I wrote this article just around mother’s day – a time full of: ‘where have all the feminists gone’ publications and discussions. These reminded me of a T-shirt from www.phdcomics.com that states: “Women in Grad School: Women of Valour”. First I thought this is an awesome T-shirt and certainly has the ring of truth to it.
However the legacy, passed on by generations of strong women in my family seems to invalidate this very statement. From my great-grandmother, born in 1894, who owned a bicycle shop and a petrol station, to my granny, who single-handed ran a farm while her husband was in rehab after a farm accident, raising two children and next to all going to college to retrain as accountant … the list goes on and on and makes my valor smell a little stale. Yet with changing times the nature of heroism changes. Where movements like the Pink Stinks Campaign (www.pinkstinks.co.uk) seem necessary to counter the general trend that turned sexual revolution into sexual exploitation with an all-exposing celebrity culture, the need transpires to be a woman – a real woman.
“And therein squawks the toad” – What constitutes a real woman?
For me that includes severe frowning upon radical feminism, because it insults all I know about being a woman. I can change car tires, I can do some basic plumbing and I certainly know how to put the different coloured wires into an insulation screw joint, but when hubby wants to do it – perfect, saves me the trouble and makes him feel good. I also cross stitch, bake, mend minor illnesses within the family and care, until I get ready for martial arts class.
Neither the Hello! magazine women, nor the airbrushed ones on most of the other cover pages, show me the women I want to read about. Why is a woman who is a nurse, a teacher, a CEO, or a university court secretary not on the front cover of a magazine? Why is it not interesting to hear or read about people that are not footballers, Big Brother contestants or other subjects of an artificially created celebrity market? What makes it so interesting? Why does it even go so far, that each women’s magazine features a ‘look-like [insert celebrity here]’ column? […]
I am a bit lost, for I don’t know, how to be a woman … well this is not true, at least without adding: “today”. I am confused and certainly at a loss about my image as woman. It starts with sartorial communication, shall I opt for the newly revived power dressing, power woman image, shall I adhere to the fashion trend that reveals a lot and has big flower prints, or do I save money and go back to the wee Scottish company that designs clothes that are almost old-fashioned girly but in a sophisticated way? I don’t know.
Thus, for the time being, I say: “screw that”, get into my black pants and tops and continue what my great-grandmother, granny, great-aunts, mom, aunt, sister etc have done. I go on with living – and should I encounter a leakage of patriarchic or feminist abuse I will rely on my legacy and stick to my guns (or rolling pins) to be a role model.