I recently met someone whom I hadn’t seen for almost a decade. When we were catching up and talking about what we had been up to for the past 10 years, she looked very uncomfortable when I asked her what she did for a living. Not wanting to pry, I didn’t really push my point and it was only when I mentioned our chance meeting to a mutual friend of ours that I became enlightened as to why my old friend had been so uncomfortable with telling me what she had been up to because, well, she hadn’t been up to much in the way of gainful employment.
The world is a funny place. Fifty years ago no one would have batted an eyelid about a woman marrying a man 20 years her senior and spending her day strolling from one beauty parlour to the next, but nowadays, the minute someone says that they’re a kept woman (or man for that matter), everyone bays for blood. It’s strange because had she told me that she didn’t work, I personally wouldn’t have thought much of it but my other friend’s reaction told me everything I needed to know about what standards society at large has set for women these days.
Every woman has the right to live her life the way she pleases without being discriminated against or judged for her choices
It’s a dangerous tightrope that we are walking on because it’s one that allows for very little choice and variety when it comes to life choices. Of course, many people will speak about the fact that they would hate to be dependent on another and the fact that they would die of boredom if they didn’t work, but that still does not explain why women who don’t work and are financially provided for are viewed with such disdain and branded gold diggers. This is literally the first time in history when a woman has been deemed fit to work as much as her male counterpart and yet if one was given the opportunity not to get up at 6am every day and join the long ant trail of sad cars to work, should she really refuse it just because others are uncomfortable with the very notion of it?
Many might argue that no person should want to live off another regardless of how well-off they are and how generous their partner happens to be, but really and truly, isn’t the main point of work that of bringing in enough money to live comfortably? Personal fulfilment can be achieved through means alternative to work, which can still provide profound satisfaction.
When I brought this up with my friend, she was very quick to say that a true feminist would never be comfortable with such an argument but as far as I’m concerned, the feminism I believe in is the one where every woman has the right to live her life the way she pleases without being discriminated against or judged for her choices, especially by other women. If there were to be a baby involved, few would bat an eyelid that this woman spent day after day at home, but the fact that instead of working, she spends half her day at the gym because she is able to, seemed to irk my friend to no end.
At the end of the day what things like this come down to is our ability to live and let live. Not everyone’s path is the same: a little kindness goes a long way.
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