Nearly fourteen years ago I came to the Netherlands from Ukraine blissfully unaware of the feminism and gender issues. Women pursuing a career seemed quite natural, so did the kindergartens and equal pay. I hear things changed a lot in Ukraine since then, but I haven’t experienced those changes.
Now I know considerably more about emancipation, although I suspect the picture of emancipation gathered from the Dutch society is rather distorted.
You see, just several decades ago women in the Netherlands where considered rather secondary creatures. They were not to study and not to work, but to stay home, take care of their family and not complain. Even as recently as in the early seventies women would get fired at work right after they got married. It took me a while to get used to the fact that mothers of most of my Dutch friends all had the same profession: housewife.
But then something happened. A great change. I don’t quite understand what had caused such a drastic change. If somebody has a clear answer to that, please do let me know. In a very short time as far as public opinion is concerned, women in the Netherlands went from subordinate beings to super humans. The kind that pursues professional career, drives cars, buys houses, decorates them and makes sure they stay clean one way or another, gives birth to children, raises them up, manages the household, prepares outrageously sophisticated dinners for Easter and Christmas, uses make-up, wears high heels, works out, drinks beer and lifts heavy things. All at the same time. While on a diet.
How they do it, I don’t know. Almost fourteen years long and I’m still puzzled. Because even though I use make-up, wear heels, own a house and pay my bills, I wouldn’t know how drinking beer, working out and maintaining a diet and a family could fit in my schedule. And even though I have enough brains to do a job similar to that of other men it still hasn’t helped me to be able to lift an object as heavy as half of my body weight up above my head.
‘Gentlemen, please use the upper rack if possible. Thank you.’
A public appeal to men to be real men?!! Maybe there’s still hope for me.
More of my musings on:
Emancipation (men on the planes);
and Emancipation (fathers in control).