Sitting in an aisle seat with my legs gracefully crossed, I wonder if I would be landing a different person; I have chosen a seat next to two feminists. I come to them sad and in denial: a single woman yearning to lose her individuality. I can hear myself questioning the education, the freedom, and the career I am working so hard for whenever I start to crackle under the stress which is why I worry about spending a one hour flight next to these women.
My fears are taking form as they tell me about the seminar they are going to, “Women and the Other Half of the World”. I hear myself telling them about my disapproval of feminism and dream of one day undoing everything they have done to this world in the past century. I study and work and aspire to be alot one day, but sometimes, I think about the days many years ago, when women like me would be married and living in a house with a cook and a maid. I would have parties, while a piano instructor leaves to allow my French instructor to fit a lesson in before my friends come over to paint. Ballroom dancing and afternoon tea parties sound so much better than midterms and deadlines. This sounds quite logical so I decide to share.
“What happened to music lessons and tea parties?” I say. “An elegant lady has fun and takes care of her children…as elegantly as possible, while the man does the work and takes all the stress.”
I think they might have misunderstood my overly passionate response, which is why they are laughing with looks that contain nothing but pity and fear. The things that go on in the mind of a feminist are obvious, so I allow myself to enlighten them about their opposition. I explain the difficulties women face in society because of their forced involvement in it. It is interesting how a heated argument can take the form of an attempt at conversion. Generally, I try to distance myself from such discussions. ‘It is only the close-minded who ever argue’, Oscar Wilde , The Picture of Dorian Grey, page 9, line 3.
“I don’t support politics, hence I don’t bother to vote and become part of this institutionalized, corrupted illusion of order and democracy called a government. Exactly how many lectures about the Suffrage will be delivered to me before I can peacefully practice my political ideologies and not vote?”
I can see the sudden interest in their eyes; they are no longer laughing, but thoughtfully showing signs of curiosity. They bore me with a series of questions that are typical in arguments on the matter: What about individuality, or the independence to chose your own path in life, instead of letting men make decisions for you? Don’t you wish of one day seeing equality between the genders? It is all very cliché.
“Of course not. I want no such thing. Is that what you want? Well, make those kinds of decisions for yourself. Why is it that feminists have set out to make their beliefs and dreams of equality a standard, when women like me want nothing of the sort? Let the men take care of the business and worries about finances. If he’s not man enough to provide for his family, he shouldn’t start one. This should be women’s concern regarding the government: men should receive a legal certificate for marriage, after qualification. How hard could it be? And if at some point in life things go downhill, the woman can always take up sewing! Nothing is more important than children, they should get priority. Our wages are low and circumstances difficult in the work place anyways. Why create this norm for “working women ” when the men are screwing up the world all on their own? If I refuse the guided, minimal education of a university, which I think everyone agrees is a complete waste of time, and if I refuse to take myself out from under my father’s wings until I marry, I am incompetent and stupid. And it’s your fault. You haven’t liberated women, you’ve trapped most of us in your dreams of looking down on men.”
Although I might have exaggerated a bit, I think I proved my point, for they sit silently in thought with open mouths and immobile tongues. I have succeeded. But as I’m watching them lost in their own heads, I hear an unfamiliar voice. “You’re right, I have been working hard all my life and trying to keep up with my husband and the whole equality. Our lives are as mediocre as they were the first day, and my children blame their problems on our lack of attention.”
I realize our conversation is well extended to the radius of 7 rows and my feminist friends are still silent. A rebuttal is nowhere in sight, and the seminar doesn’t look like such a good idea for them. I am content to know that I am stronger in my opinions then before. Fasten seat belt sign is on. Very smooth landing, the pilot must be a man, but the two feminists have landed different people.