Saturday, 8 March 2008

Happy International Women's Day!

Dear Readers,

Happy International Women’s Day! In honour of the event, I am going to blog ‘why I am a feminist’.

Hope you have a good day!
Feminist Avatar.

Why I am a Feminist?

In Scottish culture, there is a tradition of strong women. It has been suggested by at least one male historian of Scottish popular culture, that we have a legacy of a matriarchal culture. English women sometimes remark to me that they are surprised by sights of Scottish men pushing children in prams, while their wives march ahead. It is a standing joke that young Scottish women on nights out will dress scantily despite the rain, sleet and cold that dominates the Scottish weather and it is pointed to as a sign of their hardiness. Historically, English commentators have pointed to the public presence of working women and remarking at the nature of the heavy physical work that women performed. Women were an important part of trade with many men inheriting their trading rights in Burghs through their wives. Until the nineteenth century, women in Scotland did not take their husbands surname, which the English pointed to as a sign of their independence. Women in Scotland have a reputation for strength, hardiness and independence.

I come from a family of strong women. My grandmothers on both sides were both working women who pioneered, with their husbands, different charities. They had the practical skills, the drive, the labour and the vision to ensure that these enterprises succeeded. There is a tradition of several generations in my family of women risking their safety and security for their dreams or to ensure the safety of their family. I come from a family of strong women.

There is another tradition in my family. There is a tradition where the men in my family were recognised and awarded for the successes that my grandmothers helped achieve, while they were overlooked. There is a tradition that the women in my family, despite being strong and successful, did not hold the power or influence of their husbands. This is also true of Scottish culture. Women are strong , hardy and often quite independent, but there is no matriarchy. Until very recently, women had minimal political power; they still earn significantly less than their male counterparts; they are still objectified in the press; they are held to a different standard by the criminal courts and by society; they are still raped and abused without receiving justice.

I am a feminist because, despite being a strong, successful women, society does not consider me equal to my husband.

No comments: