I am the first to admit that I don’t see eye to eye with my Grandmother on my Mum’s side, even my other Grandmother and I- although we get on better- only really have quite a superficial relationship. And I think I’ve finally gotten to the bottom of the issue.
It’s freedom. Whilst CUB has a relatively large feminist agenda, and we publish a lot of content which bemoans the lack of equality and the problems that face the modern woman, we often overlook the things that we, as women, have already achieved. My life is full of so many more opportunities than either of my Grandmothers could ever have realised and I take so many of them for granted. So let’s count some of them.
In 1947 there were just over 500,000 women attending university, by 1988 this had risen to over 7 million (in the US), and in 2013 The Times published a survey that showed UK female undergraduates actually outnumber males at elite Universities.
2) Not being married. Yet. Or at all
The decision to legally tie myself to another person has become my decision- it’s not something mandated by society or expected of me (to an extent) before a certain age. Also thanks to recent freedoms I am able to do this to whomever I wish. No matter what genitalia they have.
Something I have celebrated in the 3 years since I moved out and began living on my own. Admittedly, yes, my little flat in Whitechapel is a bit of a hovel and it’s not the nicest neighbourhood. But it’s all mine. And I get to live my own life and just be accountable to myself. Not my parents, or a partner, or the world.
Like #2 the decision is mine whether or not I have children, and how I have them and when I have them. The taboo about using contraception has been long lifted and there are so many options for modern women that it’s really inexcusable for anyone in the Western world to claim they don’t have access or a choice. Pulling out is not a contraceptive, ladies. Think on.
I don’t have to just be a receptionist. Or a nurse. Or a teacher. Whilst the pay gap still exists, and there are fewer high ranking opportunities for women than there are for men. The chances are still out there, and I get to determine whether I take them.
I can have as much, or as little, of it as I want. And bonus, it doesn’t have to be with someone I’m legally contracted to love.
I can find out who played that guy in that film in seconds. I can look at what some girl I went to school with had for dinner last week. And then I can instant message or email her in seconds and have a conversation from miles away instantaneously. Keep your time machine.
I guess because of a lot of the freedoms I’ve already listed, it leaves me with a lot of free time to do the things that I actually want to do. There isn’t an expectation that dinner will be on the table at 5pm when my husband gets home, or that my children have to be in bed by 7pm. So if I want to stay in the library until 8, typing angrily or making notes- I can. Or if I want to spend the day watching an entire series of a TV show, or badly made chick flicks that all have the same plot, I can do that too. When you take the necessities like eating and sleeping out of the way, there are about 15 hours a day that I get to dictate entirely what I do. Some of which have been decided in advance, with part time jobs, University and other commitments but when it comes down to it- I am the only one who is choosing what happens in my life. And that’s an amazing privilege.