“Women need men like a fish needs a bicycle.” This popular feminism slogan was attributed to the radical feminist, Gloria Steinem for years. Until 2000, Gloria Steinem admitted to Time Magazine that this phrase had been coined by Irina Dunn, a Australian educator in 1970.
The content of this post was originally written to respond to blogger, 废话多多‘s essay regarding women’s independence(s) and happiness. In my response, I presented my counter points and sharing my thoughts about my beliefs on this thorny topic.
A couple of days ago, I asked blogger, 九月, to be a bit more bold when giving her cogitation and sharing her critiques. In turn, she challenged me to be a brave critic myself. Her request kept me thinking: Maybe I have not been a courageous dissident as I should have. But I surely did some of my shares during these years. The piece below is one of the proofs. (Guys, please keep it in mind, women are the majority dwellers in this city. In addition, a big portion of them might be either hard-core feminists or sympathizers due to political and social regimes they grew up under. :))
Does Women’s Independence Guarantee Happiness ?
For some reason, I am afraid that what you are trying to “preach”here, in essence, seems giving no real substantial advantages than the dogmas other popular authors advocate yet denounced by you in your article. In my humble opinion, although your arguments may occupy higher political ground apparently in terms of generating some sound bites, your proposed solutions might actual do little real services to those women who are seeking true happiness and satisfaction from their careers, relationships, marriages and social mobility.
In your eyes, women’s psychological/spiritual independence is THE factor to preordain women’scontentment and fate, providing them with wisdom, self-esteem, grace and charm as you concluded at the end of your essay. Really, is that simple ? I beg to differ. I think women’s independence in social, political and financial realms may indeed pave the road and facilitate many women to reach their potentials, getting handsome rewards and gratifications than that otherwise. However, to claim that independence is the real only answer to a complex objective (which would often be very subjective to each female's interpretation at the different stage of her life) might oversimplify the issue not to mention the possibility of exposure to an unsustainable hope.
I am not sure if that you have heard about Gloria Steinem, aradical, militant styled women's Liberation activist. Once she said “Women need men like a fish needs a bicycle.” suggesting men are expendable to women’s need and satisfaction. She believed once women receive their equalities and independences from the society, they would be contented perpetually. Yet, the long history of women’s liberation has indicated her prediction was inconclusive and premature at the best. The irony was that a well-known feminist like Gloria Steinem who repeatedly pointed out the unfairness of married women and proclaimed “marriagewas the model for slavery law in this country" during her advocacy career finally joined marriage institution she was furiously against. Unfortunately, her husband, David Bale died few years later from cancer.
The point I’d like to make is that chanting the slogans or declaring the easy solution to women’s better life may be easy to say then done. Single recipe or formula approach may actually do harm than help, in worst case scenario, it could even blindfold many seekers and lead them to the “slaughter house.”
In my mind, each woman is different and unique in her own way, so to find the happiness she deserves may need her to work hard in multiple dimensions including comprising and collaborating with her man diligently and compassionately. Many time she may have to and keep refining her strategies at different points to pursue her own happiness or address her needs in her relationship, marriage or career. In other words, maintaining the independence may be a part of the equation rather the whole resolution or a done-deal. I think that there might be no a-one-size -fits-all formula for every woman when it comes to happiness even many still believe there is.
Oh, no mean to depress any one here, like it or not, some of women or men to that matter in this world may never be truly happy because of personality and some other constraints placed onto her or him no matter what may have been done. It is just a fact of life, it may be cruel and unfair, but it is the reality we face every day.
I also like to point out that I do agree with you belief that each woman should go after her individual destination and content, but I’drespectfully disagree with your final conclusion derived from your premises laid before that , which I found are lack of convincing supports to the conviction.
I’d like to apologize to you in advance just in case my viewsmay offend you. In the meantime, I do appreciate your time and efforts to share your thoughts with us, inviting a discussion for presenting different voices.
1) Minor changes were made at the posting time.
2) Photo comes from internet.