There are problems with feminism and there are problems with antifeminism. I say don’t force women to pick a side. Instead, as a society we should nurture healthy self-image and self-worth in girls so that as women they are strong with or without men, with or without money and all the while knowing who they are.
How women are to be and act is what got us in this mess in the first place. Years ago women were looked down upon for being a stay at home mom as if somehow being a stay at home mom was a second class citizen. To children that are benefiting from her care, she is number one and to the man that can’t make anything but a bowl of cereal, he is grateful for the dinner she has prepared. Somehow feminists got the idea that just because a woman didn’t earn an income she wasn’t valuable – but what gives her worth? Feminists also diminished skills like cooking, cleaning, sewing and other things that women were experts at. I wish I knew how to cook or hem a pair of pants; life would be so much less expensive.
On the other hand, this idea of being antifeminism and just giving in to every stereotype isn’t healthy either. Cultivating a society where women are obsessed with the latest fashion, diet pills and night clubs isn’t exactly the “empowerment” women of the 1970s feminist movement had in mind either. Teaching young girls to be sex symbols, to focus time on shopping and makeup, to use their buying power as leverage to get their needs met is unhealthy. According to United States Department of Justice, in 2005 1 in 6 U.S. women experienced an attempted or completed rape1. While this is not all due to commercialism propelled by the media and reality TV shows, it’s important to note that shows like Gossip Girl always show the fun side of a night of drinking and not the possible consequences of that lifestyle.
It is important to accept the Samantha’s (Sex and the City) of this world just as much as it’s important to embrace the June Cleaver’s (Leave it to Beaver). It is more important that girls are told they are valuable for who they are, not the amount of money they make, what relationships they have and what career they choose to ascribe to.