The idea we had of sharing responsibilities and resources communally was lost from the political agenda. Competitiveness was the new ideology, and so workplaces made it clear that workplace success required longer hours and less intrusion of personal issues. So women were welcome in the workforce if they aped male models or accepted that to work shorter hours meant they accepted lower status jobs. In a form of equity, men who take on care responsibilities that interfere with their job availability, are also penalised.
Freedom from the likelihood of pregnancy is also essential to the liberation of women and to ensuring they can access educational and employment opportunities. Indeed, the surge in the contribution of women to western societies during the past 50 years has been largely attributable to the availability and uptake of the contraceptive pill. Women are half of our human resource and yet many in the developing world are disabled by repetitive pregnancies and lack of appropriate care. Thus fewer pregnancies mean a healthier mother who is more likely to survive to see her children reach adulthood.
The characterization of fantasy as “boy fiction” is offensive to the genre and offensive to women. That we for the most part will only read what Oprah has picked, and especially if a woman wrote it, is a stereotype that is not only demeaning to women — it is also untrue. Like Bellafante, I can offer personal anecdotes to back up my assertion, some of which involve stunning young women dressing up as Martin’s characters at Worldcon. Sometimes in very tight spandex. But that would be beside the point.
When we categorize books as “boy fiction” and “girl fiction” it’s just another way to promote gender stereotyping. It is predicated on the assumption that people will only read books that reflect their personal experiences, so therefore women will only deign to read about dating, shopping, and kitchen intrigues. This is patronizing to women and undermines one of the core purposes of literature, which is to take us on voyages beyond the scope of our personal experience so that we expand in our understanding and capacity for empathy. And I think most women get this; I think most women are willing to read novels with male protagonists in worlds apart from their own. To imply otherwise is an offense to the gender.
What these women are doing is brave and what they are seeking is right, but the effort belongs to them. I am moved by it and I support them, but I want to underscore the fact that this is not coming from outside of their country. This is the women themselves, seeking to be recognized.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton • Speaking about last week’s protest in Saudi Arabia, where many women took to automobiles to violate one of the country’s sexist laws, which prohibits female drivers. Clinton is clearly stressing the internal origin of the protests, as the claim of foreign interference is one that Saudi Arabia could potentially get a lot of mileage out of. Regardless, she’s voiced her support, and we feel nothing but pleased about it — protests against laws like these just need support, pure and simple. source (via • follow)