Two young women stood at the bus stop this morning. I think they might have been in their early twenties, but it is possible they were older.
They had that kind of look that is de rigueur right now – the fancy nails, the tan, the sleekly straightened hair. There was bling and high heels. And lots of texting.
As a woman on the brink of fading into the shadows that line the streets due to the rapid encroachment of middle age (yes, that is too what society thinks) I like to pay attention to these young women because I figure they have their fingers on the pulse of culture so I might actually learn something. That, and I am an incorrigible eavesdropper.
This is what I learned today.
Both of these women were discussing what they were getting for Christmas from their significant others. It wasn’t just a book they were expecting or even a few CDs. Oh no, these women were after the glittering prize for Christmas. Tiffany’s was mentioned. Diamonds. White gold. Figures like two grand and three grand were thrown about with such an air of nonchalance that I and many of my fellow commuters couldn’t help but glance at them to see whether or not they were joking.
They went on and on about how much stuff they expected, the price tag getting higher and higher, loud and slightly obnoxious, they were starting to get on everyone’s nerves. And then they said something that absolutely floored me.
‘Feminism is dead,’ they said. ‘Make him pay.’
A lot of younger women don’t get how bad things were before the feminist movement got going. Even my generation didn’t experience patriarchal society at its worst. I would have thought that young women of today would be thankful they are able to enjoy a high level of equality in the workplace as well as control over their own bodies. They are independent like never before. Yet their statement that feminism is dead suggests not only a lack of gratitude towards the women who forged a new social order but a disdain for the movement in the first place.
But it’s the make him pay bit with its sinister undertones that worries me. What about caring, conversation and companionship? Surely the new raison d’etre in a relationship isn’t just cold, hard cash?
What do you think?
Is feminism dead?
Or has it been redefined so cleverly, so covertly, so cynically that it no longer resembles what it once was?