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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'True' woman = modern feminist?

In fact I wrote the previous article was because I was moved by an article in one local newspaper (published on Sunday December 21) where the journalist narrow-mindedly stated that women who choose to work in public sphere are outdated since they follow the ‘obsolete’ women movement; while women who choose to stay home, either to work at home or be a full housewife are applauded as ‘modern feminists’. Moreover, the journalist cited that a ‘true’ woman was a mother who realized that her noble and respected roles were to deliver a baby, breastfeed him/her, raise him/her by themselves, without involving anybody else.
In Indonesia where people still easily ‘mislead’ with the word ‘true’ (e.g. what is a true woman like? What is a true man like?), applause to women who choose to be a full housewife as modern feminists as well as ‘true’ women, will easily force women only to have one ‘voice’. This eventually will lead women back home only because they covet to be labeled ‘modern’ and ‘true’ women.
Indeed there are several reasons why women work outside. In this era where the soaring prices of everything are getting crazier and crazier every year, many families need two breadwinners—both husband and wife. Besides this economic reason, the article stated two others: to make use of the diploma certificate women get and social acceptance.
Referring to Abraham Maslow’s theory, there are five hierarchical needs someone needs to fulfill. They are safety, security, social acceptance, self-esteem and self-actualization. People can refer the economic reason to work to the first and second needs. People need to fulfill their basic needs: food, clothes, and shelter. People need to feel secure that the following months they have pay to cover the first need; by having an established job. Social acceptance the article mentioned refers to the third need Maslow proposed. People need to be accepted by the environment—both by the family members and society. To make use of the diploma certificate belongs to the fourth need: self-esteem. After struggling in college, women feel esteemed to use the diploma as well as the knowledge for their own advantage or society’s. The need to fulfill self-actualization apparently was forgotten by the journalist. Not all women are destined to actualize themselves as domestic creatures—as cook, breeder, breastfeeder, raiser—if I may use harsh words. Many women think that they can actualize themselves in public spheres too. It depends on their call.
As someone who loves writing, I opine that to actualize myself, I need to write.
As someone who loves cooking, a woman absolutely will actualize herself by being an awesome cook.
As someone who loves gardening, a woman will actualize herself by making her garden full of beautiful flowers.
As someone who loves working behind desk, a woman perhaps will actualize herself by working in a company.
As someone who enjoys field job, a woman perhaps will be able to actualize herself by working as a miner, a civil engineer, etc.
As someone who enjoys challenging job, a woman will probably be able to actualize herself by being a pilot, astronaut, naval engineer, etc.
And so on.
As long as women have full command on their own way of thinking and body.
As long as women make their own choice what to do in their life.
Without being labeled as obsolete or modern feminists.
A woman is a true woman without being limited as someone who has delivered a baby (isn’t it God’s secret why some women cannot get pregnant to have their own babies? Obviously a woman has full right to choose not to adopt a baby only to be called ‘mother’ and get ‘true woman’ label.)
A woman is a true woman when after delivering a baby, she chooses not to breastfeed the baby with her full consciousness. (Some cases do happen when the babies refuse the mother’s milk, or the mother’s breasts cannot produce milk so that the mother has to give ‘factory’ or cow milk to the baby.)
A woman is a true woman when deciding to go on working outside the house because that can make her achieve her self-actualization, without being burdened guilt when assigning a nanny or a babysitter to take care of the babies.
A woman is a true woman when choosing to write instead of to cook during her valuable spare limited time.
The same ‘true’ as women who have been applauded as modern feminists as well as true women by the article.
And I have been fussy. As usual. LOL.
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(I wrote this exactly on the mothers’ day. I am optimistic that I am a true woman as well as a great mom for Angie although I don’t cook for her everyday; although I am not always available whenever she needs me; although oftentimes I choose to go biking/swimming on Sunday morning instead of accompanying her watching CONAN or making her special breakfast.)


Hendrawan said...

Actually, I disagree??

Rob Baiton said...

Is the women's movement obsolete as it relates to women who go out and work? Wow, I learn something everyday.

Nothing but admiration for women who manage to work out and work in. That is to say, women who earn a living outside the home and then work at home for nothing but the love of a grateful family.

Interesting read.