My Frustrations with the “Modern Woman” and Her Feminist BS (Inspired from “Ladies First” by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel)

13 Oct

ladies-first

The other day, I got a hold of a VERY inspirational book called Ladies First: 40 Daring American Women Who Were Second To None. This book is for intermediate learning, and I think it’s good for girls of tween-to-teen age to read. It’s just as impressive, if not more-so, than the American Girl book series. The real gem is that this book introduces girls to adult female figures who have done great things. This helps girls to realize their possibilities. And I just don’t want to say this to preach to girls about them thinking about their “future”. I literally think the book will inspire girls to “think” rather than “dream”.

I’m not the first to jump on the feminist brigade, but I have touched this base before:

To read more articles on feminism:

Frozen-A feminist movie?

Feminism, Chaivinism, and Misandry: The difference?

One thing I can agree with this book about is the fact that many of women’s achievements have been greatly ignored or scoffed at. As I flipped through this book, I recalled great forgotten figures in my own memory. This book focuses on 40 women who have been the “first” to do something. All of these women are of different races and social backgrounds, which makes the book even more appealing for me. As a woman and an African American, the book sparked my interest immediately. Some of my favorite female role models showed up. Wilma Rudolph, the “fastest woman in the world”. Madam C.J. Walker, the first African American self-made millionaire. Carrie Catt, lead woman suffragist at the Turn of the 20th Century. Hellen Keller, the first blind and deaf person to achieve a higher education. But then there were so many other women I knew nothing about that did so many exciting things!

It seems the only women recognized in the world are Amelia Earhart and Susan B. Anthony. Beyond those two, the other women fall behind. I like that this book brought out the record-breaking Nellie Bly, and her two major dares: She went undercover as a mentally insane person, enrolled in an asylum, and wrote about her experiences. She also took up a dare based off of the fictional book Around the World in 80 Days…and made it around the world in 72 days! Nellie Bly was determined to be a ground-breaking reporter, and was a great inspiration to me as a writer.

The other woman that struck my interest was a more modern hero: Katherine Switzer. She was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon at a time where women were considered too weak to run. She hid in a bush, and secretly ran with other men. She also dressed in “gender-neutral” clothing, signed herself up, which was against the rules, ran a race and won it. When she revealed she was a woman, she caused quite a raucous that proved women were capable of doing daring stunts.

Wilma Mankiller got a lot of heat for being the first female Chief of her tribe. I respect her so much. Despite living with racial prejudices, she had to deal with sexism and many other challenges.

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree. Her story is a bit funny. She tried to enroll in several colleges and was rejected. Colleges usually had a board of members, usually consisting of staff, decide who enters. But one college in particular let the students vote. When she signed up for their college, the students, being young, thought it was a prank. So they accepted her for laughs. Soon, they realized she wasn’t joking!  She became the first woman who could legally practice medicine.

So many stories, all entertaining and beautiful. I can’t begin to capture them all in this article.

Despite the beautiful stories and wonderful achievements of these women, something was missing. These women were the “first” of their kinds, true enough. But there was something I was looking for…and sadly, I only found that in one woman in this book. I was looking for ingenuity…INNOVATION. Basically, a female INVENTOR. We need more “Tinkerbells”.

The only female in this book that invented something was Madame C.J. Walker. She was the ONLY woman who took up something that was not championed by men first. And what she created was exclusively interesting to women alone and not everyone. To add, it held so much controversy because the Black Community at the time claimed she was trying to make black girls’ hair “feel more like white girls”. Many of her products helped tame and straighten black girls’ hair, and many black people felt it was an invention that promoted “self-hate”. Sure, Harriet Quimby was the first female to receive her piloting license, but did she invent the airplane? No. Sure, Nellie Bly wanted to be an exciting reporter (and she did invent Investigative Reporting, something never done before), but did she invent newspapers? No. Of course, we know that many women have been excluded from history books, even when they did invent something. Though what’s stopping us now, I can’t imagine…

What I was looking for was the recognition of females who really “broke ground” in something that had never been thought of. I was hoping that old stereotype of women not being able to think outside of the box, of being too “scared” to dream up new things, would be broken with this book. But sadly, it was not. It was my only disappointment with this book.

