Sunday, 23 December 2012

Do we still have to burn the bra?

The feminist movement of the 1970s sure caused a big uproar.  Women wanted to be heard and free themselves from the repression that they had faced for so many years before that.  Women wanted to be treated as equal to men, to have a voice, to be treated as free thinking individuals, not just neurotic house wives.  A lot can be said for the women of the 1970s and early 1980s who did so much to change the stereotypes and pave the way for women to take on many new roles in society.  Now it's over 40 years later and I ask you, do we still have to burn the bra?

For a long time, a woman's place was in the home, raising and caring for her children and looking after her husband.  She didn't work, didn't vote, didn't have a career, didn't have an education and certainly didn't speak unless she was spoken to.  This may seem a little bit harsh, but in reality, this was the way it was.  No wonder the feminist movement was born when women wanted to get out of the kitchen and into the workforce (amongst other things) and be treated as an equal to men.  They became sick of being treated as subservient, sick of having no independence, sick of not being treated as free thinking individuals and sick of basically being told what to do all the time. Women broke free, rebelled and retaliated against a male dominated world and wanted to 'burn the bra' as a symbol of their new found freedom and liberty.

Traditionally, women didn't earn the same income as men.  They didn't hold positions of authority in the workforce and were always battling sexist and discriminatory remarks by men who didn't know any better.  The jobs that women had were not considered as 'important' as those that men had and women generally got the raw end of the deal.  Women became sick of this and fought back, frustrated by a lack of recognition and respect. Most importantly, they wanted chance to prove themselves.

We are now in the 21st Century, and thank goodness things have changed.  Sure, there are many women, like myself, who stay at home and look after the family, taking on the 'traditional role of care giver' while their partner is the 'bread winner' and that's okay, it's now a personal choice that is respected.  However, there are also many more who are high level executives, successful business owners, Prime Ministers, on the top 200 'Rich List' in Australia, leaders of many associations and groups, teachers, lecturers, CEOs of major corporations, just to name a few. Today's women are highly educated, dynamic individuals who can be very successful in the business world and on a personal level. 

The times are slowly changing when women can do the same work as men and quite often, even do it better.  Some women earn more than men and this is becoming more and more common. Women have a voice in the community and can almost be anything they want to be.  Gone are the days when a woman had to stay in a negative relationship too.  If things don't work out, they can choose to make a change and 'survive without a man'.

I am not saying that the western world we live in is perfect but it has certainly advanced in many ways where there is a 'better' level of equality between the sexes now.  At least many people now treat both men and women on an individual basis, taking into account the individual's own strengths, weaknesses and skills, rather than purely dismissing a person's ability because they are female. In a lot of ways, we still have a long way to go and who knows what the next 40 years holds for us.  

After saying all this, I believe that women should still be proud of their femininity and not try to look, dress and act like a man, but rather be proud of the fact that they are a very important and talented half of the human race, that can do more than one thing at a time and look fantastic in a good bra!