When I saw the topic prompt this week I struggled to think what to write. I mean I have never really considered myself a feminist, at least the ‘bra burners’ as my mum called them, and although I have had some people ask me how I reconcile being a submissive wife when countless women have fought for me to have the same privileges as men. Indeed, how can anyone want to be a submissive wife when it seems to reject the concept and right for female equality? Let’s start with a definition; what is feminism?
Dictionary Definition of Feminism.
Definition of Feminism.
The belief and aim that women should have the same rights, power and opportunities as men.COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers
Many people would associate the beginning of feminism as when the Suffergettes campaigned for the women’s right to vote. More accurately called the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was formed in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst. However some years earlier in 1863 the Edinbugh Seven, as would become known (Mary Anderson, Emily Bovell, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Sophia Jex-Blake, Edith Pechey and Isabel Thorne) had fought for the right to attend university. They were not allowed to obtain a degree at the time but they were awarded posthumously in 2019. In 1877 legislation passed allowing women to attend university.
While in theory we are all entitled to the same things, in practice the world is a bias place.
The most powerful and influencial positions within the western societies are the heads of parliament. While the UK has had a female prime minister there are not equal number of male and female politicians. In December 2019 (the last election) 220 women won seats in the house of commons, 33.8%. 1997 saw the biggest rise, the number of female representatives doubled from 60 to 120 and made up 18.2% of politicians. Was this increase to do with feminism? I don’t know, but it was a positive move in the right direction.
According to the Hampton Alexander review following their investigations of 100 of the biggest companies in the UK only 6 had female CEO’s. When senior executives are added into the mix the percentage rises to 28.6% In 2016 the review had set voluntary targets to the companies listed in the FTSE350 to have 33% of their board of directors, executives and senior managers be women by 2020, they were still quite a ways off this last year.
But, what stops women becoming political or other high career path like being CEO of a FTSE100 company?
I do not think there are the same opportunities for women, and I include trans-women in this statement. I can’t tell you how many employers have asked me about my future plans regarding having a child, something which is in fact illegal. They do it by asking if I have children (not that it matters of course – they will say) and when I say I am not having any more I am done you can see me getting mental ticks.. won’t be taking maternity leave.
If a woman does decide to have a baby (or adopt) it is still assumed that women will be the caretaker, rightly or wrongly, every single woman I know with children has to take time off work when their children are ill, not their partners. Mr H and I would take it in turns so we had equal time off, but the school would always call me first despite Mr H working much closer and they were told again and again to ring Mr H.
A few years ago I was made redundant and when I asked on of the directors for a reference (it was a 4 choice questionnaire, he gave me top marks for everything except flexibility, where he marked me in the middle saying, I can’t put that you are because you have children. Bearing in mind my children were 18 and 24 they didn’t really have any bearing on my flexibility, and the number of times I had worked late, and at weekends obviously had no bearing.
Is feminism still relevant?
Personally I am not convinced that feminism as a separate movement is relevant any more. The bias of the world in all areas needs to be addressed. There needs to be a fundamental change in the way we ensure everyone has the same rights and opportunities not just women. I believe instead of dividing our world according to religion, skin colour, sexuality or gender we need to review our laws and practices to be completely and fully inclusive and because feminism is about the rights of just one group of people, that of women, it should no longer have a prominent place in political activism. I would go one step further and suggest that Egalitarianism should be the aim of all who believe we should ALL have the same rights and opportunities..
Having said all of this, does being a submissive wife reject the values that the feminists of the past fought for? I do not believe so, for at the heart of the dominant submissive dynamic, lies consent and respect. The Dominance exists at the pleasure of the submissive, and only for as long as the submissive desires it. The reality is a D/s relationship is one where the submissive holds the power and control, as they can end the agreement at any time with the utterance of a safeword. There are submissives of all sexualities and genders too which makes the argument itself a moot point. Furthermore, I believe the only people who believe the D/s dynamic rejects female equality, when applied to the dominant male/submissive female model, are those who do not understand what D/s truly is. A partnership between equals who have negotiated a specific set of rules for their mutual enjoyment and benefit.
This post was inspired by Wicked Wednesday #419 ‘Feminism’, click HERE to read more posts on the topic.