More than half a century after Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963, feminism has become masculinism. Feminists exhort every woman to have a career like a man, to work his hours, to do the job like him, even to make the very same career choices he makes, yet never give her ‘equal’ credit for her immense achievements as a mother, home-maker and the driving force of humanity outside the workplace. Nor do they exhort men to match her contribution there. ‘Gender equality’ has become a one-way street, a de facto masculinization policy designed to make all women do what all men do.
In a bold defense of women as a force in their own right, Roar Like A Woman calls for a world that values, honors and accommodates all that a woman is and does, inside or outside the workplace, equally as much as it currently values, honors and accommodates men. A woman is a valiant, dynamic, hugely powerful human being, with or without a career, and we need to start believing it.
HEROES AND ZEROES: How Feminism Writes Men Up and Writes Women Down
“Feminism cares about career not because it sees career as women’s work, but because it sees it as men’s work, and therefore as the pathway to self-actualization for women. That is what feminism degenerated into in the 1980s after the first great explosion of positive self-awareness in the 1960s and ’70s—a movement devoted to the self-actualization of women through man-identicality.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 35
Our careers were supposed to be a source of our satisfaction; instead, they have become the source of our self-worth. Working because we like the job or need the income is a mark of a successful woman. Working to secure our womanhood through emulating men is a mark of a powerless woman. It is time to drop feminism’s man-centered vision of what women should be. A society that accepts a woman as a valid human being, without benchmarking her against men, is one in which she is a true ‘equal’.
A Mother’s Working Day
“To the mother who treasures motherhood, feminism gives no praise, visibility or validation. On the contrary, it seeks to deprive her of this most vast and precious of human experiences, and treats motherhood as an irrelevance in her life beside the main and only game, that of working alongside men in a career, and bullies her back to the office.
To the mother who finds motherhood an ordeal, feminism gives no support, visibility or validation, either. Instead of doing all it can to relieve her of some of the burden (most obviously, by offering validation, and getting fathers to take a greater share of the burden), it treats a career alongside men as the antidote, and bullies her back to the office.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 50
Take a baby that cries all day. Add in a toddler needing minute-by-minute supervision. Stir in an extra pair of hands to support the carers of baby and toddler. Mix in the night-work getting up to breastfeeding, wet beds and nightmares. Top it off with cooking, cleaning, shopping, running errands and seeing to household administration. It can add up to 300+ hours every week. Feminism tallies it to zero. Mothering, say feminists, is a task so lightweight that every woman can do it at the same time as putting in a 40-hour week that we consider a ‘full-time’ contribution from a man. A mother possesses no legitimacy. Not until we reverse feminists’ misogynist blindsiding of mothers will women take their place in society as people who matter.
“GET A CLEANER”:
Putting the ‘Work’ Back in Housework
“Pulling strength and a sense of accomplishment from a well-run household is a kind of empowerment that the great majority of my female friends and fellow school-moms want, whether or not they enjoy the actual housework. It’s a power feminism does not want them to have, because it’s a uniquely female power. Feminism only wants women to experience the kind of power a man possesses, the kind that derives from the workplace.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 87
Home is the place where we step into our full souls, where we realize or conjure up our dreams and desires, and the place from which we depart to go out into the world in energy and hope. A housewife makes that place happen. Yet under feminism, the word ‘housewife’ is an insult. That is because a home is a feminine province, and therefore a place of no worth. All the work she does there is considered of little use, unrewarding, trifling in the effort required, and in need of no time allocation of its own to perform. If women are to live in a pro-woman world, that world needs to value the contribution of running a home.
9 to 3, NOT 9 to 5:
Work That Works For Women
“When women entered the workplace en masse some 40 years ago, we were supposed to see a seismic re-calibration of the relationship between her ‘private’ world of unpaid work, and his ‘public’ world of paid work…Masculine immunity from housework and parenting duties in the ‘private’ theater pretty much sailed right on. So did the arrogant male belief that (men’s) work in the ‘public’ zone of the workplace outranked (women’s) work in the ‘private’ zone of the home, only now feminism encouraged women to join in with that masculinist snobbery.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 117
It is over 40 years since women entered the workforce in large numbers, yet so many workplace structures that women could have expected are nowhere to be seen—whether it’s a school-hours economy, a ‘mothering comes first’ protocol that authorizes moms to splice mothering tasks into the working day, a simple play-lounge at the office so kids can drop by after school, or a more radical shift of jobs from 40-hour increments into 20 hours so that fathers and mothers have equal opportunity to work and raise kids. All these feminizations of work are missing. That’s because feminism refuses to supply them. Only when we build jobs around mothers and home-makers, equally as much as we currently build jobs around men with a 24/7 wife at home, can we speak of ‘equal opportunity’ for women.
I AM WOMAN: HEAR ME ROAR LIKE A MAN!
