February 19, 2005

Interesting programme on the feminist movement!

I have just watched a really interesting programme on TV about the feminist movement and how it has actually hindered older generation women. The basic concept of the programme was that the fight for gender equality over the last thirty years has seen some great achievements but the women who fought so hard for the improved equality now see themselves facing a different kind of injustice which is a direct result of their campaigning.

The show started off with an interview of a 48 year old woman who had a high profile PA job but was unfortunately made redundant. When she applied for other jobs in the same field she found herself being constantly rejected in favour of younger prettier girls despite her being more than qualified for the job. As a result she ended up having to settle for a lower paid, less qualified job in a supermarket so that she could pay the bills.

After this they did a little experiment where a load of business students had to choose who they thought was the best candidate for a job between 8 different, youngish women with similar experience and a ninth with a little more experience but aged 53. Rather surprisingly the 53 year old woman was almost instantly rejected by everyone, despite her experience, simply cause of her age.

The feminist movement has achieved a lot over the last thirty years and has helped women get more out of life than they would have done 10, 20 … 50 years a go. It has given young girls the self belief that they should be equal among men, and rightly so. However, the movement has been a disaster for middle-aged women. The equal status for women only seems to be working for the younger generations. The movement has also caused the attitude of young girls to change from dolls, ponies, and so on to make-up, looks, boys etc.

This has seen a dramatic increase in the cosmetic and plastic surgery industry as it appears that to get somewhere as a woman you have to be slim, pretty, good-looking etc. The scary thing is that girls as young as 11 start to think about plastic surgery as they think it is more important to be pretty than to be a nice person with a good education. Even more surprising was that while young girls look up to women who are pretty, young boys look up to older men who have skills (of any kind) rather than their actual appearance.

I do think it is quite strange that this is happened and I think it goes back to what I said when I got involved in the big "gay movement" debate a good few months back. No one can take away the immediate benefits of all the major equality movements of the past and present but there comes a point when you have to be more careful with what you do because you can come to a point where you create a different kind of inequality that could be that little bit harder to get rid off.


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