Monday, August 16, 2010

Why feminism is necessary in Norway

Pretty much every year on Women's Day, 8th March, I hear someone make the argument that feminism has played out it's role in Norway. "Sure," they will say, "there are countries around the world where feminism is still necessary, but in Norway women have the right to vote, we are equal to men under the law, and we have gone through the sexual revolution. Now it's time for those annoying Redstockings to give it a rest, and appreciate what they've got. Really woman, aren't you grateful you don't live in a country where you could be beaten by your sons/brothers/father/husband for, for example, talking to a man in public who isn't your realtive? Women in this country are equal to men under the law, we should show our appreciation by sitting down and shutting up." (Okay, that last part isn't something you are likely to hear people say ... out loud.)
In response to this I have compiled this short list more or less off the top of my head, feel free to add suggestions in comments.

Why feminism is necessary in Norway:

  • Because in 2005, regardless of whether or not you take into account the differences in how much time women and men spend at work, women earned between 84% and 87% of what men earned.*
  • Because those numbers were the same in 2004.
  • Because the typical 'women's professions' are the least valued professions in Norway. By this I don't mean moral value, but actual monetary value.
  • Because there are people in leadership positions in our policeforce who still think it's relevant what a woman wore when she got raped.
  • Because women are still told by society that one of our main functions are to be decorative/look good enough for men to find us attractive.**
  • Because a woman is 'loose' or 'easy' if she sleeps around, while a man simply 'has got the moves'.
  • Because women in advertising are largely pictured as submissive, passive, silenced sex objects without power. (Seriously, check out this video series, it's mind blowing.)
  • Because 'feminist', a word which simply means someone who believes women should have the same rights and opportunities men do, has become so stigmatized that the majority of women in this country would never dream of describing themselves as feminists.
  *Source: SSB
** Just consider the pressure that is put on women to stay slender, versus the pressure that is put on men.

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