How Far Have We Really Come? Part 2

by on Sep.10, 2009, under Uncategorized


Once again there is uproar. A female student cries out, “That’s crazy, look how far women have come. How can you suggest that?” A calm classmate cuts in, “No, I agree with her. It’s not fair that housewives aren’t respected.” One of the male students shouts out with disgust, “All that will lead to is a bunch of over-protective parents.”

Students continue to shout back and forth as the chimes from the clock tower announce that it is fifteen past the hour and class is over. We leave the class, still on fire with ideas. I find it exciting that for once, a professor has been the one to make comments that, although completely logical, proved inflammatory in a classroom full of intelligent, liberal, and “politically correct” students

What she said was important because it brought up an unpleasant reality. Women have “come so far,” we are now using these “freedoms” as a way of pushing ourselves back into oppression. In our fight for more, we have weighed ourselves down with more than is logistically possible. We no longer have the option to choose guiltlessly to be a mom or to be a wife. We now must be a wife and a mother. We must have a college education and a career. We need to join the PTA and the church women’s group, and must also have time to “renew our spirit” with Oprah—all before 6 so that we can have dinner ready before the evening Pilates class. We are expected to be well read, informed, and involved on all levels.

Success is something personal and individual. It is tailored to ones upbringing, goals, beliefs, and desires; therefore, what I might consider the utmost accomplishment might be merely a step on the way to another woman’s dream and for another, completely unfathomable. The problem with standardizing a common ideal for all women is that it then becomes unrealistic for all women. Accordingly, even if we have “come a long way,” it ceases to be that much of an accomplishment because we continue to want more.

At its inception, the women’s movement was a noble and essential one. It has allowed women to realize their true potential and achieve immeasurable accomplishments. However, in the fervor and excitement of eliminating boundaries and breaking through glass ceilings, we seem to have lost the initial goal. We remember that we want equality, but we’ve forgotten the reason why. In the beginning, the stifling inability to be truly happy led us to begin the fight. Frustrated, we saw men able to make their own choices and define their own existence, and we wanted this.

We have now reached a point where women demand so much from each other. Our victory over male oppression has now turned into a struggle against an even stronger opponent: ourselves.


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