Feminism | Posted by Jaded16 on 06/17/2010

Quite the (Un)Feminist Dilemma

random lax bros: probably not feminisms biggest proponents

random lax bros: probably not feminism's biggest proponents

As much as I try, I cannot live in a void. Sure, I can keep to myself, read when none of my LadyFriends are around, ignore the douche dude in class when he’s mumbling, “You think so because you’re a woman.” Hell, I can go as far as to wish reality didn’t exist. Sometimes that works; especially if alcohol is a part of the equation. Most other times, I do realise that I don’t live in a void.

Due to my almost regular residence in the RealWorld, I do have to meet, co-exist and sometimes even share breathing space with Not-Feminist people. It doesn’t always go down too pleasantly. Especially if your argument against bell hooks is that “her nose looks weird” or if you think watching Oprah makes you feminist. Chances are, you’ll be yelling your lungs out at me; calling me a man-hating, bra-burning feminist while I am explaining to you just why your brain will melt away one day if not used immediately. I warned you things get ugly around me.

I am often left wondering why do many young women shy away from the label of Feminism? It’s not like being a woman, acting, or thinking like one is a disease. If it is, I’m sure it’s not as contagious as rabies is. Of course dear old douche-y dude-y Axe has another take on that. But this is not what I am ranting about today.

What gets to me is how most women will go to great lengths to deny this title. They’ll yell, screech, thinly veil their insults, call you names. Some even wear Playboy merchandise to piss you off. Often it works too well and soon enough you’re doing some of your own screeching. Sometimes it gets to such a point that you really want to even hit them for being so daft (Ladies: Don’t ever hit anyone. Message brought to you by humanity). Sometimes you want to just sit them down, whack them on the head with ‘The Dialectic of Sex’ till they get you. Or maybe sometimes you just wish they’d go away to a galaxy far, far away and never come back. Too bad as the bell rings, you collect your books and see that girl acting like a fool just to comply to the wishes of her Dude.

By this point, you’ve gotten over yourself and your narcissistic need to stop looking at anything beyond your own nose. Have you ever wondered, just maybe, she does try and gets nowhere?

Now Beyoncé in this video is probably the ideal of femininity — where femininity equals to hero-worship and the obligation to give his boner a squeeze every minute. She picks it up to such a level that it becomes absurd, at the same time it remains extremely real. She does your laundry, waters your plants, cooks, washes your car and windows while looking like she just walked out of a lingerie catalog, ready to jump your bones when you say so. Despite all her efforts, you still don’t love her, she cries. How many times you’ve seen the same scene unfold in front of you? Sans the hot pants of course.

She’s the girl sitting three rows behind you in class, her only aim is to get a boyfriend and keep him happy. Or the woman you see crying in the train, talking to her spouse, wailing, begging him to take her back. Perhaps it’s a person you know really well, you’ve seen her trying to please her man over and over again; landing back on the floor every single time. Maybe it’s your best-friend who is still sticking around in an abusive relationship hoping to ‘change’ him. At one point or the other, we’ve seen and met these women. Maybe, not-so-long ago we were like them too.

The question that we all come back to is — why don’t you love me? Especially when I make it so easy for you to love me, croons Beyoncé. You can blame the patriarchal culture, misogynist ad campaigns and opinions, that guy down the street who stares at you like you are an object, blame his parents for not teaching him any better, blame your parents for encouraging gender differences, blame your ex WHO BY THE WAY STILL HAS ALL YOUR BOOKS, blame your teachers for not nipping sexism in the bud, blame the State for trying to control our bodies, this culture that re-enforces women’s worth isn’t too much. Finally, you can blame yourself for letting all this affect you on a personal level. You still end up crying with mascara eyes while you’re sitting around your house in lingerie while waiting for him to call.

What is the solution? Give up mascara? Or the guy? Or not expect so much? Or surmising that “She had it coming. She was too needy”? Think it’s justified because she’s not a feminist, therefore she’s obviously a doormat and there’s nothing you can do about that?

Here’s one suggestion: Maybe, we can acknowledge that she tries. This alone makes her human and ‘worthy’ of our time. The next step is to STOP judging. This is the only way we will get anywhere far, far away from now.

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  • Quite The (Un)Feminist Dilemma « Oi With The Poodles Already @ at 11:32 am, June 17th, 2010

    [...] post is published in the fbomb [...]

  • Sarah @ at 12:28 pm, June 17th, 2010

    I think you have gotten this video completely wrong. She spends the entire video *trying* to fit her assigned gender role, and all these ‘female’ tasks she takes on end in disaster. The only time she is successful and happy is when she is dusting off her grammys.

