Feminism | Posted by May K on 07/4/2011

Defying the Stereotype

the joke that started it all

the joke that started it all

Me: Make me a sandwich?

That was my Facebook status recently, and it led to a whole debate. People were saying that I should be in the kitchen, making food (should’ve expected that one) and I responded by telling them that a woman’s place is not in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. I mean, I’m a med student for Pete’s sake!

Yes, I want to be a mother and yes, I could use some cooking practice, but that doesn’t mean that’s all I should do. So my housemates and I eat two minute noodles and use those ingenious ready made meals. So what? We don’t have the time or the energy to slave away in front of the stove for hours on end. Hats off to the women who have, seriously, but that’s not for us.

Later, the “F” word pops up in my inbox. Yes, feminist. This got me thinking. Am I really a feminist? I mean, I want to be a mother, I want to be the best wife I can be, but I have always thought of myself as a feminist – just not the stereotype of a crazy feminist that people seem to automatically assume is what all feminists are like.

My response to being called a feminist? “What of that? There’s nothing wrong with being a feminist.” And there isn’t. Being a feminist doesn’t mean that I think all men are the scum of the earth (only some). And it also doesn’t mean that I want to replace every male with the “awesomer” sex, because that would be ridiculous.

I also recognize that there are differences between each sex. We’re equal and should all be treated equally, but we’re not the same. We’re not lower than them on the ladder of life and they’re not lower than us. We’re on totally different ladders, reaching for totally different things. As it should be.

I personally like the feel of being held in a man’s big, strong arms, and yes, maybe I should  learn to cook. I can’t live off microwave food forever. But in the end, that’s what feminism is about. It’s not about trying to be better, it’s trying to be equal and doing the things that make you happy despite your sex or what society expects of you.

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  • Lolita @ at 12:32 pm, July 4th, 2011

    . . I donno I don’t find them offensive, they’re jokes. People make racist jokes too, and jokes about men being ___. And they’re not even particularly offensive jokes (most of the time). As long as they’re actually /meant/ to be light hearted and not malicious. Why get our ovaries in a twist?

  • Matt SS @ at 2:19 pm, July 4th, 2011

    How do you know whether racist jokes are offensive to people? Are you an ethnic or racial minority, and have you been systematically discriminated against by a racial/ethnic majority? Better to say:”and they aren’t even particularly offensive jokes TO ME(most of the time.) And that’s not even getting into deeper issues.

    As for the OP, you still aren’t making individual choices. Free will is an illusion. You simply aren’t aware of all the factors interacting to produce your actions(not decisions.)

  • Rainicorn @ at 8:11 pm, July 4th, 2011

    “I can’t live off microwave food forever.” – I dunno, mate, I’m making a pretty good stab at it! I’ve managed 22 years of being alive without being able to cook anything more complicated than an omelette (with two more years of dorm-and-meal-plan to look forward to, thank you grad school!). It simply requires a delicate combination of creative grocery shopping, friends who enjoy cooking, and industrial quantities of pasta…

  • Mollie @ at 5:42 am, July 5th, 2011

    Nice post, you seem to be getting a strong grasp on the ideals of feminism. I sense that you’re new to looking into it.

    Feminism doesn’t care if you’re a homemaking goddess or a barrister in the most prestigious law firm, feminism is a cause for equality of everybody no matter what their choices in life. No one should be scared to affiliate yourself wholly to a label too often misunderstood by the ignoramuses of the world.

    As for the sandwich jokes? Ignore them. Don’t feed the trolls. The majority of the people making those jokes don’t honestly feel that way about women anyway, for the most part it’s just a bravado to look cool and edgy, politically incorrect and such. There are some who honestly feel that way but those people deserve nothing of your attention.

    Men and women are different in ways, but don’t fall for the sociobiologist crap that’s often used to back up stereotypes and excuse bad behaviour from either sex, it does whatever it can to prove it as natural and brush off the fact that the way we’re raised has more to do with it than anything else. It has its truths, but be wary of some of it.

  • Lolita @ at 10:37 am, July 5th, 2011

    To Matt
    Actually yes, bi-racial in fact which means I get kicked from both ends. Seeing I look racially ambiguous I get mistaken for just about everything but Nordic or Asian.

    But there is a difference between jokes and “jokes”. While yes some /are/ offensive in general people shouldn’t be /too/ sensitive. It may not be your cup of tea but not everything is an attack.

