|And, if you're not doing what you want to, then has feminism not worked?
Straw man argument? I'm sorry, but you're trying to turn my statements into something that clearly they were not.
If you're not doing what you want to do, then you should look at why you're not doing it...don't blame the feminist movement (qualifier: "you" means the general reader and not specific individuals"). Blame the individuals who told you that happiness and success can only be achieved in one way or that you were wasting your life by not following through on certain pursuits.
|Pretending it's been all positive for women does everybody a disservice. I know that I had more than one woman try to push me into things I didn't want to do (university for science, pure maths or engineering being the big one - while engineering had some appeal, and I loved math, I had less than no interest in going to university), because I "owed it" to all the women before me who had fought for my right to do that. How giving up my right to decide what I want from my life, to pay a debt to women who fought for my right to decide what I want from my life makes any sense is something I never understood, personally.
Point is, your right to decide was in place and you exercised that right. There is a huge difference between being told or encouraged to undertake certain pursuits and being forced
to take on a pre-determined role. No one is telling you: "No, you are not permitted
to decide for yourself because you are female or that is not your given role in society." I have had zealots of varying ilk tell me that I'm going to hell or that if I really love my country I would do "xyz." I take them for what they are: zealots. They're a pain to deal with but ultimately I'm responsible for my own choices.
People tend to focus on whole "sacrifice family in the name of career" mantra instead of where we are now as opposed to where we were 25, 50 or 100 years ago. Point is, feminism (as a general, long-term movement
dating back to voting rights days) elevated women from second-class status to individuals with full rights. There was a time in our very recent history when women couldn't vote, women couldn't sign contracts, women were made to leave places of work when they were married or became pregnant, women were paid substantially less than men for the same work (still an issue in some places), lack of flex-time in the workplace (if one had to work), absence of the right to initiate divorce, the lack of right to seek redress for domestic violence, and the list goes on and on. There was a time when women couldn't run in marathons in the US (as late as the 1970s) - not because they were physically incapable - but because they were women.
That is why I say now: feminism has allowed me to do what I want to do. I'm not talking about financial obligations or what not that may force you to do something you don't want to do. I'm talking about the freedom to make your own decisions with respect to how you manage your life. I'm not disputing that the feminist movement over the years has been fractured and diverse, but to call out one aspect of it and then criticize the entire movement is a bit much. Without it, most of us would not have the choice to make life decisions on our own. That's why when I hear people say something to the effect that "feminism did more harm than good," I have to ask, in what way? Because it has caused us to feel insecure in our choices or that we're ridiculed for our choices? I'll take the freedom of self-determination any day over fear of what other people might think of me and my choices. We are all benefiting from feminism whether we want to admit it or not, especially in terms of civil rights, which I think is at the real heart of feminism.
Sorry to get off-topic. I'm sorry, Stormbride, that you were surrounded by people who wanted to make you feel inferior for your choices. I count myself lucky to have not been subject to such ridicule. As someone who has considered herself a feminist for a long time, I would never dream of undermining another woman's decisions based what I think is best. I think a lot of my peers are on the same page.