When I was a little girl, I believed that all girls grew up to be princesses and all boys grew up to be princes. Of course, I am reminded that this is an idealistic fantasy on a daily basis, thanks to the men who push me aside to get onto the tube, men who leer at me as I walk past them on the street and men who allow alcohol to excuse their filthy language and aggressive behaviour. I apologise if I sound like a total prude, but I admit, I long for the days when ladies were ladies and gentlemen were gentlemen.
I would settle for not having to worry about wearing clothes that accentuate certain assets which invite unwelcome comments and attention from menacing male passers-by... and yes, if I were to get transported back through time I think I would choose the period circa Jane Austen. Although, that too comes with its negative trappings, like limited freedom over choice and lifestyle.
The dilemma we ladies face is this. We demand equality with our male counterparts, fighting for our rights to work, vote and education, however we wind up with men feeling threatened by our new-found power (both at home and in the workplace) and a belief on their part that we should still remain in our proper place, ideally second to them. And it seems as though their behaviour towards us confirms this attitude as they attempt to relegate us to sub-status by objectifying us, threatening us and ignoring us.
I am not going to generalise and apply this litany to ALL men; there are a vast majority who do not come under this bracket. However, we are still plagued by the remainder on an almost daily basis.
And we must acknowledge that there are members of the female race who have fallen on the wrong side of the equality track. The younger generations are less inclined to hold the values of eras gone by so bombarded are they by visions of contemporary culture. Men and women today hold more regard for material things than they do for human life. I honestly believe that if you asked a teenager what they would save first in a fire, they would immediately say: their iPod!
You may be thinking I am an old fuddy-duddy trapped in the body of a young 20-something woman, but these are my core values - I would rather spend the evening talking and eating with my significant other than stare mindlessly at a TV (though of course, there are times I will do that). But my point is, we must acknowledge what is important within the context of the technological and material age we live in. People should have respect for each other on a very fundamental level (i.e. not charging onto a train before other people have alighted)... so that we can perhaps look forward to living happily ever after?!