Monday, April 10, 2006

Women's Freedom

"Freedom, freedom, open your wings on us".  This is the chorus of an old samba, which title and performer I cannot recall.
Before shocking you all, I warn:  yes, I know, this phrase also belongs to the Republican Anthem's lyrics.*
Much have been said about equality between men and women.  Nevertheless, women's right to freedom is seldom commented.  Everybody repeats that equal rights have been already achieved (!), there's a talk about "post-Feminism", but there certainly are events in which inequality is evident, taking dramatic proportions when  woman wants to be as free as  men are.
We are not yet.
Feminism has brought us suffrage, equal rights (in most western countries) guaranteed by the constitution (in countries with a codified constitution) and the law (civil and common law), access to labour market and many achievements.  However, most of Feminism (at least Feminism in Brazil) has not yet dared to break up with certain domineering concepts about women, that constraint and restrain our freedom, like:  women's idealization, compulsory altruism, consecration of maternity and the reproach of women's individualism, of sex and pleasure.
We have not been raised for freedom.  We are not admited  neither in collective, neither in individual exercise of freedom.  Our mothers were against our freedom.  Most women are against their own freedom.
There has been much ado about breastfeeding's nature - is it a right or a duty?  Women have the right to choose whether to breastfeed, whether not to.  However, there are women (many of which believe themselves feminists!) who do not agree with this statement.  Yes, women have the right to put themselves first in their own lives, above motherhood inclusive.  Yes, they have the right to be individualistic, and State, society, family and friends ought to respect such choice.
Women against freedom hate free women.  The she-wolves.  The untaming.  The wild and almighty hearted ones.
Our hearts are our freest part.  In it, we can be and do everything!
Women who are freedom's enemies are those who do not understand this.  Their hearts cannot be or do everything.  Maybe their hearts are capable of nothing.  Who are them?
Those who, afraid of having homosexual sons, raise their boys as rude "machos";  those women  who say, "I'm not a feminist, I'm feminine";  those who find acceptable that women be discriminated on the grounds of their  marital status, divided between “mrs” and “miss”;  those who are against equal freedom to both sexes;  those who raise their sons and daugthers differently, granting the former much more freedom;  those who believe that mothers must put their children first, above themselves, and that women cannot be as individualistic as men;  those who speak in such a honeyed tune that sounds humiliating;  those who accept discriminatory and humiliating rules for women.
They are, above all, those who don't want to change, paying freedom's price, which is to take one's own history in the hand, to take care of themselves and not be sustained by a man.  This demands hard work, study, courage, work, work, struggle, struggle.  How can a woman, for example, become a judge, if she doesn't work, but depends on a man?  How can a woman complain about politicians, if she fulfills her mouth to say she hates politics and snorts when her father, husband or companion watches a TV program on politics?  If she despises suffrage, painstakingly obtained?  There are lasses who'd rather give their voters' id to their "lords" to vote for them.  If a woman believes herself as superior by adopting dependant and alienated behaviors such as these, she's a freedom's enemy.
The world is full of women that feed sexism's fire, with attitudes compatible with femininity's negative stereotype.  And how many reactionary women there are!  They were the ones who took Brazilian streets, in 1964, in “Family’s Parades With God For Freedom”.  This helped the coup d’État that stablished a military dictatorship which would last more than 20 years and make hundreds of fatal victims.  Once a man phoned me to tell me he knew more women “right to lifers” than men.  If this perception is real, I cannot say.  Years ago, when Ellen Gracie Northfleet was the only woman Justice at the Brazilian Supreme Court, she voted against the possibility of interrupting pregnancies of brainless fetuses.  In April 2012, the Brazilian Supreme Court (with 2 women Justices now) stated that such interruptions did not violate the constitutional right to life, in an 8 to 2 judgment.
Very well.  We must take Feminism over, but to make it into a movement  effectively committed with women’s liberation;  also, with men’s liberation.  Our Feminism has not gone beyond half freedom’s way:  it ought to break up with women’s and men’s idealization;  it has to propose female’s condition overcome, so we can reach human condition.  How come, Simone Andréa?

Women have to stop wanting to idealize themselves, trying to prove men that they are “superior” to them;  that they are “more sensitive”, “less selfish”, “more solidary”, “stronger”, because this only brings us more burden and less actual freedom.  I’ve already given an example of this, “breastfeeding dictatorship”, because women have not yet dared to break  up with female’s condition mandatory altruism, with motherhood’s consecration.  Women and men have equal right to enjoy life.  We ought to take a brave position on this, repelling any purity our santity’s ideal, but admitting that we are human beings, sexual beings, and that this is important for us.  More:  we have the right to choose whether we will do it, with whom, when and where.  We have the right to live free from prejudice and gender-based discrimination;  the right not to listen to sexist jokes or alike;  of being treated as adults, not as big children;  of being competitive, ambitious, aggressive;  of daring to fight and win.

Ultimately, we have the right of being regarded as human beings, not being dichotomized as “saints” and “she-devils” as we’ve been so far:  on the one , the friendly freedom’s traitors;  on the other, those who dare to be free.
*Anthem composed to celebrate the Proclamation of Brazil as a republic, which occurred on November 15, 1889, overthrowing the constitutional monarchy of the Empire of Brazil.