Friday, March 04, 2011

Feminism - part II

Something I heard on the radio fuelled yesterday’s discussion/blog about feminism. I’ve decided to keep up the theme of women’s issues/feminism until International Women’s Day this coming Tuesday, March 8th – even though V warns me that this could alienate any male audience I have. I hope not.

CBC at least seems to be supportive of me blogging about such topics. It was their announcement about the upcoming ‘f-word’ documentary that got me on feminism in the first place. Then yesterday, not unrelated, feminism icon and author Germaine Greer was a guest on the radio show Q.

She had some very interesting comments about the state of feminism today (as well as on Sarah Palin), including a response to a question from Jian Ghomeshi about whether her understanding of feminism was based on equality.

“I’m not interested in equality,” she said. “I think it’s profoundly conservative to think that the best we can hope for is to be the same or on equal terms with men. That would be miserable. Women living as images of men in an unchanged world is not my idea at all.”

Does equality mean that women would be mirror images of men? I don’t think so. But then what exactly does equality mean?

I’m sure we’ve heard it before – different, but equal. But that’s easier said than done. As my conversation yesterday clearly showed, there is a perception that even if we live in a so-called equal society, our day to day lives are not equal.

“Most of the women I know are exhausted,” Greer said. “They’re running on empty. They’re doing everything. They have to earn a living because they can’t cover the family debts if they don’t, and they still feel morally responsible for the standard of their housekeeping and the state of their children and the general quality of daily life and it’s too hard. These women are reeling from exhaustion and then we expect them to remake the body politic. It’s too hard. We have got to find ways of reducing the work load of individual women.”

Greer solution is to rediscover sisterhood and collective, uncompetitive identity among women. Guessing there is more to it than that.

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