Controversy unwelcome and damaging

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 October, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 October, 1996, 12:00am

Recent letters to these columns have both criticised and defended the feminist movement and the notion of women's liberation. Those women who have achieved high positions in business are attacked for neglecting their families while those who serve at home are maligned for burying their talents and being subservient to crass, unfeeling men.

This controversy is very unwelcome and damaging, because it pits two victimised groups against each other and weakens them both, when they should be united against the social forces that harm women and families as a whole.

When machines took the place of muscles, women became more desirable as employees since they were less organised and obstreperous than men, less mobile and less demanding than men and less willing to confront unjust bosses and unfair working conditions.

'Suffering in silence' was the ideal female trait sought after by capitalists.

Instead of serving her loved ones, a woman's energies could be directed towards the amassing of wealth for male bosses in huge corporations that dominated modern economies.

A few women, sacrificing feminine identity, could be given token jobs in upper management as sops to their ambition, but the top jobs and highest rewards still went to the male bosses. To the modern corporation, the family is merely the source of labour - a reproductive machine that provides movable bodies for work and disposes of them when they are worn out. Attempts to get corporations to provide long-term after-employment security and a decent old age is fought fiercely by chambers of commerce and other corporate entities.

Perceptive women will note how the most masculine of all social forces - the military machine - now invites women to take part in what is a repressive function. The armies of China, Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), and most of Latin America are directed at maintaining oppressive status quos where women and their families are made tools of state aggrandisement.

In the 'democracies', women are more free, but they are controlled by the efficient media, owned by corporate bosses, who tell them what is desirable.

The best example is the fashion industry which is devised to keep women busy chasing unattainable ideals of slimness, beauty and energy. Women are encouraged to compete with each other for the attention of 'supportive' males. Many thoughtful women support the environmental movement, but they are urged to buy clothes, shoes, handbags, furs etc, which have a fashion-dominated short life and are discarded.

Modern culture is aimed at keeping women busy with trivia, making them feel quilty and then blaming them for not loving their husbands and family enough.

What a hoax. Let's hope Hong Kong women see through it and restore a little sanity.

Tell the male bosses that their notion of society is flawed and that women are not buying it anymore.

J. GARNER Kowloon