The other thing I loathe about these slogans is the way that they perpetuate current stereotypes of what women are supposed to be and how they’re supposed to behave. The idea, for instance, that women are supposed to be the ones who do everything; the multitaskers who shoulder every burden with a smile on their faces. To illustrate this I thought I might deconstruct the (admittedly fictional, but probably not so far from the real thing) quote I produced for IWD:
“She is a creator. All women are creative, aren’t they, ‘cos they all have babies and stuff. Goes with the territory, obviously. She is a lover. Women are supposed to be sexy. The media tells us that women are meant to be up for it ALL THE TIME. She is an athlete. Absolutely! Are you doing Couch to 5K? Well, why not? Never mind you’re tired after working two minimum wage jobs to feed your kids. Get out there, you fat lump! She is a mother. Well, durrr! Yes, of course she is. That’s women’s primary purpose in life, isn’t it, to have babies? That’s what fulfils them. She is a daughter. She’s the one who has to drive a two hundred mile round trip every weekend to visit her aging parents after her mother has a fall. She can wipe away a tear She’s supposed to look after other people, run a mile So I should hope, fatty!, tell a story Ah, cute little Madonna and child image! And when her own kids are grown up, she can look after her grand-children, bake a cake Women like cooking, don’t they? And if they’ve done all the necessary cooking they can do some unnecessary cooking to demonstrate their value and their love for their friends and family by making a lovely cake for them, dance a tango Sexy and good exercise! And you have to dress up in sparkly girly clothes to do that properly. And it’s the dance of love – very good!, comfort a friend Looking after other people, excellent, grow a business Yes, you are supposed to be doing it all! Never mind too tired! You don’t inspire people by having a nap, do you, make a home Look at this place! It doesn’t look anything like an Ideal Home! Plump some scatter cushions! Stencil an Ikea wardrobe! And paint some Easter eggs to hang on the flowering branches you picked on your last country walk, while you’re at it. And she does it all with a smile on her face. Stop scowling! Women are supposed to be nice. She is an INSPIRATION! Well, that’s not very inspirational language! Not what I’d expect to hear from a woman. Send this to the inspirational woman in YOUR life to show her how much you appreciate her on International Women’s Day!!! If you’re going to respond like that, this is the last time I say Thank You, I can tell you!“.