    What I’m saying is there’s a difference. People need to understand that. Bad jokes or not not EVERYTHING is an attack.

  • Matt SS @ at 1:08 pm, July 5th, 2011

    The intention of a person making a statement is irrelevant to the emotional response triggered in someone hearing a joke about a group of any kind they affiliate with. A large part of feminism is consideration for subjective experience. I’m sure that if I knew what you considered to be an attack and what you didn’t I could find a bi-racial person to tell you that you are being too sensitive and to stop taking everything as an attack. Every person’s subjective experience of oppression is different and therefore things which you consider not serious others are deeply upset by and things which you consider serious are not considered serious by others. By saying that people shouldn’t be too sensitive you are performing an act called erasure. It was once and is in some cases still, believed that you could not rape a spouse. The majority of men and women who heard a person claim to be raped by their spouse would says that it was not rape, that it was acceptable, that he or she was clearly remiss in sexually satisfying his or her spouse and that what happened was not really a crime. There is no logical difference between this position, and the position you espouse, that some people are too sensitive. the only differences are the assumptions. That is not rape/That is not an attack are logically equivalent statements.

  • Lolita @ at 5:11 pm, July 5th, 2011

    Matt,
    I get your point but take in to account blacks who use ‘the n word’ themselves and get offended if someone that they deem too light to use it as racist even if it’s the same usage.

    That isn’t just a double standard it’s over sensitivity. Like getting angry if a man opens the door for you because it’s ‘archaic’ and you can ‘open your own damn doors’.

    The tone /is/ needed. The emotional response can’t really be controlled but what we /do/ what that response. Is something else entirely.

    I am not saying that rape is not rape I did not even bring the physical in to this. The subject was about /comments/.

    Can cat calls be offensive? Yes.
    Can “Oh shutup and go make a sandwich” in the proper setting be offensive? Yes.
    Context, context, context.

  • Katherine C. @ at 10:39 pm, July 6th, 2011

    My response to any kind of “make me a sammich/ get back in the kitchen joke” is to open my eyes really, really wide, jerk back and forth, and let out machine-gun bursts of incredibly loud and obviously fake laughter. Then I go, again very loudly, “OH, HA, HA, HA! THAT’S SO FUNNY! YOU ARE A FUCKING COMEDIC GENIUS! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH AND WHO I AM, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!” Then, when everyone starts looking at me in consernation, I yell, “OH, I’M SORRY! I’M A FEMINIST! I HAVE NO FUCKING SENSE OF HUMOR!”

    This works especially well if it happens to occur in a public area.

    I just can’t take the jokes. I can’t smile and nod.

    Also, one big issue with the original post: “We’re on totally different ladders, reaching for totally different things. As it should be.” REALLY???!!! have you ever freaking heard of Plessey vs. Ferguson???

  • Gina @ at 12:03 am, July 25th, 2011

    Here’s a problem with choice feminism.

    Women who choose to be mothers and work part time or not at all end up losing out in terms of bargaining power in society and in their relationships. They become dependent on their man for basic needs. This is not equality.

    Unfortunately, society is made by and for men, in their image and likeness, so being successful outside of homemaking often requires a woman to adopt as many stereotypically male traits as possible. Being a stay at home mom or a part time working mom does make it much more difficult to adopt the stereotypically male traits of ambition, independence, and competitiveness. Therefore, because it is more difficult, (financial) success outside the home (independence) is less likely.

    There is no “should” when it comes to what men and women are “supposed” to be reaching for, or what “ladder” they are climbing. Equality is actually a little too idealistic as a goal to work towards because we’re not starting off with a clean slate. I’d settle for peace.

  • Catherine @ at 4:02 am, August 12th, 2011

    Eh it depends on the kind of man. I ask my man for a sandwich and generally he brings it to me. As for learning to cook, he makes dinner, I make one of the five breakfast foods I know how to make and we have leftovers or go out for lunch.

    A feminist relationship, based on my vast (ok 8 mnths) experience is based on compromise. He hates buying precooked meals but is almost always gone away business. I hate cooking and never met a dish I couldn’t burn. So, in exchange for notbuying premade dinners too often he cooks and freezes dinners so most nights my cooking involves a microwave alone.

    I don’t know if this was quite what you were getting at, but even if you do marry and have kids it doesn’t m
    Mean you have to know how to cook more than pizza rolls.

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