Furious Feminism #2

I am furious.

I am at the public library with little calm in my heart.

I’m not panicking, I’m not crying, I’m not lost. I’m furious.

Why?

Maybe because I’m sick and have been for a few days. I haven’t really treated myself like I was sick though, hitting the ground running at work everyday.

 

Day in the life.

Today we were late getting up, and arriving at work around 9:30.

Immediately called into a meeting to discuss the event I’m helping coordinate on Sunday, a slight panic in the air. Sneezes from each corner of the room, and a realization that we’re working every day for the next two weeks or so.

I tell this story to Ben’s roommate while I eat spaghetti and asparagus on the couch. Combat boots on, toes pointed in towards one another like a little kid in school waiting for summer break.

Ben gets back with cash for rent and throws it on the pile on the white kitchen table. I’m six dollars short and he spots me. I literally can’t pay the full amount, because I am running on empty trying to pay off this car.

I pour a thermos full of green tea and honey, and run out the door leaving an air of emptiness trailing behind me. Things are left unsaid, but then, who really has the energy to say them when it’s 6:30 on a Thursday night.

I look like a punk kid today with notes written in blue ink on my hand, black v neck and red flannel. Old cotton socks sweated through from fever three days in a row and and the hamsa necklace around my throat which I still can’t give you a good reason why it’s there.

There are people with babies at the library. People laughing to themselves. And people behind me with a nasty sounding sneeze.

I stopped by a Burmese family home today, and when I came in her home I left my shoes on the deck. We were sitting on her couch, and all I could smell were my three day old socks. She didn’t draw attention to it, but she’s also really nice.

Just after leaving work, I went to a meeting for a writers workshop. I listened, but found myself wanting to speak more than listen. That’s a dangerous road to go down.

I think what I need to work on is toning it back a little bit. It’s okay to have my structure, my standards, my expectations, but it’s okay to let things be as well. Finding that balance.

I’ve been super ocd lately, and have been panicking over so many things. I’ve needed things just the right way, because it doesn’t make sense any other way. The world is big enough for us to all have opinions, right?

Listening to the radio on the way to pick up Ben from work this evening, and I hear two ugly men (using the phrase ugly in regards to their complete inability to listen to another perspective outside of their own booming voice and the inherent oppression this causes for the voices of communities left unheard) talk about women. They talked about women ALL DAY.

Big day for women. But then again, I hear them talking about women’s issues a lot. Which is great, right? Exposure of the issues on a liberal talk show? Except they never have actual women add their opinion. They infuriatingly quote women from the news, from twitter, etc, and then tell her why she is right, or fucked up, or on her period.

One of them said today that only ugly people don’t like the “number system”. By number system, I mean the way that people rate other people on “hotness”. They both said they are ugly, as a way to justify their arguments for it. But, number one, the way we judge men for looks is different than the way we judge women in our culture. Also, if only “ugly people” hate being debased to a number, how come you are advocating for the number system self proclaimed ugly guy?

Oh, because you’re a pompous potato brained dude.

The lack of logic is baffling for someone getting paid to talk. 

“It’s not sexist, guys and girls are both rated on it!” They rant.

“She’s a ten, but listen to this tweet: ‘I am disgusted when I am debased to a number.’ Well, bad personality just took you down to a seven, sugar.”

Disgusting.

So disgusting.

It is a sexist thing to do, because when we rate a guy as a number (which happens way less than women) we are not basing them solely on their looks.

“With a guy who is a six, but he’s loaded, he automatically goes up to an eight,” they spit with laughter.

Nothing is said in regards to a women’s place in life, career, wealth or intelligence. The only thing that matters outside of her looks for the number is if she argues you about it, or accepts it graciously.

It’s the same fucking shit as cat calling.

“Who wouldn’t want to be rated as a number? It’s generally a compliment!” The men fire away with their confident, booming, sickening voices. Men who have never been cat called in their life. 

 

How about people who walk through the streets everyday being judged by their bodies, feeling unsafe because of the way people look at their bodies, and having strangers call out to them about the level of approval they want to give them.

And should they not accept that lovely “compliment”?

“What a bitch! I was only trying to be nice.”

“I’d love it if women called out to me whenever I walked down the streets!”

Would you? That’s great- let’s enter the matriarchy and build a system oppressing men to try it out then?

These talk show hosts began their day talking about Trump, and how he said that women should be punished for having abortions.

“Well, I follow his logic!” The liberal talk show host agrees, edgily. “If you believe that abortion is murder, then capital punishment would rightly follow.”

What an edgy thing for a man to say, who would never actually face the consequences of this very real “thought experiment.”

As Ben pointed out, this is far from an experiment, and actually exists in certain states currently where women are thrown in jail for having abortions or miscarriages from not taking care of the fetus fully.

What gets me pissed is that these guys are allowed to walk this stupid line. “Of course, if I got someone pregnant I wouldn’t want to have an abortion. But I would respect the woman’s right to choose.”

