Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How feminism ruined my life

I always assumed I was a feminist. I believed that women should be equal to men and should have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to them. I still believe this. I am inspired by the women in history who fought for the freedoms we have today. I remember sitting in my history class as a teenager learning about these amazing women and believing I would have a voice and a choice due to all their hard work.

Now as a woman in her late 20's I believe that these same women would turn in their graves to see how we have butchered all their hard work.

Rewind to the generation before. Most mums did not have to work. Due to the campaigning and sometimes all out brawling of the feminists before them, mums had the option to work. But most were not under financial or social pressure to work. They had the freedom to choose. Being a mother was not easier then by any means. Mums still had to work hard to make ends meet, but somehow they managed.

Coming back to present day, most mums have to work. I don't believe that it's because we are less resourceful than the generation before us. I believe it has a lot to do with the fact that most basic items such as petrol, food and housing have sky rocketed, requiring two wages to get by. This means mums have lost the ability to choose, the very thing feminists fought for in the first place.

Obviously this is not just the fault of feminists. But somewhere along the way, feminism became skewed in such a way that it was expected that mums would want to work and thus it became the social norm of which policy has been derived from. So now mums are increasingly finding themselves under both financial and social pressure to work.

Do I believe that mums shouldn't work? Of course I don't. I believe mums should have the freedom to choose if they want to work or not. That is one of the fundamental beliefs of the feminist movement: women would have a choice in their lives. What I object to is mums being put into a position where they are forced to work just to provide the basic necessities a family needs.

Do I believe that people should have children they can't afford? Of course I don't. But I believe in a country as resource rich as ours, a family should be able to be supported on just one wage.

Another area where feminism has ruined my life is that I left home not knowing how to cook, clean or sew. I could write an essay, do long division and recite elements from the periodic table, but ask me to boil an egg or sew on a button and you were just out of luck.

Where men have become more domestic (in some households ;)), it appears women have almost been discouraged in learning these basic skills. The pendulum again has swung in the opposite direction. And while women have adapted from this lack of knowledge by discovering it for themselves (I googled 'how to roast beef' today), we have been let down by a ideology who believed we didn't need to learn these things.

Feminism was meant to liberate women. It was meant to give them the ability to be whatever they wanted to be. It was meant to give them a voice and it was meant to give them a choice. Somewhere along the way, this beautiful idea was ruined now meaning I, like a lot of other mums out there, work a full time job and google basic cooking instructions just to get by.

I will always be grateful to those women who sacrificed so much for the freedoms I have. But to those feminists who swung the pendulum too far in the opposite direction, assuming you knew what was right for all women, you have now become the reason we are increasingly having less of a voice and a choice.

And that's how feminism ruined my life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How to raise a baby

Recently I have read a fair few articles about the best way to raise children. These include how to feed them, if you should stay home or return to work, should you immunise them and where they should sleep.

There is no greater stressor for parents than the thought that every action you make creates your child and who they will become. So when articles claim to know the best and only way to raise your children, parents tend to take notice.

The problem with this is these articles are sometimes not fact based, some not even mentioning a single credible study to prove their point. They are written with such fear mongering intent that all parents can do is read them and slowly start rocking in a corner believing they are solely responsible for their child's inevitable demise.

But wait, I have had a different thought.

Most parents want what is best for their children and make their choices accordingly. They listen to their common sense and credible advice and take great care of their children and their children grow up to be functioning, well rounded members of society.

Bottle fed or breast fed? Seriously, who cares? As long as the child is fed, does it matter? Do mothers really need to be made to feel bad because of how they feed their babies? Neither is going to hurt the child and both will help the child grow. So really don't harrass mothers about how they feed their babies. They are tired enough. And before people start talking about how breast is best, yeah it is. But if you can't breast feed, then bottle feeding is not the end of the world. And to people who think breast feeding is gross, really? Feeding a baby is gross? Grow up.

Working or stay at home mother? Some mothers have to work. It's called survival. Some mothers want to work. It's called freedom to choose. Some mothers want to stay home. It's called freedom to choose. Some mothers have to stay home. It's called survival. Either way, unless you are locking your child away in a cupboard, someone is looking after your child. They will know who their parent is. They will still love you. It's the decision of that family and that family alone. We shouldn't be making judgements on a family situation unless we are in that family situation.

The comments underneath some of these articles have prompted me to write this. There are some horrible people out there that need to learn to BACK OFF! There is an amazing difference between having an opinion and terrorising others about theirs. I have seen people be verbally abused for the way they raise their children when in all honesty they are doing a great job. When did people start believing that they could talk like that to others? Did they not have a mother?

Also the media needs to show some level of responsibility about what they choose to publish. Articles based on phony science that claim you will mess up your child if you don't do something or do something only encourage fear. Parents do not need more fear in their lives. They are responsible for a life and that is scary enough.

So to all the parents out there. Chances are high that you are doing a great job raising your children. Chances are they will look back on their childhood and smile. In the end, you can only do the best you can for your family. That's it.

Happy Mother's Day people out there. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Killing in the name of...

Most of today's news has been occupied by the death of Osama bin Laden yesterday. Many different perspectives have been discussed and a variety of topics have been brought to the surface by this event.

A topic which has reared its ugly head again is religious intolerance. This has been portrayed by the criticism of bin Laden's burial, celebrations on the streets in America praising God for the killing of bin Laden and even more anti Muslim feeling throughout the world.

Most of the world can agree that the events of 9/11 were horrible, no matter what religion you are or are not. As humans, that kind of mass killing triggers in us a sense of disbelief which leads to grief and anger. Bin Laden's role in these pointless killings made him one of the most hated people of our time. And I understand that. I think his actions are deplorable. What I don't understand, is how the actions of one crazy man with his small group of crazy followers led people around the world to persecute the Muslim people as a whole.

Killing in the name of Islam is wrong. Leaders of the Islamic faith have condemned this by saying this is not what Allah wants. They have stated that what these extremists are doing is misreading the Koran to justify their hatred of the West and the pointless killings they carry out. The West watched their televisions and saw a different picture. They were horrified at flags being burnt, celebrations of the events of 9/11 and support for bin Laden and his merry group of followers. This small group of extremists tarnished the Islamic faith as a whole in the minds of people around the world. There were mosques destroyed, people bullied and beaten in the streets and more overt 'profiling' of innocent people.

And yet 10 years later, Osama bin Laden is killed in Pakistan. And there are celebrations throughout the US. People are cheering on the streets with signs and balloons. Celebrations that resemble those we saw after 9/11 by Islamic extremists. Have we such a short memory? Is death really a cause for celebrating and cheering?

People are stating it was God's will that bin Laden died. They also believe that God is on our side. It sounds strangely familiar because I remember the extremists after 9/11 saying Allah was on their side. I don't know what Bible they are reading but mine states 'Thou shalt not kill'. Killing in the name of God is just as wrong as killing in the name of Allah. It's not the message and is just extremists finding justification for murder.

What the US did was a necessary action against a man that had left them no choice. But to celebrate the death of a person, no matter how evil is wrong. And to assume that there is no one that will replace him is naive. We live in a world where people carry out evil deeds. But blaming God, Allah or any religious group as a whole for these deeds is the height of naivety.