I’ve been trying to find books of female inventors as a project. Sadly, I have come up short. I have been looking for women who invented great things, not just for maternal needs (like Kitchen items, baby items, food, fashion, cosmetics, and other things that only interest traditional women and no one else), but something scientific, electrical, tech: things that interest all age groups, genders, and backgrounds. Things that are “cutting-edge”. Two women showed up: Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, a rod-like molecule that is used on bullet-proof vests, skis, radial tires, break pads, suspension bridge cables, helmets, and hiking gear. Another woman was Mary Anderson, inventor of the windshield wiper. Thank you, Mary! These are women that MEN can respect because they invented things that even MEN use today!

These women are hardly recognized for their achievements, and I thought it necessary to note them here. I am so tired of women being associated with only child-birth and the kitchen. Aren’t women capable of so much more? Maybe. Who knows. Maybe not…

Another thing that was sorely missing in this book was the list of YOUNG women. No one in the book was under the age of 50. Or even rather 60! It was almost as if progress stopped after a certain generation, and a new generation of dim-witted females rose to bring physical pleasure to men on television and movie screens. The large number of females became movie stars, models, and famous singers. In fact, the field is over-populated with women. The glam and glitz of everyone treating a female like a Goddess, her having to be lazy and taken care of by someone else, and the fact that she gets to wear so many “cute outfits” drew in women…and returned them to their traditional state-of-mind, though with modern masks. Then the rise in teen pregnancy outside of wedlock, which sadly stifled many young girls’ progress…Oh yes, and now the rise of dead-beats, since women can now “take care of themselves”.

I’m not here to scoff at these achievements. Being an actress, model, and singer is hard-work, and there are men there, too. But I find men to stretch themselves among a variety of talents (Sports, acting, music, science, etc), whereas women tend to limit themselves and follow each other…or rather, MEN. They are attracted to a life of ease, not a life of excitement, thrill, adventure. Men are naturally more curious about the world and our existence today, and it almost seems that all women are interested in is their boyfriend, his life, their social life, and what outfits they are wearing to so-and-so’s party. Don’t we think that the world of the celebrity is a little too over-populated with women? Perhaps, just maybe, we might be able to find women who, I dunno, want to try other things. Maybe I’m hoping for too much…Isn’t it fun to be both a celebrity and a scientist? With the money these celebrities make, I’m shocked none of them have truly taken advantage of this. No wait, I’m not shocked.

My big question is: Where are our modern women? Our modern women are a large consumer crowd, buying Galaxy and Apple phones and other products, spending hours on video games, and wearing fashions invented by WHO? MEN. There are more male fashion designers! What? But what have women contributed to the modern world? Modern women can no longer live on the breath of the women of the past. What are WE doing today? Are we progressing into greater women, becoming stronger feminists or…digressing from the main point of feminism?

When I look at women today, talking all of their feminist bull-crap, which usually surrounds how men look at them, I laugh to myself. Feminism today is nothing but a bluff. It’s a bunch of butt-hurt women, who before their precious hearts were broken by their “boyfriends”, they hardly thought of women empowerment. What they really become are female chauvinists and/or misandrists. You know why men today don’t respect women? Because women don’t respect themselves. They talk the “female game” after they have already burned their bridges. In fact, all of these women are just…TALK. What HAVE these women done to prove themselves? What amazing feats have they conquered? And I’m not scoffing at the small contributions that are not any less significant. After all, I’m a small contributor, as an educator (that’s how I’m able to get a hold of books). But maybe that’s just it. We women have been thinking too small. We’ve been too satisfied with our “small” efforts. We lack insight. We want to force men to respect us through loud words and open minds, but we have not applied anything to action. Are we too afraid to go against the grain? Are we too shallow to achieve a larger brain capacity?

