Monday, March 26, 2007

If feminism is bad for your health...

A few days ago the Mail reported that feminism can be bad for a woman's health. Equality of income, management jobs and a 'pressured lifestyle' all hurt someone's expected health outcome. This research is from Sweden so it is reasonable to expect that this is feminism done 'properly' as far as is possible. There is state support for childcare and other measures to reduce the additional pressure on women that comes with equality.

This study's result is plausible as it fits with the other studies cited by those who want to reduce working hours or otherwise curb impositions on a leisure based lifestyle. It is not that feminism per se is bad for a person's health but that it exposes more women to pressures which always cause people health problems.

Would women trade their newfound equality for better health? I hope and expect not.

Doesn't this tell us a lot about how shallow our health and leisure obsessed, risk-averse political culture is?

When women say they're not feminists they mean crazy radical feminism. Those who still choose to bring up children instead of working are making a choice about what they want their work to be which is not an anti-feminist choice. Women are committed to a movement which will see them working longer hours and facing greater workplace pressure. They are committed because it is more important to someone's sense of wellbeing that they work and achieve all they can than that they avoid marginal harms to their health expectations. The feminists, on this, are right.

People are willing to trade their health for their work and to fight politically for the right to do so. It is illiberal and small-minded to stop any person, woman or not, working even if you think you are protecting them from themselves.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

The problem with feminism is that behind the hype and 'rights for me to do as I wish' syndrome, [very 80s, this], what is being ignored is the populating of the planet in a manner which has been found the most effective way.

There are many, many women I know who don't concede but state openly that it is in the interests of the child to have two original parents who live within their means, give each other equal status [well she actually has the final word in the home]and give each other space.

Dire is the husband who tries to pressurize his wife not to work. There is part time work everywhere these days. In practical terms, I always did much of the housework, as she was home late.

This was not feminism or manism - it was peopleism, coupleism, familyism.