Surely enough I’m a feminist babe… but what the hell does that mean? The word feminism is loaded with meaning, stereotypes, memories, false impression, broken dreams and success… to a point that for most of the people this word has too many bad connotation to be used. Though it’s only a word, and its shape is the shape we created, I’m just not sure who really created that shape. You see, I have always understood feminism as ‘promoting equal rights for women and men’.
A few years ago, as I was reading Clarissa Pinkola book ‘Women who run with the wolves’ or Eva Ensler play ‘Vagina Monologues’, nowhere could I read about women rights, rather about women’s body, and a concept of ‘sacred women’. Feminism was reshaping itself. If we were to think NLP concept and NLP notion of model of the world, feminism movement had to start first from the existing patriarchal model of the world, and within that model of the world defined itself, using the same tool used in the patriarchy model of the world, otherwise patriarchy would not have understood the new concept. Once this done, feminism could start to explore its own model of the world, and expand the current existing model of the world.
The goal of feminism is really an equality of right and with this the ability for women to choose what they want to do with their own life and be fully recognized and respected in that choice. I remember my first impression reading Ensler’s Vagina Monologues: I did not enjoy it. I found the many dissertations over the word vagina unnecessary, and already known information. Have we not done that with Simone de Beauvoir (‘The second sex’, 1949) or Germaine Greer (‘The Female Eunuch’, 1970)? However Ensler’s play has been so successful that the author published a second book ‘The good body”. Again Eve Ensler interviewed many women, this time to talk about their body. Again here we have a shift of model of the world, expanding from a patriarchy, focusing on the phallic symbol, to an acknowledgement of a wider model of the world with another symbolic. Ensler’s conception of feminism is embedded within her life experience, and her texts are talking to women, at any level of society, who were until now afraid to speak for themselves. With the play, we’ve seen the creation of the V-Day movement, aiming to fight violence toward women; and statistics show an increasing number of women reaching women’s shelters or contacting rape crisis centre; a feminism simply asking for the right to be respected.
When feminist pioneers laid the ground for us to walk, they had no others choice than fighting on a man ground. Concept born in a male-dominated patriarchal society, feminism had to follow men’s rules to be able to exist and then win women’s right to vote, right to work, right to be educated, right to have access to contraception or abortion, right to have access to identity. Often feminist attitude were simply copying male attitude, and we are still seeing that copycat situation in today’s men and women magazine. They all speak about the same thing: fashion; gym generation; advertisements; sex. Within that context, Ensler’s books are refreshing: it’s only about accepting one’s body and the soul within, a step outside the known model of the world. This feminism is more about women finding who they want to be. Let’s just keep an eye on this… History has shown many cycles going from powerful women societies to powerless women societies. If our acquired women’s rights disappear, that newly shaped feminism can not be. The true intent of feminism is a search for an equality of right and choices, not the incorrect behaviour to look for an impossible equality of sex… Fact: biologically speaking we are not the same, therefore we can not be equal… we are complementary and as such of equal importance, a key difference in the linguistics. The interesting thing when you think intent is the ability to look at all information within the big picture. Often forgotten, some changes needed to allow woman an equality of right in the workplace, means a change needed to allow man an equality of right in the familyplace. A simple example is paternity leave… only once couple will be given the choices to have either father or mother to take a ‘family leave’ (equivalent to the longest maternity leave possible), would a better recognition of the mother in the workplace be possible. A model of the world then based on complementarity and collaboration, rather than competition.
© 2012 Florence Dambricourt – talking4good.com/