This was my status the other night, after an eyeopener discussion on a woman's status which really made me consider where women stand in today's world.
I wish women were respected more and objectified less. When we allow those closest to us to dictate our choices, we relinquish control over our own lives. When you defer to others about your beliefs and rights, you are essentially giving away your own power. Your life is your own, your body is your own, nobody gets to make choices for you or force you to bend to their will.
I am a strong woman. I stand up for what I believe in; I have to acknowledge that I often come across in a way which rubs others the wrong way. I'm okay with this because I realise you can't always get along with others and that sometimes in order to educate people you have to push them out of their comfort zone and rub them the wrong way so that they start questioning their realities.I want to inform people on issues which are often controversial or difficult to digest, so I have become adept at not letting criticism get to me. (And I sometimes consider buying clothing like this because it nails it. http://rlv.zcache.com/the_truth_will_set_you_free_tshirt-p235714501406448758t5hl_400.jpg)
This week, women on Facebook made a stand and used pictures of themselves feeding their babies to show that breastfeeding is not obscene. Almost every profile picture was a beautiful statement of breastfeeding love. It was a lovely way to normalise breastfeeding.
A few hours into the campaign, a woman on my friends list had to remove her picture. We all know Facebook is discriminating against breastfeeding women. However, it wasn't a faceless Facebook employee who forced it to be removed. It was her husband. The same man who fathered the child she was nourishing in her picture- threatening her if she did not remove it.
I have to admit, I was shocked. Not only shocked that a man would threaten a woman over her breastfeeding picture, but shocked that a woman would remove it because she was forced by her significant other. Shocked because I really considered that women would stand up for what they believe in. Shocked because her husband's justification was simply an objectification of his wife- exactly what the campaign was trying to address. How can women rally against Facebook's backward policies when their own partners are sexualising their breastfeeding relationship?
However was really surprised me was the vitriol directed at me when I expressed my dismay and disgust at the emotional abuse and manipulation this woman was being subjected to; after her husband justified and objectified and laid the blame at the feet of other men who would objectify her:
its about MY WIFE doing something that i found way too confronting
i did ask nicely about 5 times. if she cant get the message .. then fuck why am i married!
i kind of regret i said it and forced it upon her. but it comes down to respecting someone elses wishes.
if you are going to blame anyone for sexualizing the breastThe basic gist was that other men would find her picture sexual. Other men would see it, save it, use it as a sexual tool. This man made his wife remove her picture 'in case' other men would find it sexual. He did not ask her to remove picture of her children which a Paedophile could save and use. This had less to do with someone saving a photo, and more to do with someone saving a photo of his wife, breastfeeding openly. His perception was that other men would be turned on by this photo. This was a little too close to a woman being forced to wear a Burqa because other men might find her attractive. He was uncomfortable with her picture being up, so he asked her 5 times, then threatened to remove her Facebook account- as if she was a child and he was her parent. Where does a man in Australia get such backward ideas about his partnership and respect? Where does a man get the idea that he can force his wife to bend to his will and that it is acceptable to disregard another human being's choices?
blame the women that get them out in magazines.. blame the marketing companies that ram it down men's throats. blame society for painting the picture that is "sexuality"
there's a fine line and to most men that line is fucking invisible
Strong women should stand up against men who dominate women and use their gender to wield power in relationships. Men should not be threatened by strong, empowered women- nor should other women.When a woman talks of her anger at being forced, those around her should support her and encourage her to stay true to her own principles. And yet, in this case of a man forcing his wife, and his wife expressing that she was not happy, other women gathered around to pat his back and congratulate him for being strong, while also applauding her for taking her poor husband's feelings into account.
I find it ABSOLUTELY disgusting that ANYONE is disrespecting ♫♫♫♫'s husband for voicing his concern and how dare anyone try to belittle her respect for her husbands feelings.
You're an inspiration as a respectful woman and as a dedicated mother.
I, on the other hand, who questioned his motives and what gave him a right to force his wife to do anything, who supported her in her frustration that her husband would threaten to delete her Facebook account, became the subject of their anger. How dare I question his motives? How dare I ask relevant questions about the inequality in their relationship? These women acted as if he has the right to force her to do anything if he felt uncomfortable with it, that it was totally normal for a woman to have to defer to her husband and accept his insecurities.
Eath Motherhoood, if I were ♫♫♫♫, the only thing I would be deleting is my FB friendship with you for treating my husband like total shit and being a straight up bitch to him. Why on earth you would think it's okay to talk to someone's HUSBAND on THEIR fb status like that is beyond me
its extremist mothers like you that give breast feeding a bad name and manipulate other people and bend them to your will
You truly give a bad name to mother's like me who breastfeed and love to be an advocate, Thanks for fucking up the movement!I never really considered the sexism in Australia; my mother is a Feminist and I grew up considering that equality was fairly visible in Australia- except in business and government. I considered that equality was the norm in relationships and families, that women were respected in their own homes for the amazing people they are.... And then my bubble burst.
I know I am rambling here, but it is difficult to understand why women use phrases such as "my husband wouldn't let me", "I have to use my other account so hubby doesn't know", "my husband doesn't think it is safe", "I just couldn't, he wouldn't agree." Why are women still subjugated? A man works to provide for his family, he's wonderful. A woman works at home to raise her family and she is valueless? It is 2010 and women still don't feel entitled to a part of their husband's paycheck, women still don't feel they can make choices about their bodies without the approval of their partners, women still feel the need to submit when faced with a husband who insists she adopt his choices.
For every empowered woman, you will find 5 powerless women who promote the patriarchal stance that women should defer to their husbands, support them regardless of the support they receive, 'look after' their husbands when they are being emotionally starved. As 'this is being a good wife.'
An empowered woman is not a threat, she is a blessing and an indicator of how the world should be. It is 2010 and women are still considered inferior, malleable- if they are empowered they must be relentless Feminists or men-eaters.... Why is it that an empowered women is so frightening to the world at large, still?
For centuries women have been dominated, forced into submission, controlled by men. Why should we as women accept that our beliefs can be negated by what other people wish us to believe in? Where would you ever see a man accept this?
I will talk about this more in another blog, I feel disillusioned enough already on this topic. I'll leave you with one of my favourite quotes: