Sunday, November 13, 2005

GI Jane and why the feminist movement backfired?

You know, I have had something on my mind for a while now. I have an opinion (shocking!) that is just stuck in my brain. My friends and co-workers frequently discuss the stress involved with working full time, running a house, and raising a family. We often weigh in on what reason women had to start the feminist movement, and why it didn't work. I mean It worked, but it backfired. Seriously. I discuss this in many of my posts, whether it be in frustration or contemplation, and reading the book :the bitch in the house: has kept it freshly in my brain.

I often wonder if the feminist revolution was supposed to prove something. Was it just an agenda against the fact that women had no opinions, no right to vote, not voice? It is hard to believe that men thought that women's thoughts and opinions didn't count. I mean they were MARRIED to them for god's sakes. They had them raising their children, instilling values and behaviors into the next generation. How did we go from tough Pioneer women who worked alongside their husbands to the 1950's housewife? It's amazing to me because I think that a lack of women's rights was probably more the fault of certain weak and subservent women (you know them, and if you don't, maybe you ARE them!) than it was of the men. But at the same time, I also wonder if these homemakers were dying to get out into the world. Did they WANT to have jobs, work in factories or as secretaries? Did they strive to leave their homes just to be employees of a man other than their husbands? Or did they really see a bigger picture, where they would some day BE the boss, the CEO, the owner of their own companies and large corporations. I wonder.

But of course the dilema that we see now is women doing more than any one person should be expected to do. Work, Children, Housework, PTA, Girl Scouts, Soccer.... they become mom and don't have time to keep any sense of self- while their husbands are working and golfing and sitting in front of the TV. I can see the men out there "I don't do that" and All I have for you is either "thank god for you" or "you are such a liar" or "wow, that's some serious denial."

And it makes me think of the movie GI Jane. She busts her ass over and over and does everything the men do, and in lots of cases even BETTER than the men do. All to earn their respect and a place amongst them. But all the while, she is beautiful. She has a power over them already. But she wants to be accepted as one of the guys. She gets the shit beat out of her and screams at the men not to give up information. After all is said and done, Master Chief says that the problem has nothing to do with women not pulling thier weight. Women are pulling their weight and then some, everywhere. It has just happened right in front of their eyes. And it isn't that the women can't do exactly what the men can do, and more.... It's that the men can't change their perception of women. They won't come to accept what is right in front of them. This makes me feel better, and worse. It's really an astounding revelation. All from a movie?

It makes me feel better because I know that striving to be respected, to be recognized, to be accepted is not something I have failed at. I have succeeded and I will succeed over and over throughout my entire life. But it makes me feel worse, because I realize that no matter how many times I succeed, men will still perceive me as they want to. Because just like your mom told you, "men don't change." The fact that mom's words of advice pertain to more than just seeing dirty socks on the floor for the rest of your life- There is something scary and comforting about that at the same time.

I believe that women are constantly changing. They have different needs and desires. They have constantly changing goals and they are always striving to succeed over and over again. Part of this is brought on by not being seen as an equal. Men see this as "Women can never make up their minds" and "women change their minds so often we will never know what they want." And the irony of it all is that all that is true. We are complex and constantly changing. But one thing that men can be sure of... If they were able to accept women as equals, not constantly view them as objects, and see that women's jobs and chores are as important as men's.... and then come to terms with the fact that men can do housework.... They would already have us halfway figured out.

But since men will never change (my mom told me so) ... we never have to worry about men having us even halfway figured out.

One thing I can be sure of, I will be having the same "socks on the floor" argument till the day I die. I guess that makes life constant.


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