A Woman’s Working Style
“Way too many high-profile women are still channeling masculinity in their working style, at least to some degree. That may make them successful masquerade men, but it makes them failed women, tin women in a silly masculinist parade. To claim ‘success’ as a woman when we walk, talk, work and think like a man is defeat.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 159
From advice to “square your shoulders” to the ‘male drag’ dress-code of a business suit, women have been under pressure from feminism for decades to imitate a man’s working style. A truly ‘equal’ workplace doesn’t shut women out in this way – it enthusiastically welcomes them in with an exploration and celebration of the ways women are different to men. From emotionality to their prudence and caution, women have a lot to bring to the workplace.
THE LIFE-ONOMY vs. THE ECONOMY:
To Be or to Work
“One of the most damaging legacies of feminism’s masculinism has been the lionization of the ‘public’ world of men and the denigration of the ‘private’ world of women…When feminists swore vows to the previously male enterprise of career, they willfully migrated their approval wholesale to all things ‘public’, and rejected all things ‘private’. Under feminism, the ‘private’ has become a place of ignominy and utter unimportance.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 163
All the freedom and power outside the workplace that a working woman gives up is never noted by feminism. Yet so many of a woman’s contributions, proficiencies and pleasures manifest in the ‘private’. Not just her domestic work, but caring, whether for people, places or things; the magic spell she weaves to create beauty, whether of home, garden or the world around her; the community links she forges; her delight in a gratifying hobby; working for a cause that matters; and most importantly, the sheer exhilaration of the ‘being’-work that only a woman can do.
WHO’S A STRONG WOMAN?: Pulling off the Man-Goggles and Driving Like a Woman
“In place of respect for her own womanhood, a feminist feels shame. Shame is weakness. It is therefore possible to possess all the things feminism claims as ‘strengths’—achievements, fulfillment, financial independence, a bold personality, a capacity for standing up for oneself—and still be a shockingly weak woman…And by the same token, a woman can be without career achievements, be financially ‘dependent’, be shy, and refrain from standing up for herself, yet still be a strong woman.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 221
Feminists love to trumpet their ‘strength’, yet they lack the one thing that would render them strong. They claim it is crucial to have women ‘at the top’, yet their track record shows women at the top have failed to shape the world for women. Feminists claim to deliver ‘power’ to women, yet sneer at the powers women naturally possess, and seek to deny her many others—the power of policy-making roles in government for ordinary housewives, say, or the power of a financial system tailored for women, or the power of mom-and-bub rest stations in city centers with clean breastfeeding rooms. Nor does feminism honor the fact that work sits in a different place in a woman’s life than it does in a man’s life. So what makes a truly strong, empowered woman?
Making ‘Choice’ a Reality
“(W)e all still pretend to believe in the myth of ‘choice’. That sorry little sticking-plaster of a word is applied to the broken bones of women who make the go-to-work ‘choice’, struggling with unworkable lives as they madly try to shove themselves into an eight- to 10-hour working day designed for a man with nothing else to do, and then strive to cram their much bigger domestic and mothering workload into the marginal time-zones of early mornings, evenings and weekends designed for a man to rest in. Freedom to work like a man, without his freedom from child care and running a home, is not a feasible ‘choice’.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 223
Virtually every woman in the Western world swallows the feminist pill that says without a job, she sucks. And when we believe that, a career is no choice at all—it’s an imperative. It’s time to weigh up the pro’s and cons of all women’s many options, mother or child-free, working full-time, part-time or, heretically, not working at all.
SINGLE MOTHERS AND LITTLE MATCH GIRLS:
Why ‘Single Motherhood’ is an Oxymoron
“What do unsupported single mothers and Little Match Girls dying in the snow have in common? Answer: Both should be relics of a primitive Dickensian age, but one of them is still with us.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 245
It beggars belief that in a supposedly ‘liberated’ age, fathers are at liberty to desert the mothers of their children, with minimal support. Under feminism’s protection, deserting fathers enjoy immunity from ‘equal’ responsibility for caring for their family. Not until motherhood is seen as what it is – a super-full-time job that typically precludes a mother from earning her own living – will women be liberated from the crippling state of single motherhood.
A WOMAN-SHAPED WORLD:
Let’s Make It Happen
“(G)oing head to head with employers and policy-makers and the media and the public at large to make the world acknowledge a woman’s hard-working reality in the domestic world is a hugely daunting task…It takes a lot of know-how, courage and energy. It is the kind of task we normally leave to trailblazers. Trouble is, feminism doesn’t have any trailblazers. All the feminist ‘leadership’ has is followers of men, masculinist groupies who tip-toe along in men’s wake, putting their little feet in his big footprints.” – Roar Like a Woman, p. 265
If feminism is the problem, what’s the solution? We all have ideas on how to build a world that values and incorporates all a woman does and is. Let’s get to work sharing those ideas, at the office, amongst our friends, at mommy-meetups, in our social media networks, at the school gate, by the baseball pitch, at playdates—wherever we meet other women facing the same battles. When we take action and speak up, a world made for women is within our reach.