Some Thoughts on Sparks’s wonderful post from Yesterday
Two years ago, I took a psychology class that covered psychology and gender issues (male and female). One topic that came up over the course of the semester was women’s work.
We as a society devalue women’s work or what is considered traditionally women’s work. It’s not just men or the “patriarchy” who do this. One of the biggest culprits is feminism itself.
If this shocks you, then you haven’t been paying attention. Some aspects of feminism can be quite misogynistic if you dig deep enough. The main trope of this misogynistic brand of feminism is that your worth as a woman is higher the more you act like a man.
Traditionally female pursuits were looked down upon as I was growing up. Knitting and crochet–only for old ladies. Choosing to be a stay at home mom? You were repressed.
The latter was said in all seriousness. The irony of a movement telling you that you had a choice now putting you down for the choice you made was lost on a lot of people.
As I was growing up, during the 1970s and 1980s, I was told that I would have a choice. I didn’t have to choose between having a career and having a family. It was no longer one or the other.
Except it still was. By the time I graduated from high school in 1988, I was expected to have a career. There was no choice. When I had my son and decided to stay at home with him for a few years, I was looked down upon for doing so. Except I was exercising my right to make this choice I was promised that I could have that my mother and my grandmothers and those before me did not have.
So now back to Demelza. Sparks is absolutely 100% correct in her post about how strong of a character Demelza already is.
I come from a psychology background. I learn about human behavior and why people behave the way they do. Behavior is influenced by biology and environment. We become conditioned to react to things and behave in certain ways without even knowing why we do this. And then there are all of those neurotransmitters. Behavior is complicated and I will leave it at that.
But a person who is bitchy, does things out of spite, is rude (no, I’m still not past the scene where she starts to tear Ross a new one just after he found out his aunt died. My eye has stopped twitching when I think about it, though. It’s progress.), and yes, selfish, is not a strong person in general. I find this modern version of TV Demelza to be rather immature. As Sparks points out, she has accomplished quite a bit and given her age and her beginnings, that is quite an accomplishment. But because those achievements do not fit within our modern definition of strong, they are devalued so the writers can take an already strong character and make her weaker.
It reminds me of this:
Somehow, I doubt that our prototype of the strong, feminist ideal, this “modern” woman, would be able to do what Book Demelza or any other woman of that time for that matter does on a daily basis to keep her children clothed and fed and help keep the roof over their heads and to be the emotional heart of the family. I also think that these same women would be in for a big surprise about married couples, too. While the laws may not have recognized women or given married women certain legal rights, that did not apply to the relationship dynamic between husband and wife. John and Abigail Adams comes to mind.
We do need to stop devaluing traditionally female pursuits. I believe in equality. However, I don’t want to be just like a man. I am not a man. I am a woman. I should not be made to feel ashamed of being a woman nor embracing my femininity because a subsection of feminists project their own self-loathing onto everyone else.
That is not equality. If feminism is supposed to be about equality, then we have to stop devaluing women’s roles and calling that “equality”.