An Earthy Mother sharing her experiences in today's world....

Friday, March 12, 2010

Empowered women and the women who despise them.....

 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.

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 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.

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 breast
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
The 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?

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:


  1. WOW!
    What a load of BS!! I know people like this. I lost a friendship, a life long friendship (21 years), with someone because of her husband, because she had to bend to his wishes and worship his beliefs. Because in the end, after their 9 years of marriage I discovered he had no respect for me, after he verbally abused me over the phone when she dared disagree with him over something to do with their child and something to do with me.. sorry my own rant there but yes it makes me SICK to my stomach that women still act this way.
    Its not the 1950s. Women have a voice!!

    I'm really sorry you were abused for being a strong person. I know those type of people. They attack because they are afraid. They are afraid to think for themselves, to LOOK at themselves, to know who they are projecting themselves to the world as.

    I'm glad I was born with a backbone. Very few people have been able to tell me what to do in my life, sometimes to my fault, but most times to my gain.
    Being a strong person I just can't fathom how others surrender their power to others.
    Its a very sad thing.

  2. Good on you for standing up to the inequality and those who enable it, Earthy!

    YOUR movement Dana? really? thats interesting....sounds rather exclusive, yet here I am and I still have breasts....hmmmm

  3. I find it so amusing and sad that people need to justify themselves so much that they seek out people's blogs and make negative comments.

  4. I do believe I used the word OUR.

    Hopefully you will all see the truth with your own eyes. I'm all about the empowerment of women and breastfeeding but, I do not think it's right to put down a women because she decided to compromise with her husband. It's called a marriage, you pick your battles. He had valid points and how it affected their family. It's no one else's business and then to come on here and blog about it. What kind of "friend" does that. I hope you're all not "friends" because one "wrong" move on your part and your facebook page will blow up with rude comments about you and your significant other by this "women".

  5. I was waiting for that, Dana.
    Not having seen the actual page with the comments, I can only go on what I've been told.
    I feel that 'Earthy' commenting on her friend's fb page is different to you coming over here to her blog to stir up drama. Thats my opinion and I'm entitled.

    Also, you need to check your grammar. If you want to be taken seriously you should at least *try* to make sense and get the name right - Earthy Motherhood.

  6. It's sad really, how many many women still allow their husbands to dominate them. Some of them even seeking domination. Must be something in their education.
    I recently got a PM on facebook by a woman saying she liked my (nursing) profile pic and found me very courageous, that her family wouldn't allow her to post a nursing pic.
    I responded saying that it is sad that so many women go unsupported in their nursing relationship to their child.
    She answered that her family was supportive, because whenever she d go out with baby, they would hold the blanket over the babies head when nursing (uhu supportive??? more embarrased, no?)
    I could go on and on here, but I just wanted to say I understand your frustration, I get it all too often too, it's so tiring to have to fight the windmills all the time, some times I just want to give up.

  7. my mom had a woman working for her whose husband drank. one day he returned home after 3 days of no contact and she was very upset. she asked him where he had been for the 3 days and he beat her and kicked her, breaking her jaw and 2 ribs. she was 5 months pregnant. when she went to lay a charge the woman officer who she was speaking to said 'how dare you question your husband? you're a sotho woman, it's disgraceful to behave like that, you deserved to be hit.' this was 5 years ago. things in south africa have not changed much.

    if we dont stand up for our rights, who will?

  8. Wow, all this makes me very sad.

    I tried to approach the whole thing about NIP with some humor on my blog. Using satire I tried to draw a comparison to old fashioned priorities in modesty. Too bad that husband isn't standing up for his wife and his child's need to be able to eat freely more than he is the "right" men have to objectify women.