I recently asked a question about women inventors on Yahoo Answers, as I was trying my project. One response I got was from a male. He answered: “The extreme lack of female open source programmers proves women’s brains are different. [There] is no discrimination in that work at home field.. Women just aren’t interested in tech.” Could I get angry at such a bold statement? Could I rant and rave that he is wrong to judge women, or that he is wrong about our minds being different? No. I couldn’t. You know why? Because logically, I have no modern examples to prove him wrong. Have women created I-pads, XBox games and consoles, or touch-screen cell-phones? Have women created social networking websites like facebook, youtube, and twitter? Are women today even INTERESTED in technology? NO. And yet, we use these things more than men do. Are we doomed to follow men the rest of our lives without inventing anything that interests the consumer world? Or are men truly the “greater” part of our species as humans?

Women hold on to child-birth as the beauty of their gender, but it is the very thing that links them to animals, not to a greater species more intelligent than a horse, cow, rabbit, or fish. Whereas men can say that their inventions and intelligence have proven them to be greater than any living male species on the planet. Have women thus shown men that they are inferior? This has to change.

It’s ignorant to say that men have bigger imaginations than women. But it appears that men are more than likely to follow through with their dreams and make it a reality. Women will only invent things that are practical for everyday living…but not usually something for entertainment, like video games. BORING.

Come to think of it, as much as women shop, I’m surprised that there haven’t been any women who have created major department stores or super markets, such as Walmart…But I’m a little more relieved that women haven’t fallen into that stereotype. Still, it just further proves that women have hardly invented anything noteworthy outside of items that are exclusively used in the home, and have just ridden on the success of men.

The goal of this article is to bring new thoughts on women’s progress to the plate, and inspire a stronger future for women.

My Experiences with Woman-hood and My Push for a Better Female Experience

If I sound like a self-hating female to you, you might be on to something. Currently, I can’t psycho-analyze myself and expect to be objective, but I can tell you that my experiences with the women in my life and my own womanhood have been nasty.

I grew up with a mother who was girlish on the outside (into fashion, make-up, etc) , but not fond of the main fundamental points of woman-hood: child-birth. My mother did not plan to have me. When she was pregnant with me, she was in her early twenties. I know, many women have had children much younger than that. But the thing is, my mother was not ready to have children. She wanted to have fun and live life. My mother even told me she thought of dropping herself down a flight of stairs so she could miscarry. I know, who would tell their children this? She says that I have grown to be a blessing in her life as an adult, but she always discouraged pregnancy. Not only does my mother suffer from a “youth syndrome”, where she never wants to be called grandmother, but my mother also wants to live her life and has made it perfectly clear she will not support me by baby-sitting or taking care of any child I accidentally have. At first I thought to myself, “All parents say that at first”. But then I think about how she’s always treated children…She really always felt children were holding her back. She got rid of the two children who came after me. She just couldn’t be pregnant. My mother was into her looks and having fun. She always dumped me and my sibling with baby-sitters. I never bonded with her. You know how mothers usually hold their newborns in their arms once they have them? Not my mother. She refused to look at me until later. This is what she told me from her mouth. My mother went out partying the day after I was born and stuck me with a baby-sitter. I’ve never had a mother who “bonded” with me. I don’t even understand mother-daughter bonds. I always think, “Won’t they get sick of each other after awhile?”

Thus, she instilled her own ideas in me. She thought of pregnancy as a curse that would end a young woman’s life. She thought of pregnancy as something miserable, something to mourn about. Well, for her, it was. She was always deathly ill. She almost died having me. She was always tired, and everything was expensive. She felt she lost herself as she felt she had to take care of someone else. It always felt like obligation rather than love…I grew up hating woman-hood.

Eventually, I began to form the same thoughts. However, I would always think to myself. I would always say, “If pregnancy is this horrible, and having children is such misery, why was I born a woman?” I used to be so jealous of men. I was jealous of how they could have sex with anyone and never get pregnant. They wouldn’t need “protection”. Men could have many children and never know them by name. And it wouldn’t matter if the men accepted responsibility, except to the women stuck with the children. I grew up thinking that men lived a lucky life. Nothing could ever hold a man back from living life. In this way, I envied the fact that this made men young forever. They never had to take responsibility if they didn’t want to. And of all the moral BS you can throw at them, it was still their choice. For women, it never felt like they had a choice. It just felt so limited. With men, life was just pleasure. With women, it seemed pleasure always came with pain.

