Ever since really digging my teeth into the matters that would evolve into the essay of my last posting, I've done a lot of thinking about feminism, men, women, and perspective. Even more so after writing the essay, and in conference with my teacher, it's become a point of focus for me. One thing I've realized is that I don't actually consider myself a feminist in the very-contemporary sense; in that sense that seems more pro-women and anti-men than pro-equality, and that spends all its time screaming about patriarchy and views men as objects of oppression rather than people.
And so, in the last three days in particular, I've been working with that. Working with the realization that in terms of contemporary feminism I, in fact, tend to side with men. Because I want equality, not to scream at men with centuries' worth of anger; I have no interest in guilt-tripping my male peers on the sins of their fathers, grandfathers, etc. That's just not fair. I'd rather educate them on the truths of women, and being a woman (female terror, etc), and in turn allow them to educate me. Work toward eradicating those thousands of double standards each sex has for the other.
And then today happens. I spend serious time and energy trying to understand men and their points of view better, and then today happens.
Lying on the lawn outside, reading and minding my own business, two guys - townies, I expect - come over and not only make generic, lewd remarks from a semi-distance, but one actually crouches down right next to my shoulder and asks me what I'm going to do when I finish this chapter. And am I sure
I want to keep reading, isn't there anything else I'd rather be doing? And he actually places a hand on my book
as if to take it away from me. I told him to go away, and for reasons beyond my comprehension, except for a good upbringing (and a rising fear), I included a please. "Please go away now." Thankfully, he and his friend did.
No more than two hours later, in the process of running out of the building to make dinner, I opened the door for two guys who were looking for their keys to get in. As I run past them, rather than a thanks I get a, "Hey, you don't have to run away, baby."
And then I read this
. And if you're going to read anything today, this week - hell, in the next year, you should read that.
And as I react, furious, crying, shaking, and ranting to a guy I'm talking to, all he can think to do is make jokes, trivialize the issue and my reaction, and tell me that I should feel lucky because at least I don't live in Afghanistan. At least I can get a job.
Sometimes I think I'd take some fucking respect over a job.
This doesn't, on the whole, change my stance. I still think we sell men short, and I think we don't address the issues well. I think the classic contemporary feminist spends too much time yelling and accusing, and not enough time in dialogue about the problem - and not enough time looking at the problems we create ourselves (hello
, unrealistic expectations!)
But it's still fucking discouraging. And it still makes me cry and rage for all the women who feel like they have to apologize, and for all the women who are made into things by men, and who are afraid of men, just because they're men, because they've had to put up with too much of this crap.
Seriously, guys. Men. What the fucking hell did we ever do to you? What did we do to deserve centuries of degradation, humiliation, abuse -- things that carry on into now
. They're not GONE. The problem isn't solved, it's not over. How did we earn this perception that we are less than you?
Because, seriously? We're not. The problem is most of us don't even realize it. And even many of those who realize it don't actually feel it.