Fine. Basic, liberal argument. Abortion is never ideal, but it’s not evil. Leave it up to the woman to make that messy choice.

But the thing that irks me is that they are allowed to contrast themselves against Donald Trump, who, before retracting his statement, today advocated for punishment for having abortions.

They are contrasting themselves against him, so they look like good guys. Which, okay, you’re not advocating to have women killed for wanting to make a choice. Good for you. But that is not a fucking get out of jail free card for your inability to actually listen to the female voice when it IS challenging you and the sexist institutions we have in America.

You are going to say women have the right to choice and call yourself a feminist, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, a vegan pacifist, but you are unable to grasp the basic construct that you, you yourself, are exactly where this patriarchal system originates from? Microagressions and oppression that is allowed to exist on the radar because it’s being committed by the “good liberal feminist” men as well? 

Men telling women what they should be upset about, and what’s “not worth the time,” what’s “being a bitch,” what’s being “too sensitive” and then you’re also going to daily remind me what a fucking “compliment” is?

Fuck that.

Furious.

Mr. and Mr. liberal talk show that host no women and no outside voices besides your own: you are what’s wrong with this country. No matter who you fucking vote for for president, no matter how much you can contrast yourself from “sexists”,  or how much you donate to charity, you are the ones who are leading the voice of the oppression, because it’s going unchallenged.

The equality. The progress. The voices. You are squashing it with your own personal brand of “progress” that benefits you. Containing it and molding it to your liking. Yes, society will progress, but it will progress in a safe radio studio environment where no real ideas can get in, just a repetition of control, power and patriarchy under the veil of empathy and understanding.

Which, in my opinion, is not any better than an universally-known-as-unhinged Trump running for president.

It’s the liberal trust in you that’s disgusting. That you take for granted. That is privilege. That is not going anywhere if we continue to contrast you against the “bad guys” and let you lead us all in the battle.

I want someone else to lead the battle.

No one is fully able to understand what it’s like to be someone else, but some people are at least able to listen.

But I guess people who listen don’t make for good entertainment. Or good maintenance of status quo.

They had one more segment about a blonde guy with dreads and a black girl on a college campus. Something happened, she told him dreads was her culture, he said bitch, and she tried to pull him back to talk to him about it, and he filed for assault.

“He didn’t HAVE to listen to her. It’s his right to not listen,” liberal talk show host laughs with obvious oblivion. 

You can’t be an ally without listening. In my opinion, you can’t be a liberal without being able to listen and empathize. You don’t have to like what you’re hearing, but you should stick around and hear it.

I don’t know exactly what happened in this case, and neither did the guys I was listening to on the radio. But our different reactions to it are indicative of how we view the world.

I want to hear it and learn and make change, and I feel like they’re taking it in the opposite direction of complete immobility. They want it to stick around exactly as it’s always been. In a sneaky, making jokes and “don’t take it too SERIOUSLY” sticky, humid stagnant way. Never confronting real issues, never challenging our privilege, never challenging ourselves. Just shutting others down and validating themselves with circle logic. Sticking with this uber assertive idea of American interaction where we posit ideas, and we stick to them. So much more time is spent defending our initial reaction instead of actually learning and growing from that initial reaction.

So what do I want to say? I want to say fuck you to that radio station, but I want to open this up to the larger discussion about humanity. I’ve begun avoiding people that make me upset like these radio talk show hosts did today, and is that in a way not challenging myself? Not growing myself? Possibly. But at the same time, there is self preservation. There is so much sexism in the world, that if we all went around swinging at it constantly, we would never have time for anything else. And never feel fulfilled. There is beauty in letting some things go. And I definitely have experienced sexism in the past few months, and I’ve brushed it off because I didn’t feel I had the energy to get into it. I didn’t have enough time for me, why would I give more time to strangers insulting me?

Why would I give time to strangers insulting me?

Good question. 

Giving time to strangers insulting me and my sex is exactly what I have done this entire blog post, and I am conflicted about it. I don’t want to only write angry feminist pieces. I don’t think angry feminism is necessarily a very proactive way to go about change. But every once in awhile, I think it’s good to remember that things in life can make you really mad. And to remember that there is shit you can do to change it.

Writing about it, talking to people about it, and not trying to change someone’s mind, but, as my beautiful and awkward team leader told me last year: think of this as an opportunity for you. Not for them.

So when someone is infuriating with their beliefs, and the way they are subjugating you to them, take this as an opportunity to learn skills in teaching. Learn to explain to people in a way that they can understand.

Instead of just calling them disgusting, ask them questions about their beliefs instead of making assumptions. Ask them why, and really get into the bottom of their psyche. For you, and maybe even for them. Use this as a learning curve to learn how to effectively communicate your ideas without losing yourself to emotion. Use this as a way to become more.

x

 

 

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