I didn’t grow up viewing babies as humans with feelings. Women would tell me how beautiful it was, but due to my upbringing, I just couldn’t understand it. Child-birth is beautiful? It seemed stressful, hard, and limiting to me.

Even as I grew up, this up-bringing has stayed with me. But now I’m older. I no longer believe that everything my mother taught me was right. My relationship with my mother grew very tense as the beliefs I developed began to differ greatly from my mother’s. First, I grew into a tomboy, which was a far cry from my prissy mother who just wished I would wear a dress and heels sometimes. My appearance was the only thing she paid attention to when it came to me. And at these times, she found many moments to look down on me and execute her critical judgment. Thus, I ended up resenting all the glitz and glamour that most women were into. Fashion was not fun or a way for me to value myself. It was just another chore. So no, I don’t believe in dressing up to impress men. If I liked a guy, I would just tell him. If he likes me for who I am, just like I to him, then he’s worth my time. When I sense superficiality, I’m gone…I’ve been taught all men are superficial…So, I just stopped caring altogether. This was a far cry from my mother. It was her only expectation of me, and it was the one expectation I had a hard time meeting.

Second, I began to work with children. I’ve seen that children are a responsibility, but I’ve also learned that they can be your best friends. Like any human, it is about how you treat them. Children know when they are loved. Through examples of some good mothers, I’ve seen that children haven’t limited them, but helped their mothers in many ways. Still, that in-born fear stays with me, and I just can’t have children.

Well, literally. My doctor told me that if I had children, I wouldn’t live. I’m frail. Woman-hood has cursed me. My own menstrual cycle has been monstrous. It has been so severe, that I become extremely ill. I’ve fainted twice in public during my school days. I’ve…gruesomely…puked. It was also these moments that I envied men. Why were women stuck with such awful bodies? My self-hatred grew. Why couldn’t we share the pain?

My own hatred with the women in my life and with my own woman-hood has put distance between me and other women. It caused me to distrust women greatly. It’s the main reason I can’t be a lesbian, even if I tried.

Don’t worry. It’s no better with men. Though I’ve always gotten along with men better than women (which is why I enjoy their company more), I never trust men, so it’s hard for me to be deeply involved. I’ve hurt some feelings. None of the father-figures in my life have been trust-worthy, from my father on down. They have all been liars and cheaters. I was even told that “All men cheat” by several men. At one time, this made me question why any woman would want to deal with men at all. But in my family, I have found some good men and bad. This was more than I could say about the women in me life…

However, as I grow into a mature adult, I realize there are ways to resolve my relationships with the genders, and thus humanity. I’ve thrown myself into studying the genders. I’ve found that both genders have a lot to work on in order to iron out the kinks created by the ignorance of our ancestors.

I am determined to create a brighter future for women who want more out of life, who want to strengthen their self-esteem and confidence. I am determined to look at woman-hood as something to be proud of. What I wanted to know most, what I needed to resolve in my heart, is whether our bodies limit us truly, or whether we are as capable as men?

Through the Ladies First book, I’ve seen women with large families…and yet they have still done great things. Many of these women have had husbands, have lived hard, simple lives, and have had much opposition. Did it stop them? No. If they didn’t let anything stop them, what stopped my mother? What is stopping women now? Nothing.

I’ve realized that all of woman’s obstacles has made woman a strong gender. She is responsible, driven, and practical. She is capable of many things, despite her own weaknesses. I realize that this marginalized position gives women the chance to do great things. Where a white man will just be labeled the first person if he is, a woman can be the first person and the first WOMAN. Men will only be recognized if they are first. But if a woman does it first, and a man does it second, he won’t be recognized as the first man to do anything. I know this sounds unfair, but it just shows us that maybe men are not so lucky after all, even if most of them feel lucky. Her obstacles truly makes her worthy of respect when she achieves something because we know how hard it must have been for her. 😉 So much so when this woman is of a marginalized ethnicity. This is why I now appreciate my woman-hood.

But there is always room for improvement. Perhaps there is more women could be doing.

What is Stopping Women Today?

