21 June 2007

Feminism, Femmenism.

For most of my life, I have been accused, as it were, of being a man-hating feminazi. One would imagine that it would happen more since I figured out my homonism, but that's not entirely true; it's stayed about the same, but I surmise that the same people who were saying it before (or the same sort that would have been) just chalk it up to the homonism. I find this ridiculous since I live with a man. I like men. I just don't want to marry them. Why is this difficult?

Recently, I began to more deeply explore the wide world of feminism by reading a variety of feminist blogs. This has had two major effects on me: one is that I now realise that I am not nearly as radical as I previously thought, and the second is that I am far more radical than I previously thought.

The latter is easier for me to wrap my mind around, so it goes first; essentially, I get way more annoyed with misogynist-speak than I did previously. I have been internalising and processing the why of that, and yesterday evening, I figured it out. The boy roommate and I were at Pluckers, a wing/burger/sports joint, and we managed to get there on trivia night. The category at this time was movies. Trivia man asks the question:
"In what (whatever year it was) movie did James Garner, Ashley Judd, and Sandra Bullock appear?"
This, in and of itself, was not the issue. He followed up with:
"Guys, you don't know this because it is a -total- chick flick. If you have a girl at your table, ask her, and if not, just give up. If you know this by yourself, you've lost cool points with me."
The nerve! The answer, incidentally, is Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, based on the book by Rebecca Wells. Why does this bother me so much all the sudden? I think it is because the insinuation from the trivia guy was that if the guys knew the answer, they were a) gay, or b) that ever-hideous epithet men use on other men, "pussies." Previously, I did not care for the latter term simply because it is rather profane, but now I realise just -why- it is profane: guys are insulting each other by calling them women.

I do not really get why I never really got that before, but the worst thing these guys can call someone is, essentially, a woman. And that really bothers the hell out of me, especially since I am meant to be so man-hating. However, I am certainly never going to attempt to insult a woman by calling her any bit of the male anatomy, and thereby a man. That's ridiculous.

The problem is, this kind of thinking, that men can insult each other by calling them women, is feeding into, and perhaps concurrent with this really, really odd idea that men helping women with domestic issues is a) emasculating, and therefore b) OMG SooooOOO SWEET! This is bullshit. Men are not some kind of omnipotent being who is so far above the menial tasks of life. They are just people. This is one end of the Crazy Men Spectrum: Men are powerful, men are above women, and when they deign to come down to are level, it is the sweetest thing ever and we should rejoice, and again I say rejoice.

On the other end of the spectrum are some really radical feminists. I believe that the truly man-hating ones are very few, and they exist on the other end of the Crazy Men Spectrum, which is to say, Men are dirt. I think it would be very helpful if the people on the ends could come together in a compromise. Men are people too, and men are just people like everyone else.

A step closer to the middle on the spectrum, but not much, are the women who take as a point of pride the fact that they do not shave anything, have very short hair on top of their head (which I find a bit silly. If they aren't going to shave their legs, why does it make sense to mess with their head hair so much?), do not wear make up, et cetera. Ok, that's fine for them, but a subset of those women conclude that I am bowing to the pressure of the patriarchy on account of I -do- shave my legs, I enjoy having long hair, I do wear makeup on occasion and yes, GASP, I both own and wear heels.

Great, so now I'm not feminine enough, and the radical feminists say I am too feminine. Here I am, stuck in the middle with...anyone?



Ok, perhaps someone else is in my predicament. I will not apologise for "bowing to the patriarchy." I do not think that's actually what it is. Frankly, I don't find shaving my legs a hideous and painful experience. It's not really that difficult. Also, I like the way my smooth legs feel. I like the way my girlfriends' smooth legs feel. I also like my long hair, and I like girls with long hair. I also like the way I look when I am wearing makeup, and guess what? I like the way other girls look when -they- are wearing makeup (as long as it's not that weird clone makeup). So, I'm not holding anyone to a higher standard than myself. I rather enjoy being a girl, with most everything that goes along with that.

I had a point, and I think it was that I really do not get why some of the people who rail against misogyny are so fascist on occasion, or why it is that other people (who are a much, much larger population) do not get that not being a poor, helpless little girl does not make you a man-hater. Most of the problems we have in our society could be solved if everyone would just sod off and let everyone else live their lives as they see fit. Why is this difficult?

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Anonymous Dwayne said...

I very much agree with virtually everything you said, but, a minor point -- people DO use a male form of the derogatory term "pussy" when they call someone a "dick" or a "dickhead." Though, granted, it's not really as strong an insult as calling a man a "pussy."

9:19 AM  

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