    I think the message of this video is that forcing ourselves into these gender roles won’t make us happy. She is doing everything to please her man (“why don’t you love me”) and in the end, nobody is happy. The grammys symbolise her own achievements, and that is the only thing in the video which makes her truly happy.

    Her outfits are clearly a modern twist on the fifties, and #I think the comment here is that even though things seem to have changed, women still do things in order to please a man, whether that be doing what he wants in the bedroom, or what he wants in the kitchen. Clearly this is no way to be happy, clearly illustrated by the fact that she is crying.

    I’d like to point out also, that at the end of the song she concludes that if he doesn’t love her, then he must be “plain dumb”.

  • Kelpie @ at 1:09 pm, June 17th, 2010

    While this is not one of Beyonce’s best songs, she has many redeeming ones. Destiny’s Child is rich with feminist songs and even some of her new ones are fantastically feminist, like If I Were a Boy. Anyway, I really get frustrated with girls who will refuse to be called feminists when they obviously are. And there are a lot of girls out there who do have feminist ideals, so all hope is not lost.

  • Kelpie @ at 10:56 pm, June 17th, 2010

    Yeah, what Sarah said. ( ; Duh, why didn’t I think of that.

  • sanya @ at 1:25 pm, June 18th, 2010

    I read this a while back on your blog and when I read this now, it truly made sense to me, for today I met such a woman. I caught myself being too judgmental and then I remembered to back up a bit :)

    There’s no “right” or “wrong” reading of a song/novel/ad etc. I appreciate Jaded’s point of view as well as all the counterpoints too.

  • Christina @ at 2:31 pm, June 18th, 2010

    @Kelpie: I understand feeling frustrated that there are few girls that identify as feminists, but attaching a label to someone that clearly does not want to labeled is the wrong way to go about things. We on this side of the fence obviously see things from our viewpoint, but there are valid reasons for rejecting feminism or being skeptical towards it. It’s not like it’s feminist army recruitment or something… ;)

  • Christina @ at 4:51 pm, June 18th, 2010

    *to be labeled, it should have read

  • RebJ @ at 9:21 pm, June 19th, 2010

    “there are valid reasons for rejecting feminism”

    erm..like what?

  • Christina @ at 11:09 am, June 20th, 2010

    “To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” Valerie Solanas, Authoress of the SCUM Manifesto
    (Society for Cutting Up Men.)

    “Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.” Andrea Dworkin

    “Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience.” Catherine Comins

    “All men are rapists and that’s all they are” Marilyn French, Authoress; (later, advisoress to Al Gore’s Presidential Campaign.)

    “In general, I support a girl’s right to offend any member of the opposite sex who happens to cross her path. In fact, I’d much rather see a little girl wearing a shirt that mocks boys than one that turns them on.” Treena Shapiro

    Feminism has always had a HUGE public relations problem- in part because it´s been unfairly maligned by people that want to stifle the movement. Case in point: I got these quotes from a sexist blog whose only purpose seemed to be criticizing feminism and whining about how oppressed the poor helpless menz are. The quotes were presented without any kind of historical or personal context and the blogger was thus intellectually dishonest in presenting them the way he did.(I am assuming the blogger is a he!) But would Joe or Jane Schmoe know about the awful legal and political standing of women during the middle of the century, the very things that second wave feminism was trying to combat? No. All they would see are those cherry-picked quotes and conclude that feminism is about hating men, lesbianism and destroying the family. Here´s the link if anybody cares to check out the ridiculous blog: http://masculinisme.blog-city.com/radical_feminist_quotes.htm

    My point being this: feminism has been put in a bad light and/or appropriated by the mainstream ever since its inception. The term feminist is still constantly being abused- ie Sarah Palin calling herself a feminist and twisting feminist language for her own political gain. Jessica Valenti wrote a pretty good rebuttal to that in a recent WaPo article, but I digress. There is so much confusion and controversy surrounding the F word that I find it silly to blame non-feminist girls for not being feminists. Our peers weren´t the ones that created the misconceptions or presented feminism as something undesirable, so why attack them for not joining us? Besides, feminists shoot themselves in the foot plenty of times as well. I am a long-time member of a message board that was co-founded by a feminist writer and I have watched many debates between those on the board that identify as feminists and those that don´t. One of the worst mistakes the feminists made was trying to force feminism or feminist ideals down other members throat and not respecting the opinions of the non-feminist members. That´s one of the reasons I am very wary, despite my own firm convictions, of trying to “convert” somebody or trying to prove that I am in the right and they are in the wrong. Feminism is supposed to be about thinking for yourself, so why would I try to rigidly impose my beliefs on somebody else?

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