Monday, August 8, 2011

Freedom For Feminists

Freedom for some people is about being able to do what they want to do when they want to do it, regardless of consequences.

You could say that sounds like a good definition of freedom. Yet often the people who claim to be free are not really free at all. There once was a movement that embraced the slogan of free love. The culture was really about free sex. The pill had been made widely available and women's liberation was gaining momentum. At last women have been set free from the threat of having an unwanted child if they wanted to indulge in unrestrained sexual activity. The free love revolution hit the headlines and sex, booze, drugs and rock and roll was the rhythm of the day. So-called sexual license was here to stay.

The woman's liberation movement of the sixties was largely sparked in 1963 by Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique which denigrated the idea that childrearing and homemaking was a woman's role. There was more to sexual expression and women had the right to be as free as men.

Supposedly, men enjoyed a life of sexual license with any woman of their choice and held the power in corporations and politics and anywhere else that mattered.

But what were men free to do? Most men did not live such a life at all. In fact, suburban husbands went to work, came home and were often at the mercy of their wives, because, at home, the wife was the boss. Admittedly, there were many exceptions, but in a majority of cases the loving lady ruled.

Regardless of what certain people might like to claim, freedom is not just a matter of throwing off the shackles of being tied down to a home, or a job, or obtaining a university degree or anything else. Freedom is about being able to enjoy what you have around you regardless of your circumstances.

When freedom was gained for the Negro slaves of the Confederate States of USA, the plantation owners, who had first opposed the idea of setting their slaves free, found that they had a better work force that was cheaper than a slave force. They found that the people were still enslaved to the need for a roof over their head and the need to obtain an income to pay for the roof over their head and the food in their belly and the clothes on their back.

People who belong to the ruling class, who have the wealth to do what they like, are not really free, either. If they over-step the boundaries of what is acceptable they will be bound by the fear of being found out. How often do you see a politician disgraced because he thought he was free to over-step the bounds of social acceptability?

True freedom means that you can do what is right whenever you choose. If you succumb to your desires all the time; if you give in to your lusts; if you find your emotions getting the better of you; or if you find other people can push the buttons that ignite your outbursts of frustration and anger; the truth is you are not free. True freedom is self-control. This way you are able to do what you like, whenever you like, according to what is right.

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