I refer to article Malaysian feminism in an 'apartheid nation'.
Oh, where do I begin? There are so many words, sentences, phrases that are offensive and degrading to women as a whole in this article that to single out just a few would do gross injustice to the feelings of the 'more demanding species' everywhere. If anything, the writer's tirade has only served to drive home the message that we are indeed, living in a gender-based apartheid system.
I take real offence at your statement: 'Men had to endure hardship at work and maintain their jobs so that women - some of them - who stay at home can perhaps shop till they drop. Most often the demands made by wives are like commands made by masters on their slaves. In general, out of respect for the feeling of women, men work harder to meet the material needs of the more demanding species. Hence oftentimes, while wives stay at home and watch soap operas, men play out the drama of office politics.'
Excuse me? Men endure hardship to maintain their jobs so that some women can shop till they drop? Demands made by wives like commands by masters on slaves? The material needs of the more demanding species? Excuse me, but it looks to me like the writer is suffering from a case of a little bit too much male egoism and misguided, mind-boggling misconceptions about women today. I wonder what age the writer is alluding to. In this day and age, both men and women go out to work; both men and women toil daily physically, mentally and emotionally - selling their labour to be turned into surplus value by those who own the profit-making institutions.
Who gave Malaysian feminists the idea that wives are chained to the kitchen cabinet or refrigerator? Maybe the idea came about because we are chained. Yes, we go out to work every day, on rare occasions we get to meet friends outside of work, on an even rarer occasions we go to the beauty salons. Watch TV? What TV? Women, too, go out to work to make money to meet the needs of the family.
I find it amusing that the writer phrases his sentence as such: 'For women to be free from the more noble responsibility of raising their children.' On one hand, the writer writes about the sacrifices that supposedly only a husband makes to ensure that the family is well-provided for, that men go through hurricanes and storms at work, willingly, so that their family can have an easy life. But in the next breath, he states that the noble responsibility of raising children rests on a woman's shoulder. So am I correct to assume the writer is saying that despite the fact that we women work just as hard outside of the home, the noble responsibility of raising children is still ours?
And who is the writer to judge who is a good feminist from a bad feminist? If we are to take his comments seriously, and I hope one does not, a good feminist is one who sees the world from the male point of view while a bad feminist is one who never got married, never had children hence is deprived of the whole family experience thing and do not even know what they are talking about.
Well, wives and mothers everywhere unite! It would seem that now, on our shoulders, lie the voice of our generation because the rest of us single, childless women are too stupid to have our own opinions. Having said that, I acknowledge that the writer is entitled to his opinion, however myopic it may be, but one should also bear in mind that such a biased, emotional, irresponsible, damaging tirade has no place in the society of today where men and women, everyday, struggle to make an honest living and to make better not only their own lives, but also the lives of their children as well.
If being labeled as a Malaysian feminist means I have my own opinions and thoughts, so be it; I am a Malaysian feminist and proud of it. And I am sure that women like me across the country, who go to work every day because we have a responsibility to ensure that food is brought to the table, who after a hard day's work at the office doing work that can range from being an office receptionist to being a geologist, come home to the responsibility of looking after the children, ensuring that homework is done and school letters are answered to, that the dinner is on the table though sometimes for the lucky wives that have maids, we may not cook it ourselves.
But we still are in charge of making sure the food is balanced and adequate and palatable to the husband and children, and we hardly have time to have a quiet cup of coffee let alone watch soap operas and take long naps and go shopping with friends. We are feminists too, and are just as proud of it.
At the end of the day, dear writer, we feminists are not fighting to degrade men, or to bash males or to run away from the responsibility of raising our children or even heaven forbid! to assert our rights not to get married.
We are simply seeking to assert our rights as human beings too, with the right to equal salary and humane working conditions, the right to not be stereotyped in the work place, the right to be taken seriously in whatever roles we play be it worker, wife or mother, our rights as wives in a marriage regardless whether we work outside the home or inside, where we have equal rights to property, guardianship and respect, where we do not have to everyday face such blatant disregard for our rights such as the granting of divorces by SMS or the inequitable amendment of family and religious laws that favour the men.
We want our rights as mothers to raise our children well even when the father walks out and not to have to resort to begging the courts for child maintenance or have to ask only fathers to sign documents pertaining to the child. We fight so that all of us may live a little bit better and our children may be grow up a little bit easier. This is what we fight for, and believe me, for us women here in Malaysia, this is no farce.