Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Status Quo

Every now and then I get on my feminism horse and go for a gallop. It's a horse that needs frequent exercise and not enough women ride it.

I've been following a number of blogs (Obviously). I've posted the funny ones, the STFU ones, but more seriously, I actively read Rabble Pro-Choice, Feministing and Slut Had It Coming.

In particular, today on SHIC, I read this passage about abortion:

If you believe abortion is OK in instances of rape but not in cases of consensual sex, ask yourself: Why? Am I really all that concerned about the “unborn”—because remember, it’s not that fetus’s fault if the woman carrying it was raped—or am I making a moral judgment about the behavior of the woman involved and whether or not I think she “deserves” the right to an abortion based on her behavior? If the latter, what you’re indulging in is misogyny (yes, even if you’re a woman) and slut-shaming, and there’s nothing admirable, fair, or right about that.

And that really spoke to me. I felt that way when I was a teenager, before I became a real person (i.e. a thinking person). But really, if you think abortion is murder, rape or incest should not matter because the fetus is a person. To be consistent, you'd truly have to disregard all circumstances of the fetus' conception. And of course, that would make you a douche utterly lacking in compassion.

And most people are compassionate. So they say in the event of rape or incest, let the poor woman abort, so long as she feels bad about it. But if she actually, liked the sex, slut better be having that baby, yo. And that's fucked up.

Sometimes (often) I get fed up by other people's expectations and projections of what a woman should be, or what a woman must be if she deviates from these pre-conceived ideas. I tried to show some family my belly dance moves and it was implied I did it for dollar bills and I was asked to sit down. I won't lie, that really hurt my feelings. I also felt misunderstood, and was baffled that an expression of my femininity must thus be a ploy to attract and extrapolate attentions and money from men. I couldn't enjoy the movements of my body and dance for me. It had to be a sexual thing. Because I'm a woman.

This is a common belief. Have you ever heard of the Bechdel Test? It's what you ask yourself before you watch a movie:
1. It has to have at least two women in it,
2. Who talk to each other,
3. About something besides a man

And you know what? Those are effing rare. I actually can't think of very many movies I've ever seen that fit this criteria. They're out there, but try to come up with 10. See how long that takes. Movies with two or more men who talk to each other about something other than women are easy to find. Try to come up with 20. It'll take you less time.

In fact, most of our childhoods were pretty much consumed with this problem: The Smurfette Principle. And it starts on Sesame Street. Sesame Street fails the test. A show supposedly gender neutral for children fails the test. It's the first damn thing kids see and half the population is not catered to. Why? Because males are considered some sort of default for human kind and females are secondary.

So what do you wind up with? You wind up with women, who are perceived as weaker versions of men, whose lives revolve around men and attracting men. You have women-centred plots and female leads considered as for women only, and male leads considered for everybody. You have those female stories frequently being driven by the relationship the women have with men and that's pretty much it. You have girls growing into women with few truly female stories to call their own.

You know how if a man admits to liking something feminine he has to be embarrassed and apologize? And if a women likes masculine things, she can brag about it? Yeah. That's what I'm talking about. Even when it comes to homosexuals, gay men get shortchanged because they're identified as more feminine, whereas lesbians though still prejudiced against, get a male seal of approval because it's sexy (and being considered masculine at the very least suggests power or intellect).

So no, women are not considered by many as having the right to choose because they're not considered strong or independent from male imput, and this is not only bred into us from an early age, it's perpetuated on an hourly basis all our lives. It's all connected. It all stems from thinking women either aren't as smart as men, aren't as relateable as human beings, are here for the pleasure of men, and essentially are a variation of men as people rather than people in their own right.

We have women trying to garner respect by rejecting femininity because they believe having a feminine side is bad. It's like the black girl saying the white doll is better and sadly hesitating before admitting she looks like the black doll. It's crap.

I don't need to hear "Sex And The City is actually a pretty good show," as though it's surprising that a story about women could be good. I'm tired of men being embarrassed to admit to liking feminine things. The only reason behind it is the inferiority we associate with femininity, as though it's actually shameful to be that way, as though femininity is something to apologize for.

I mean, even the word feminist has a bad rap as "man hating". You know, because women thinking of themselves as people, and deserving of opportunities is still so foreign a concept that it has to be steered back to women and the way they feel about men. I love men, but it's not all about them. To hell with the status quo.

End rant. For now.


  1. I just literally wrote a three page, thoroughly analytical response to this that was incredibly personal and important to me, and blogger crashed and lost it all.

    I'm going to cry. :*(

  2. Aw! Well, we can discuss your personal response thoroughly in person? Still, I hate when that happens :(