I am certain that Equality For Women seemed like a good idea at the time. As with other elegant theories fashioned by noble minds, of course, years of wear by actual humans has now made it appear both dowdy and impractical. Whenever shall we acquire the skill of not ruining a half-decent concept?! Just as Socialism morphed into meat-queues, atrocious poetry and genocide, Feminism begat padded shoulders, Spice Girls and mandatory whining. As a species, it must be said, we are adept at making fabulous To Do lists and then misplacing them somewhere in the clutter-drawer of history.
Yes, the Holy Heifer of Women’s Liberation deserves a savage prod. Or, at the very least, a good lie down. Something went terribly awry and a gracious ideal transformed, quite frankly, into a calamitous Tupperware party managed by an ungrateful hostess. What is wrong with feminism? Minds more agile than that which writes this text have addressed that question rigorously.
And even though there are those nodes of feminism’s failure that require a further and urgent attention, I here choose to fixate my attention on one tiny topic: The Right of The Childless Woman To Comfortably Park Her Vehicle.
I ought to explain. Please bear with my automotive conundrum. It requires some clarification.
For those of you who have been intimate, as I have, with The Sisters’ Army, I need hardly give details on how sensitivity to child-rearing issues is key. Heavens, if a girl is not attuned to the Great Needs of Suffering Mothers, she might be stripped of her feminist credentials in a manner that makes even the Brownie Guild look kind. Since the seventies, a crucial goal of feminism has been to acknowledge, mitigate and even seek PAY for the burden that is motherhood. Childcare should be subsidised, maternity leave should be extensive and congratulations on your decision to reproduce should be deafening.
I ought to impart, I suppose, that I once was an ardent supporter of such views. My zeal for the recognition of parenting as a profession was, I guess, informed by the suspicion that I too, one day, would bear children. Now, at 34 and without the funds or indeed apparatus to do so, my opinion has changed. Being a parent is not a duty nor a right, it is an enormous privilege. Being a parent is not a burden, it is, for the most part, a profound joy. Being a parent is NOT something that requires remuneration, sympathy or pity. Yes, I observe in the faces of my female intimates that parenting can be a circuitous journey with its own frustration and paranoias. But come on, ladies, admit it: Having a little one is an absolute hoot!
And so, it is with envy and incredulity that I note a new rash of convenient car spaces in shopping malls nationwide that are reserved for ‘Parents with Prams’. Excuse me?! It’s not enough that you get preferential treatment from Gran, extended leave AND the virtual guarantee of company in your incontinent twilight years, but you must have special parking AS WELL. Well excuse me if I petition for a Resolutely Barren and Proud space this instant.