A mass march was held in four cities of the U.K to mark one hundred years of women’s vote. It was the result of the suffrage movement. In the 19th century, women were not given right to vote, they had no place in national politics. A women’s role was seen as a mother and taking care of a house.
With the industrial revolution, women had employment and an opportunity to have a say in social issues. An organised campaign started in 1866 and from 1888 women could vote in elections.
Recent history proves that women empowerment was a result of not a favour, a grant or consideration. It was the fight, a struggle and an effort to raise a voice in times of immense suffocation.
This makes me think why then, in this age and time women in some parts of the world, having a right to vote has limited its freedom to national elections. Why is it not reflected to vote in family matters concerning them?
What is the psychology behind an anti suffragism of ‘domestic feminism’, the belief to give the right to freedom within the house only?
In general, one of the reasons for this feudalistic mindset is the fact that some men are insecure. A woman is evil, she has to be tamed like a wild animal.
The same feudal will have a very liberal mind frame for the outside world. They might hail for democracy and freedom, sometimes for their daughters too. They will be completely different people in social politics.
There is yet another mindset when the girl is married because of her profession and the money she can earn. She will be a too attractive financial ladder to let go and hence grounded as a slave to ensure that. There is no love, but a need. That, in addition, is the worst form of denied freedom, When she is a strong man to earn in the outside world, yet a weak woman to face physical abuse and neglect repeatedly with little freedom to choose between the two.
Like Shakespeare said, ‘ there is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face’, there is no art to find someone sincere and worthy of one’s self. That is why they call marriage a gamble and this is why parents still worry about their daughters.
It is ok to be alone when there is a possibility of losing identity, sanity and life. The mind, the body and the talents are a blessing of God, they are to be protected and used in the best way possible.
In some countries, the pregnancies are aborted for having a girl. Sometimes, giving birth to girls makes a mother vulnerable to all kinds of abuse. Yet at other times, the lucky girls to survive abortion are emotionally strangled from time to time.
This anti suffragism is still deep-rooted in some societies. It starts at the parent’s house when the boy gets away with violence and physical abuse, yet the girl is groomed and brought up to be most forgiving and caring. The idea for her to be silent and respectful at all times makes her feel emotionally suffocated. She is made so flexible that she faces all the tyranny and dictatorship in her married life with a big smile. She alone is made responsible to survive in married life in any circumstances. She is made to be a perfect slave and boy a feudal Lord, an oppressor and controller.
Sometimes even as a childhood hobby, they are snubbed playing with dolls for it is a complete waste of time when reading selected books was the way forward.
When it is time to choose an academic direction, girls do not have a right to vote to choose their own subjects, their parents may come up with a wish list for what they wanted their child to be.
At the time of a wedding, most of the times this right to vote is of parents to arrange for them. While the girl thinks it’s her last sacrifice, a duty call, little did she know it was a door to endless sacrifices.
Although she used will be married with pride and honour, a farewell advice that she is only welcome back dead in a coffin, limits her choices and makes her spend the life as if she had eloped and had burnt all her ships. She has no choice.
To be a divorcee is such a big curse in our society, with the women to carry all the blame bag for the rest of her life. She is a cast aside, like a person with leprosy, an epidemic disease that can infect other girls. It’s a social pressure for the rest of the married girls to keep going on, no matter what. The girls with younger unmarried sisters have a bigger bag of responsibility.
Sometimes, it is worth assuring to get a damaged and tormented daughter back, alive, after all, she has survived in not so fit society, she is to be cherished and repaired not abhorred.
Sometimes, after the marriage, the right to vote for herself is in the hands of her husband. It’s time to conform to their ideal map of happiness. She has no vote over her time, she is now a mother, she cannot waste her time in thinking about herself or being intellectual. That will be far too selfish and costly. Despite all consistent effort, she will fail miserably to please others.
This is somewhat a story of the past. Nowadays, let us be optimistic to assume times have changed. Technology and social media have provided women with a camera as proof or witness for abuse. Girls are more feminist, they know their rights, have a voice and more freedom than ever.
Yet the divorce rates are soaring high, with lack of attachment, sacrifice and forgiveness.
It’s important to remember that happiness lies in the freedom to involve others including one’s self. In liberty to have an opinion, to be together in important family decisions, to have a vote, to pursue what one is passionate about and to be considerate, forgiving and grateful.
Life is like an examination, we give all we can and struggle as much as we are capable. It is to learn to analyse one’s weaknesses and address them, to not get exploited again and again. It also is to provide therapy to the unruly, unhealthy emotional mindset and find a middle ground of breathing space for all. Marriage is for times of health and sickness, in physical as well as emotional and mental forms.
As a mother I want my daughter to have a free will, to have a vote for her education and life partner. I do not want her to be so perfect that she is domesticated or imprisoned for life, so she cannot soar in the outside world, nor so rebellious that she is cast aside. I don’t want her to be so strong, as to become blind to the religious guidelines, nor so weak that her dignity, wealth and life is abused by anyone, including her new family.
I want her to live her life, to know her goals, to strive for them, to be tough and strong. To be supportive of others but also have someone by her side who could support her emotionally and financially. I desire for her to prioritise her children when they are young, and to keep them a priority. I pray someone with whom she can feel free to express her inspirations and not hide to feel suffocated.
I care for her to know that she has my vote of being the most beautiful and caring person. I trust her completely and believe in her, she is the reason for me to live another day.
I hope for her to have a company of good sensible friends for emotional support. Subjects of her choice to enjoy, a life that is not merely spent in pleasing others but a life where she feels included in family matters and social politics. I want her to have a window for fresh air, a hobby to relax and unwind daily as her ‘me time’.
I want her to know that she is not alone to be a victim in the wrong company, to choose not to self harm herself with drugs, emotional abuse, neglect and bullying.
I express my availability, to know I am available 24/7 for her to come and speak to me, both in times of glory to share the pride, as well as those awkward times of being less perfect to share the blame. I hope she knows that she is not fighting any battle alone. She has my support and all my prayers.
I hope she learns with time, that the right person for her is the one who casts the vote to spend the life with her in marriage.
I celebrate her right to vote for herself and be herself with my support and prayers. I will feel no less than a queen to officially grant her permission as an approval to marry the right person.
I choose to work on my son too, to be more kind, caring and considerate towards others, to not be a weak feudal or a male chauvinist.
I want to make a difference, is that wishful thinking or asking for too much?
I cast my vote to respect and include women in matters of that life that we all share together…