For someone like me, to be born in the current time and age, after having heard the stories and seen films of how it went before, I think feminism and emancipation now, are greatly exaggerated.
This may sound weird, but I come from a family where a strong woman overruled pretty much everything.
My grandmother wasn’t the nicest of persons -honestly, it’s hard to find a positive story about her personality- but she did conquer quite something. For that time in age and history.
My grandmother was born in the year 1909, when women didn’t necessarily have the greatest future perspectives. Usually growing up, they would end up being a house maid somewhere, meet a boy, get married and have lots of babies. Basically a woman was nothing more than the perspective of pursuing a family tree. Of someone else, never their own.
Despite this, her father, who was an oyster farmer (Dutch, so yes this was and actually is a thing), had seen his daughter had a quality in working with her hands. When the school teacher told him she was beyond clever when it came to her schoolwork, he made sure she would have the best oppertunities.
She got educated to be a dentist.
When she met my grandfather, at first she was afraid he would take away her privilige of being a working woman. This must have been it, as she repeatedly told us, her grandchildren, how she dismissed him at first.
My grandfather wasn’t the person to do this. At all. They cooperated together as a dentist couple. Did not get married until both had finished their college education. My grandfather was 32 years of age when they finally did get married. For that time and age, quite late really.
They had kids. Hired a nanny, an assistant and so on. They had a blooming practice for 25 years at least, if not more. She was successful in what she did. She wasn’t a woman to take things lightly.
To me, this is what feminism stands for. To be free to express yourself as you like.
To me, this is what emancipation stands for. To do a job that people think is for men, and do it just the same.
To me, this is what women have faught for, all those years back. For the right to be treated as equal.
Am I glad it’s no longer accepted to just take a woman like she’s an item in a grocery store and do whatever the hell you want with her? Yes, of course I am.
There is a part of me though, that wishes that girls selling themselves short for showing skin, would not do that. That a Miley Cyrus, a Kim Kardashian, any girl really, that finds herself urged to show herself nude, would think a bit before doing that. That they’d rather be remembered as the smart girl, for their brain. Because there have been women in the past who literally faught and died for this right. Who could have shown skin to please the men around them. I’m sure they would have found themselves wanted and liked if they did so, but these women wanted to get their message across: that there’s a brain in those lovely bodies. Brains that are of importance to society for the ideas kept in them.
At the same time, when you look at history and how many women have been denied their name on research, you can’t really blame the girls who strip bare to attract attention. It still IS the way to get it, stupidly. Say something serious as a woman, and you’re not getting through, unless you know the right channels.
Around 1700-1800 women were considered to be anything but a serious part of life. And with the ‘serious’ part I mean the part where decisions were made. If something great happened, it was literally: ‘you know how great this is for women?’ because in the men’s world it was actually normal, but they didn’t need to battle their rights. In a way it still is. Look at Hillary Clinton. If she makes it, it would be for the first time a woman gets to rule in the USA. Isn’t that crazy? It’s 2016, for crying out loud! USA is not the only country, of course, but it’s one of the majors. One of the countries we consider to be ‘modern’ and ‘future’. It is not if women aren’t supposed to have equal chances, by the way.
So yes, I am quite proud of my grandmother. That she not only had the guts to basically fight her resistance to not marry my grandfather until she had done everything she wanted to achieve, but also to let society know: fuck off, I’m doing this my way.
As a result of this, despite reaching a very old age both (in their 90s), only one of them has known only one greatgrandchild. None of the grandchildren were in a particularly big hurry to either marry or reproduce, despite the fact that things very much changed during their own growing up.
This is life.