What Is the Point in Stressing “Women have Become Strong”?

Gender Structure Makes Nobody Happy:

Review of Feature Article “Women Alone Becoming Winners” in April Issue of the Shincho 45

by robierobie

One of the things that would make me feel most uncomfortable before is an expression like “women have become strong.”  Feminists in the good old days might loudly protest, “no more phony words when discrimination still persists!” 

I would not go that far but those expressions are just unpleasant.  They effectively take a few liberated women who have certainly become stronger and make it seem as if  they were representative of most women, and by so doing they serve to contain arguments about how the social structure forces gender norms.

On the other hand, women’s poverty is also talked about quite often.  Actually, it is a topic that should be discussed as a social issue.  It is nothing but a double standard, if a poor woman is made to take responsibility for her poverty and a strong woman is regarded as a problem  (even though I don’t think it is so obviously mentioned).

Judging from the nature of the media, I was somewhat prepared to dislike  these feature articles of the magazine Shincho 45, but  I found several articles written from the context that society has been “feminized” deserving attention and worthy of further discussion.  As some feminists are already suggesting, society is increasingly becoming reconstructed based on “feminine values” like diversity and sustainability, instead of “masculine values” such as competition or seeking to make clear-cut decisions between alternatives.  The observation in those articles that society is already changing in that direction is rather optimistic and quite different from the feministic view. 

In any case, I found the articles written by FURUICHI Noritoshi, YUYAMA Reiko, UDOU Yumiko, and KOSHI Naomi interesting to read as they incorporate a perspective of the social structure.  Nonetheless other articles in this magazine still admire strong women and feminine principles.  Some readers might be flattered without deeply thinking about it, but I would instantly think “ I’m not that strong and I’m not that feminine, either. “ At the same time, in terms of diversity of women, it is not advisable to emphasize those aspects only.

Based on reality, perhaps the writers should more cautiously say “happy women are increasing, without totally denying the positive aspects by emphasizing the remaining discrimination.

Original article on the WAN website (April 4, 2012)

Translated and adapted from the WAN website by FUKUOKA A.A.

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