Being a Woman

A man and his son are involved in a car accident.  The man is killed instantaneously, but his son survives, and is admitted to hospital with critical injuries.  When he is taken into the operating theatre, the surgeon takes one look at him, and says:  “I can’t operate.  That’s my son.”  How is this possible?

This little anecdote might appear perplexing at first, but the answer is obvious, and serves to highlight the implicit prejudices society holds against women.  The surgeon is the boy’s mother.  It’s interesting to observe that, in cultures which do not esteem the role of surgeon highly, the answer to this question is easy, as the job is often performed by women.

There have been many different interpretations of feminism down the years; from focussed campaigns on single specific issues such as the right to vote (many suffragists were fairly conservative in their view of gender roles); to an outright rejection of gender distinctions and the roles attached.

The common theme running through all these versions is the aim of gender equality, or the idea that no person should be restricted by their gender classification.  The gender with which a person identifies should not be seen as denoting their societal role, or setting a marker as to what they can or cannot achieve.  This definition itself goes to show how women are tacitly undervalued in everyday society, as, while ‘feminism’ is the view that men and women are equal, ‘masculism’ is the idea that men are superior.

What problems do we face today?



1 in 4 women will suffer domestic abuse at some point in their lives.  While it is often stated that 1 in 6 men are victims of domestic violence, this statistic fails to acknowledge several contextual differences between the two.  Firstly, it does not take into account different forms of abuse, so sexual abuse is overwhelmingly committed by men against women, but the distinction between this, and other forms of assault, cannot be appreciated by looking at these statistics alone.  Secondly ongoing abuse is not distinguished from one off incidents, and the severity of the attacks is not taken into account.

That is not to trivialise violence perpetrated against men.  It merely aims to highlight the fact that domestic violence is an issue which disproportionately affects women.


Dodgy media, and cultural stereotypes

We still exist in a society which judges women according to their appearance as opposed to their achievements.

When women do succeed in fulfilling the cultural template laid out for them; when they do appear attractive and available, they are labelled as ‘sluts’, and told that they are to blame for sexual harassment and rape, since by dressing ‘provocatively’, they are ‘asking for it’.

Society imposes one set of conditions on women, then rebukes them for adhering.

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