This is the second (concluding) segment of the blog on women’s value. The first segment can be read here.
But is it just monetary value that women are lacking? Maybe it’s also personal value – not being taken seriously for their immense contributions to human history and culture. Simply caring for and educating children throughout history has been a cultural contribution beyond value and one that is seldom honored. O.K., so there’s Mother’s Day. Once a year. Thanks!
It’s almost as if women’s work, women’s contribution to the long-term well-being of humanity, is simply taken for granted, like the water we drink or the air we breathe. Economically, those are called “externalities” and are not accorded monetary value. David Suzuki has something to say about externalities that we all need to consider. What would happen if we lost them? https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Se55CCdfaOA
Are we women complicit in our own undervaluing? Are we too willing, too compliant, too eager to please, too afraid of power? Have we, perhaps unconsciously, internalized the view of sex-object and second-class citizenship that pervades our culture? Why do we have to “dress for success”? Why do we worry about our hair? Why do we pile on make-up, even though some of the ingredients may be toxic? Why do we feel we have to get a “face job” after the age of fifty? Why do we worry about our figures? Why are we slaves to fashion? Why do women work in those foot-destroying high heels – the American version of Chinese foot-binding. If their feet are incapacitated, woman can’t run very fast or very far.
Just look at those balding, frizzy-haired, flabby, wrinkled old guys who are making lots of money or are making decisions that affect our lives. Look at the spikey-haired, cross-eyed, blobby-nosed young guys who are delivering the daily news or are trading on Wall Street. Who criticizes them for their looks? Who accuses them of having had a face-job? O.K., an ugly-making job.
It may be possible for a woman – eventually, and after great effort and accomplishment – to be accorded some grudging respect. I sometimes drink from a cup engraved with the quotation: “Anything women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult.” (Quote from Mayor Charlotte Whitten, Ottawa, Canada).