When I moved to Paris at 15 to work as a model, the first thing that struck me was how differently the men behaved. They opened doors for me, they wanted to pay for my dinner. They seemed to think I was too delicate, or too stupid, to take care of myself.
Instead of feeling celebrated, I felt patronized. I claimed my power the way I had learned in Sweden: by being sexually assertive. But Frenchmen don’t work this way. In discos, I’d set my eye on an attractive stranger, and then dance my way over to let him know he was a chosen one. More often than not, he fled. And when he didn’t run, he asked how much I charged.
In France, women did have power, but a secret one, like a hidden stiletto knife. It was all about manipulation: the sexy vixen luring the man to do her bidding. It wasn’t until I reached the United States, at 18, and fell in love with an American man that I truly had to rearrange my cultural notions.
It turned out most of America didn’t think of sex as a healthy habit or a bargaining tool. Instead, it was something secret. If I mentioned masturbation, ears went red. Orgasms? Men made smutty remarks, while women went silent. There was a fine line between the private and the shameful. A former gynecologist spoke of the weather when doing a pelvic exam, as if I were a Victorian maiden who’d rather not know where all my bits were.
In America, a woman’s body seemed to belong to everybody but herself. Her sexuality belonged to her husband, her opinion of herself belonged to her social circles, and her uterus belonged to the government. She was supposed to be a mother and a lover and a career woman (at a fraction of the pay) while remaining perpetually youthful and slim. In America, important men were desirable. Important women had to be desirable. That got to me.
In the Czech Republic, the nicknames for women, whether sweet or bitter, fall into the animal category: little bug, kitten, old cow, swine. In Sweden, women are rulers of the universe. In France, women are dangerous objects to treasure and fear. For better or worse, in those countries, a woman knows her place.
But the American woman is told she can do anything and then is knocked down the moment she proves it. In adapting myself to my new country, my Swedish woman power began to wilt. I joined the women around me who were struggling to do it all and failing miserably. I now have no choice but to pull the word “feminist” out of the dusty drawer and polish it up.
My name is Paulina Porizkova, and I am a feminist.Continue reading the main story
Feminist Movement Essay
1466 Words6 Pages
In the aftermath of World War II, the lives of the women have changed dramatically. Women spoke their minds out and wanted to be heard. World War II brought them a new outlook on how they should live their lives. It encouraged women organize social movements such as boycotts and public marches pushing for their human rights and protect them against discrimination. Alongside, they formed their own organization representing them against the federal government like the NOW or National Organization for Women. Through the years, women have been struggling to fight for equal rights and unfortunately still exist even at the present in some areas. Yes, women’s status was not like what they used to back then, where their…show more content…
In the early 90’s, studies have shown that teen pregnancies occur on a regularly basis and has been severely increasing (Newsweek: Birth rates in U.S, 1991-96). As a result, this brings out a wrong impression of women to society.
Throughout the history, women were being discriminated against by ignoring or not paying much attention to them when it comes to dealing with political issues. One in particular, was the controversial issue regarding women’s right to vote. By the end of the 1880’s feminist movements did not meet their expectations due to lack of support from women themselves. “ If by the end of the 1880’s the suffragists had reached something of a stalemate, by the end of 1890’s and early 1900’s the movement had entered a completely new phase. This was largely the result of new factors in the situation: the growth of support for women’s suffrage amongst women themselves, and the increasing importance of the labour movement in British politics” (Banks, p.121). For these women, voting was becoming more like a powerful tool to be recognized in the society and understand the importance of voting and to also participate actively in the campaign. Women suffragists finally reached their goal, in which women at the present are getting more involved in politics by running for office and being leaders of the society. One good example is present senator Hillary Clinton. This former first lady is one of the top senators in the United States today. She fought