1) Child-birth

The greatest excuse women have is having children. Many women give up their goals when they begin to start a family. And hey, some women choose a new passion in life. And that’s alright. But why is it that men always continue their careers after they have families? This doesn’t apply to all women, but a good number. I will give an example. Lacy from the band Flyleaf was the lead vocalist. She made the band as great as it is today. The moment she got pregnant, what did she do? She quit the band. She gave up her career. If she’d have been a man, a new baby wouldn’t have stopped her. And heck, there are a lot of celebrities who have children, but still continue their careers, like Beyonce. I know raising children is a hard job as it is. But I don’t think it’s any harder for women than men. Men have it built in their mind-sets that they have to provide for their families. That should be built in a woman’s mind-set, too. Even if you have a husband who takes care of you, you have to think of “eventualities”. I know it’s scary to think about, but sudden deaths and lay-offs occur. If you haven’t developed a skill, how will you continue to help your family survive when the Mr. can’t? It’s something to think about. Single mothers, you are capable of so much. It’s amazing that you are the main provider as it is. Still, ladies, don’t let it limit you from shooting for great.

2) Physical Appeal

Ladies, I know appearance is important to a certain degree, but it isn’t everything. Women need to actually stop focusing on their appearance, and yes, risk losing the interest of their partner. We were not born glamorous. We were not born fake. Don’t take away the beauty you were born with by obsessing over looks. You will expose the real man when you show the real you. These music celebrities focus so much on their appearance. They dress up in glamorous clothes and make-up and this influences young girls to think that appearances are important. It’s alright to do this. It’s not wrong, it just doesn’t give girls many options in the world. I think other professions should be promoted more in the home, on the internet, and on t.v. screens.

3) Traditional Viewpoints

There are still women out here who believe that a woman’s place is at home, taking care of babies, and in the kitchen. I was watching Wife Swap on Lifetime the other day, and I just couldn’t believe there were so many women who believed women should be at home, while the man should be a “man” and work. Well, in my opinion, a man who stays home with the kids has just as much of a job as a man working with the public. And I feel if it makes a man less valuable, it should make a woman less valuable if she sits on her butt all day, too. After all, a human at home is no different, no matter the gender. If you belittle a man who stays at home, wouldn’t that mean you are belittling most women who stay at home? But that’s a subject for another day…

There are also women out here who throw me the bull-crap that women are more nurturing, and thus they have to give up their careers when they have children. They believe it’s the woman’s job to bond with the kids. I disagree. It’s BOTH parents responsibility to bond with the children, but it’s also BOTH parents’ responsibility to house, clothe, and feed their children. Some women want to be spoiled and pampered like children while men never get to experience such privileges. And many of these women don’t appreciate their “servants” aka men. This is coming from one episode on Mom Swap that sickened me. This spoiled rich lady had her husband bring her breakfast in bed. He did all the cooking, all the cleaning, and he worked. And all she did was shop, whine, and boss her husband around! She acted like a child! I couldn’t even believe she was an adult! And she thought her life was so hard because she had to spend time with her daughters…

4) Laziness

This brings up my next point. Some of these women today are just plain lazy. They would rather let the men invent everything and they just enjoy the ride. Women are too tired to work their brains.

OVERALL,

What’s missing in our world are women who have the guts that the women in this book have. The ability to dare. As modern as it’s supposed to be, feminism has only been an idea. I have yet to see any women today stepping up and trying to push the envelope. Where are our inventors? Where are our modern women who have an imagination that thinks larger than our existence? Where are our women who push for the respect of the world?

Hopefully, in the future, we see a female topping Apple products. I hope to see a woman create a major video game title. I hope to see a woman burst out her “inner child” and create a more advanced future. Perhaps that woman could be me. I want to do more, just as I’m encouraging others to.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about modern feminism and progress. If you know any modern women who have made the same differences, please tell me them and I will take back what I have said. Though I’m still pushing for more women to do great things. Walk the walk, don’t be about talk.

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One Response to “My Frustrations with the “Modern Woman” and Her Feminist BS (Inspired from “Ladies First” by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel)”

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  1. The Bechdel Test Amendment: The Bly Test | Generation Next - 2014/10/24

    […] Feminism Today: Is it Real or Overrated? […]

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