Monday, September 12, 2011

The New Women's Liberation Movement - Liberate us from the guilt

I posted a status update on Facebook yesterday.  It read "If you've come to see me, come any time.  If you've come to see my house, make an appointment".  I thought it was incredibly clever (heard it from Joe Salatin's wife in the documentary "Fresh").  But it struck a nerve with a lot of women.

I was not alive (or congnisant) prior to the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1970s.  By the time I was coming into myself in the 1980s, the movement was well established and it was the norm for women to be working outside of the house.  Growing up I learned to think of housewives as being in a lower position in society than were the working women out there (because that's what society told me I should think).  Not me.  I would be educated.  I would have a career.  My world would be larger than that of a simple housewife.

I am grateful to the Women's Lib movement.  Without it, I quite possibly wouldn't have had the courage, gumption or ability to go to university and get my Master's degree.  I wouldn't have gone on all the adventures I've had.  I would have ended up being a housewife.  Cooking and cleaning and gardening and canning and taking care of children ...  

WAIT!!  That's what I do.  I cook, and clean, and garden, and can, and take care of my child.  But I have another layer to my life.  I work.  I do interesting work.  Not full time.  And on my own terms.  But I work, I bring income into the house.  I am a liberated, educated, independent, outspoken, honest, sometimes unbalanced woman who deals with an emotional disorder and often feels the guilt of not doing enough, not keeping the house clean enough, not making enough money, not spending enough time with her child, not eating enough of the right foods, not being thin enough, not exercising enough. 

But who decided what "enough" was?  Was it men?  Was it other women?  Who set the standards by which we live?  Are we truly liberated or are we trapped in this paradigm of the "Super Woman" who can do everything, do it perfectly and not blink?

I know women who just think that what you see is so important.  They have to wear the right clothes, wear their makeup just right, have family portraits taken with everyone in those best clothes.  Their house has to be immaculate, their children have to be immaculate ... everything has to look just so.  There cannot be a visible chink in the armour.  But I wonder what is going on under the armour.  Is it really as happy and clean as they make it out to be?  And should we use these women as the standard against which to compare ourselves?

Those "Superwomen" who are able to do everything and do it all successfully - well, they are either anomalies, and, like Edison, do not need sleep - or they are lying to us all, but more importantly they are lying to themselves.  And to what end?  So we all see them as strong, perfect, successful?  So that they win and we lose?

So do me a favour, okay?  Don't compare yourself to me or to anyone else.  Be you.  Live within your own personal limitations (because we all have different limitations).  Do what is right for you and your family, not what you think you SHOULD do because someone else dictated it.  Do what your heart tells you is the right thing to do - within your own morals and ethics.  And don't judge someone else because they live their life differently.  And for God's sake - don't judge someone by the condition of their house - because it is not the condition of their house that matters ... it is their character. 

If we all lived like that, THEN we would be truly liberated.

2 comments:

  1. Love this! We're so lucky to have grown up in a time where we had choices...not just expectations. I remember my high school guidance counselor actively trying to dissuade me from going into archeology because I'd "never make a living at it";" I'm so fortunate that my Mom and Dad were a 100% behind me and helped me reach my goals. So yeah, look at what I'm doing with my life and who I've become rather than the fact that I've still got laundry in the dryer, or dust bunnies in the corner! Very well said, Sandi!

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  2. Fantastic post, Sandi! Totally enjoyed it.

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