'Women', a documentary series about feminism was recently aired on BBC4, although it would have done well to have the mainstream audience that BBC1 attracts. It is a fascinating and poignant look at the rise of feminism and what it means for women today. Marilyn French, Susan Brownmiller and Germaine Greer talk about their experiences and the motivation to write their books. Hearing French talk about the lack of opportunities for women after university (jobs were listed in terms of sex) is a clear sign of injustice and the need to fight back. In my mind these women are heros of our time, by challenging socially accepted and expected views of gender they initiated wide spread change.
A recent study by The London School of Economics suggests that it will take 150 years for women to reach equal pay in all areas with their male counterparts.
In Engles documentary one man likened the male and female relationship to that of a cat chasing a mouse, reinforcing the idea of the male predator and the submissive female. He stated it as if in were a fact, suggesting that a woman is a consumable object, part of the food chain. This kind of attitude cannot prevail; women are not born better at housework, it is a role that is projected upon them. It is a dangerous and damaging stereotype not a biological fact.
'Do women have to be naked to get into the Met.Museum?' a poster by the Guerilla Girls highlighted the fact that less than 5% of the artists in the modern section are women, but 85% of the nudes are female. Women are regarded as an object of male gaze, something to be appreciated aesthetically. This attitude has pitted woman against each other for years, competing for male attention as if beauty is the only worthwhile aim in life.
I was once told, "You're a smart girl, you should learn to shut your mouth" to which I replied, "I'm a smart girl I will learn to open it." The time is now.