Julia Ann Charpentier

Critical Essay - Feminism

Woman of the Year
Woman of the Year (1942)
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (work for hire)
(Wikimedia Commons)

Feminism hangs out with the young, openminded woman. Traditionalism socializes with the mature, conservative matron. Familiar associations fail to define what either emotion-packed term means when enacted, blindly leading to assumptions about lifestyle.

Twenty-first-century ideals embrace feminism, yet the meaning of tradition in a woman's life does not equate with loss of freedom. Staid, old, and structured, governed by organized religion, conventional confinement remains synonymous with traditionalism, an unfortunate comparison. A feminist, in reality, could be bound tighter by a self-inflicted doctrine that inhibits creativity and happiness, cutting her away from time off, time enjoyed, and time employed at home.

A traditional woman could be married or unmarried, homosexual or heterosexual, religious or an atheist. Over time, distortions marred the value of tradition, rendering the concept counterproductive and entwining the ideology with our past. A feminist serves as a pillar of her community, setting an example, working endlessly, while a traditionalist leads a life dictated by the patriarchy, another common fallacy.

Laden with political baggage and growing heavier as decades pass, these overburdened and overused words bog down any woman seeking options, opposed to abiding by a set of rules. Feminism adheres to an arrangement comparable to traditionalism, admired by those who wish to reestablish a daily norm, making the routine aspects of living compatible with contemporary society. Not always beneficial, often flouted, this intellectual change initiated insincere commitment to a grindstone deemed superior.

Until traditionalism crawls out of the maligned alternative-lifestyle attic, discontentment will besiege the woman eager to reach her potential without jumping off a personal ledge holding onto an unwanted moniker attributed to a group rather than an individual.