In the Blog
Blessed are we
This isn’t motivated by anything in the news, anything in the world of ideas, or anything that has happened to me. This is just something that has been kicking around my head for a while, that I just feel the need to say.
We talk a lot on this blog about what is lacking in our lives, and in the lives of women all over the world: equal pay, reproductive choice, justice and support for victims of sexual assault - this list is long, depressing, and infinitely worthy of our attention.
But as many barriers as we still face, I don’t want any of us to forget just how incredibly lucky we are.
We are - arguably - part of the first generation of women (if not the very first) to know freedom like this. It is unprecedented. For all of human history, stretching back tens of thousands of years, has any group of women had so many choices open to them? And, for that matter, do most women on this planet today share this luxury?
We are no longer confined to the garden, the kitchen, the nursery or the church. We can go to school and have our thoughts taken seriously. We can forge creative careers and inspire others with our art and music. We can work in the corporate sector or (gasp) even politics.
We can choose to stay single forever without being labeled “old maids” and inviting society’s pity and scorn. Or we can choose to settle down young and stay home with our kids (and men can choose the same) - there is no shame in doing so.
We aren’t confined to the single role of a lifetime of monogamous marriage (or a lifetime as one of many wives), though we can choose it if we wish. We can divorce our spouses. We can choose to be with two men at once. We can choose to be with women and - legally - raise children with them.
We can have purely platonic male friends without raising eyebrows (this is one of my favourites).
We can move halfway around the world from the place of our birth - without being steered by a husband or father. We can travel to the very ends of the earth. Or we can stay close to home.
We can live by ourselves, enjoying quiet nights in reading to our hearts delight (and enjoy a plethora of forward-thinking feminist mags and blogs). Or we can go out and dance till dawn.
Feminism, to me, centres around the beauty of freedom, and choice. And look at how much we have.
We have a long way to go before we live in a truly equal world, and we still face a litany of hurdles. But not one day goes by that I try to remind myself of how lucky I am to live right here and now. I choose to be single. I choose to wait before becoming a mother. I choose to be a writer and photographer. I choose to travel. I am incredibly lucky.
My mother always stressed the importance of counting your blessings. When I was an unhappy child I rolled my eyes, but now I share the same belief. It’s the only way to live. None of us should take what we have now for granted - otherwise, every generation of women before us who fought for what we have today did so in vain.
But of course, with choice comes difficulty. It’s not always easy. When so many avenues are always open to us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, confused and sometimes regretful. When I’m crunched on a deadline, when I’m suffering from a hangover after a late night, when I’m a bit lonely without a boyfriend, it can be tough. But always, I try to remind myself that all those things are the consequences of my freedom, and ultimately, all came about from my choices. So I treasure the stresses and the difficulties, really, because you have to take the bad with the good.
I just feel the need to say this. Not with the intention of lecturing to you all. Just with the hope that we’ll all remember to, every once in a while, reflect on this. And smile.