the course of doing this by the feminist movement resulted in the masculinization of femininity which has had an unintended consequence of creating a harmful imbalance in society resulting in separating ‘good feminist women’ from ‘bad feminist women’ based on the roles they chose to play in society AND creating a serious breakdown of the psychosocial development of generations of children. To see how read part 2, and part 3 of this series. offered in love and light bg