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The International Writers Magazine: 21st Century Changes

The Rise of Women Power
James Skinner

‘Let a woman in your life, and your serenity is through!’ How poignant a phrase uttered by Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison) in ‘My Fair Lady’, a musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion.

The lines that followed in the song were no less implicit. ‘You’re up against a wall!’ ‘You invite eternal strife!’ ‘You’re plunging in a knife!’ And the final conclusion of a supreme example of a male chauvinist pig, ‘I shall never let a woman in my life’.

Yet women have now taken over, like it or not.

Ever since the suffragette movement in the early part of the last century brought present day feminism and the feminist movements to the fore, women have been gaining strength in every sector of our present modern age. Emily Davison, an English suffragette died when she stepped out in protest in front of the King’s horse during the Epson Derby in 1913 an event that eventually prompted the recognition of women’s rights in the British parliament.

Yet women heroines and martyrs existed long before these female revolutionaries dared challenge the supremacy of man. The most famous and notorious was probably Joan of Arc, a XV century French national heroine who led an army against King Charles VII at the siege of Orleans during the Hundred Year War of English domination. She later fell prisoner and burnt at the stake but was eventually redeemed, beatified in 1909 and canonized as a saint in 1920. What better example is there of female resilience against the opposite sex.

Over a century later in a much less spectacular event, a young peasant girl called Maria Pita challenged the mighty army of Sir Francis Drake in Corunna, Spain. On the 4th of may 1589 when Drake’s army surrounded the city and managed to break through the fortified walls, this young lass confronted the first onslaught of troops with a kitchen knife and instantly killed the standard bearer shouting back at her fellow Galicians, ‘if you’ve got any honour, follow me!’, or so legend has it. Drake eventually withdrew. Today, a monument in the main town square depicts this famous incident of Spain’s history. Ironically, Sir John Moore two hundred years later defended Corunna against Napoleon’s troops and is also revered as a hero of the city. Two heroes on opposite sides of the fence.
But what about today’s heroines?

Without going into the contemporary history of Queen Victoria, Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir to quote a few examples, we are now faced with many a female prominent figure directing the destiny of many areas of the world and controlling millions of citizens both male and female. In Europe we have Angela Merkel, Chancellor in Germany and Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, two strong and forceful politicians that are carving a new road map within the European Union. Moving across the pond to the Americas, in March 2006, Michelle Bachelet became the first women president in Chile and just over a year later Cristina Fernandez Kirchner was elected president of Argentina. Although Cristina is not the first female president of this country, she is the first to be democratically elected without any military intervention or coupe.

Let’s move north to the USA and what have we got. Hillary Clinton seems poised to be the future candidate representing the Democratic Party in the forthcoming presidential elections. Again, this would be a precedent for the next incoming occupant of the Oval Office at the White House.

But what about woman’s lib? Is it all part of the same syndrome that women are taking over from men? Let’s take a look at the modern female of the XXI century in our democratic society.

They are economically independent, intelligent with a high intellectual IQ, take the initiative in sexual approach, have collected a good number of lovers, don’t teach their children what their own mothers taught, have plenty of male friends, travelled, don’t have any hang-ups with younger men as bed partners, drive powerful cars, discovered Internet, party every weekend, are cosmopolitan and generally live in large cities. There you have it, ‘Sex in the City’! So why do they need us men? We are just a bunch of male chauvinist pigs who only think of football and boozing with the ‘fellows’ down at the pub.

But then you have the seedy side of this new relationship between male and female.
A couple of weeks ago, on one of the usual ‘punk’ chat shows on Spanish television, an unmarried couple that had recently separated, was brought on stage before a live audience and subjected to a rigmarole of embarrassing snapshots of their past and a barrage of proposals of pacification to see if there was a slight chance of reconciliation. The male was all for it and even presented his partner with a diamond engagement ring to show that his feelings were in earnest. With tears in his eyes he really wanted to continue their relationship. Before 4 million viewers, she refused. Three days later he slit her throat. The horror story opened up Pandora’s Box and a political debate on the banning of so called ‘reality’ shows on television. Despite the publicity of this murder, the real issue at stake was that of male violence against women in general that is rampant in Spain and elsewhere in the world. Statistics show that thousands of women die at the hands of their partners every year in the civilized world. But what is behind all this savagery of male versus female in today’s society? Has it been around for centuries whereby man has always shown his superiority over woman, beating her if necessary should she not satisfy his ego or his needs?

The answer is that we are experiencing a new trend manifested as ‘female superiority’ that is taking over the world and relegating the male role to that of a simple sperm bearer and nothing else! As Professor Higgins would say, ‘we cannot stand it!’

In the old days, man was the breadwinner and woman the child bearer and housekeeper. Most men were not philanderers for two reasons. Other than prostitutes, there weren’t many females around looking for a bit on the side and secondly, they were working off their backsides making ends meet to keep a family together. May sound old fashion but it was the truth. Enter prosperity; as women began to demand more freedom, especially in the workplace, so man’s role began to diminish. More female students in university transformed into a heavier number of professions being taken up by women. They have now transformed the legal system (Spain has more female judges than males), the armed forces, corporate boardrooms and many other domains once held exclusively by men. And as they enter into politics with brute force, they will create new laws protecting their achievements. Equality is the name of the game!
So what about the future? Who knows, they might bring peace to this planet once and for all. One thing is certain, women as leaders are more cautious and humane
© James Skinner. December 2007.
*Of course this process may take some time in the Middle-East and Africa. Ed

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