Anne Frank’s perspective on femininity (did I spell that right?)


“One of the many question that have often bothered me is why women have been, and still are, thought to be so inferior to men. It’s easy to say it’s unfair, but that’s not enough for me; I’d really like to know the reason for this great injustice!

Men presumably dominated women from the very beginning because of their greater physical strength; it’s men who earn a living, beget children, and do as they please…until recently, women silently went along with this, which was stupid, since the longer it’s kept up, the more deeply entrenched it becomes. Fortunately, education, work and progress have opened women’s eyes. In many countries they’ve been granted equal rights; many women…now realize how wrong it was to tolerate this state of affairs for so long. Modern women want the right to be completely independent!

But that’s not all. Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honored and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers?

In the book Men Against Death I was greatly struck by the fact that in childbirth alone, women commonly suffer more pain, illness, and misery than any war hero ever does. And what’s her reward for enduring all that pain? She gets pushed aside when she’s disfigured by birth, her children soon leave, her beauty is gone. Women , who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together!

I don’t mean to imply that women should stop having children; on the contrary, nature intended them to, and that’s the way it should be. What I condemn are our system of values and the men who don’t acknowledge how great, difficult, but ultimately beautiful women’s share in society is...

I believe that in the course of the next century the notion that it’s a woman’s duty to have children will change and make way for the respect and admiration of all women, who bear their burdens without complaint or a lot of pompous words!”

I had a conversation with Bethany the other day about this very thing Anne Frank is talking about, and Bethany (I hope she’s ok with me sharing this) shared her great frustration with one of the results of the modern feminist movement, and it is this: in the push for equality, the feminist movement in many ways has become reactionary instead of balanced justice-seeking. Instead of seeking to be recognized for their femininity that is in many ways very different from masculinity, many females have sought to be like men: play the same sports, do the same jobs…and that’s not necessarily bad…that is, until some of the more traditional aspects of femininity are devalued and even forgotten in the pursuit of equality.

Simple example: Two women talking in a supermarket…move beyond the pleasantries and into deeper questions of identity.
One asks the other, “So what do you do?”
The other proceeds to talk about her successful career in marketing, her six-figure income, etc, then asks back, “What do you do?”
The first women answers, “I’m a homemaker with two children.”

What do you think would be the typical response of the marketer female, and what might that say about our society’s lack of focus on diversity in equality?

Either way, Anne Frank’s words seem to be accurate and necessary today. In the pursuit of equality for women, we should not twist the quest into one of uniformity…though it often becomes a push for the latter.

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