So, this morning, between watching the penultimate episode of Spooks and switching off the telly to go back to work, I happened to catch a woman I didn’t recognise on ‘This Morning’ saying “I’m not one of those women’s libbers”. I watched another few minutes, it was on one of those vital issues of the day about whether a lady likes a gentleman to offer her a seat in the tube/train (dear god, who cares? it’s not 1973 which was the last time a) this question and b) that phrase were in current use.)
However, just in case anyone is still unsure, here’s the answer – if I’m old, ill, obviously pregnant, carrying three children (all of whom can sit on my lap and none of whom needs a seat of their own when there are needier/older people standing btw!) – then yes, thank you, I’ll be grateful for ANYONE’s seat, man, woman, dog.
But the thing is, this woman IS a ‘women’s libber’, she just doesn’t know it.
here’s why :
– the right to write in her own name (unlike those Brontes and many before)
– the right to vote (obvious I’d have thought, but let’s have it here anyway)
– the right to make her own reproductive choices (contraception and abortion rights have always been and still are fundamentals of ‘women’s lib’)
– the right not to have to marry the man who raped her (see Leviticus)
– the right to wear what the hell she wants, be it trousers or miniskirts or a bridal gown or masses of makeup or none at all or full goth attire (even though the actual Goths were famously blonde, but there you go)
– the right to drive
– the right to work outside the home
– the right to call the work she does inside the home ‘work’
– the right to have a baby ‘out of wedlock’ and the right to keep that baby if she so chooses
– the right to live alone and not be accused of being a witch for doing so
– the right to buy a home in her own name (not her husband’s or her father’s)
– the right to have a credit card in her own name
– the right to expect the same pay for the same job as a man
– the rights to maternity pay/leave; paternity pay/leave
– the right to marry (or not marry) who she wants not who her family want her to
– the right to keep her child when her husband or partner leaves her
– the right to keep her child when she leaves a marriage or relationship
– the right to request (and hopefully get!) child support from the man who fathers her child
– the right to write/direct/produce whatever theatre/tv/film she likes (though looking at the listings in the Radio Times, the West End and movie magazines, it might be hard to believe)
– the right to say actually, how well I make a Victoria sponge isn’t really the best judge of my worth as a woman (I prefer my orange polenta cake …)
– the ability to tell her sons that they have as many choices to be as many different things in their future as her daughters … that the old fashioned roles for boys and girls do not have to be followed unless they’d like to, that boys can be nurses and cooks and primary school teachers and girls can be doctors and chemists and head teachers and politicians, that ‘women’s lib’ has been hugely liberating for men too, freeing them from the absurdly constraining gender-imposed roles to be who they want to be as well.
– the right to support all those other women (and men) in all those countries where little or none of the above applies.
There are, of course, so many more. Feel free to add your own favourites in the comments.