Revisiting the “F” Word.

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***WARNING: WHAT IS ABOUT TO FOLLOW IS SOME OPINIONS AND SHIT.*** I have been meaning to write for weeks, but because of my work schedule, it’s been nearly impossible. For those that don’t know, I have a job where I am taken to different “on-site” locations and these projects can last anywhere from three to six months, and it can be very physical at times. Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I was in one of the offices here, and I overheard a conversation between two of my coworkers:

Man A: “Yeah she was one of those crazy feminists, super bull-dyke-man-hater.”
Man B: “Ugh, that’s the worst.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s STILL REALLY 2015 and conversations like these are STILL taking place. At this point, I promptly turned around and said, “Hi Offensive!  By the way, that’s not feminism. A feminist is someone who believes in equality for men and women.” Blank faces stared back at me, with a hint of sheepish embarrassment that a woman had actually overheard their remarks (despite the fact that they were sitting 10 feet away and it was an open room), and had felt the need to comment on their erudite conversation.

Man A: “So….we’re feminists?”
Me: “Do you believe in human rights?”
Man A: “….Yes….”
Me: “Then there’s your answer.  Human rights, these are good things.”

***

When I was a little girl, I didn’t really understand gender roles or stereotypes. I liked playing with plastic dinosaurs, thinking I was going to be a veterinarian/taxidermist when I grew up (that way I could memorialize the pets I couldn’t save), and playing time-machine on my swing set in order to re-enact some of history’s greatest moments; a personal favorite was Nero playing the violin while Rome was burning. I’m not even kidding. I stood on top of the slide and pretended to be Nero playing the violin while my best friend and brother pretended to be Roman citizens burning in the flames (For the record, none of us were abused as children).

It had not occurred to me that girls and boys had different opportunities in the world until one day, my friend (the same Roman-citizen-burning-in-the-flames-friend), sat me down and started telling me about what she had learned in a social studies class about girls having greater difficulty in life advancing. I was about ten or eleven–I remember because she was two years older and had gotten picked to attend a young women in leadership-esque conference and I thought that was “super cool” and wished I had been old enough to also attend (and this was the mid-late 90s, where the Spice Girls’ GIRL POWER! was all the rage).

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Flash forward almost twenty years later, I went to a university which had a ratio of roughly 80% men to 20% women, and I have a job that often makes me one of the only women in the room. Luckily, the pay policy in my job is very strict; a woman and a man entering at the same time will never have disparity in pay; “Equal Pay for Equal Work,” is surprisingly one of the few gender-blind policies we have.  Apart from that, conservative patriarchal values reign supreme in this career field, although it is slowly changing.

The conversation between my coworkers that day in the office just really made me think about how there continues to be this dirty connotation with the word “feminism” (and, for the record, their language regarding the woman was disgusting. That in itself is another issue). I have never not been able to do something in my life because I was born female; that doesn’t mean I haven’t received criticism and haven’t seen the pervasive negative attitudes against women in my career-field (and let’s be honest, the freaking world). I also realize that the things I can do today (receive formal education, vote, own property), were not things women could always do (and STILL CAN’T DO in parts of the world).  My university didn’t start accepting women until the late 1970s, and when it did, they were not welcomed with open arms.  I am NOT a victim; however, I have no problem calling bullshit when I see it.

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A few months ago, the “I don’t Need Feminism Because,” trend on the internet popped up.  Obviously, I preferred the “Cats Don’t Need Feminism Because,” version, but I couldn’t help thinking–are these people actually f*%^ing serious?  So, I took the time to come up with a few “I don’t need X because,” of my own:

1. “I Don’t Need Civil Rights Because,”

2. “I Don’t Need to Access to Medical Health Services Because,”

3. “I Don’t Need Food and Water Because,”

4. “I Don’t Need Protection from Convicted Felons Because,”

5. “I Don’t Need Tuna Because,”

(Just kidding, I need Tuna.  Where is the Tuna?)

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Sexism, like other forms of bigotry, is deeply interwoven into our society to the point where it can become “sneaky” and part of the, “Well-that’s-the-way-it’s-always-been,” mindset.  A simple but perfect example: “You throw like a girl!”  This is a seemingly “innocent” phrase that implies that the thrower is weak.  Think about insults thrown around: Sissy, pussy, little bitch.  It takes anywhere from roughly a month to a year to form a habit, and these are sayings children learn early on.  What is this saying about our culture that we continue to associate being female with negative circumstances?  In much the same way that none of my family or friends ever said, “You are white, therefore you are better than anyone who isn’t white,” I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I couldn’t see how my life has been shaped by certain racial prejudices prevalent in society (like how white privilege isn’t a real thing, right?!), and how as an adult I’ve had to reexamine my beliefs and throw down the bullshit card because of certain things ingrained from childhood (Because just like it’s easy to spot the “bad racists,” it’s easy to spot the “bad sexists,” right? <–for the record, that’s sarcasm).

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Feminism is not man-bashing.  Feminism is about protecting the rights of BOTH MEN AND WOMEN.  If we don’t need feminism, what should we tell those 1,000,000+ trafficked persons?  If we don’t need feminism, why are so many men still afraid to come forward about being raped?  If we don’t need Feminism, why am I still seeing articles on my Facebook newsfeed that go along the lines of, “In Defense of being Child-Free” (It’s 20-freaking-15–who the eff cares who makes humans with their genitals and who doesn’t??), why are we still so worried about the gender identity of children?  We’re reaching a point where we have the ability to move past these centuries-old prejudiced ideas about humans, because they’re just that–prejudices.  Stripped of everything, humans are the same at the core.  We are born the same way and we die the same way: man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, brown, whatever–made up roughly of 55-60% water and organic materials, we are, in the words of Chuck Pahluniak “the same decaying organic matter as everything else.  We’re all part of the same compost heap.  We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”  Maybe that’s a little bit of a messed up way of looking at things, but in a way, the dark humor is grounding.  Take away the lofty ideals of one group being better than the other, for whatever imaginary and arbitrary reasons, and realize that life can be pretty shitty for the lot of us, so the best thing to do is buckle down and do your part to not make it as shitty for the next person.  THAT’s why we still need feminism.

Oh, and I take back the part about us all dying the same way–that goes for everyone except 50 Cent, because let’s be real, that guy has been shot like, 9 times.  That’s some crazy bionic-CIA shit going on right there.

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Happy Women’s History Month!

-KP out!

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Historical Selfies, LOL Feminism. Give me tuna instead!

I love the internet.  Seriously, I always wish we could bring back famous dead people and see what their reaction would be/how they would handle the internet.  I can just imagine Napoleon Buonaparte taking selfies or posting in an online dating forum.

LonelyinElba4U- online now!

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 Likes: attempting to conquer large European nations, standing with hand in front of shirt, posing dramatically on horses for paintings

Looking for: That one special lady who can handle a whole lot of dynamite packed into all 5’6” of this love machine.  Must be clean, non-smoker, like dogs, okay with living in exile for long periods of time, and being with a man who knows how to lay down the law–that’s right baby, as in my very own Napoleonic Code 😉  Hit me up if you’re interested!

 

This site can be credited for the awesome Napoleon selfie!

Or what if famous historical people could ask for dating/marriage advice?  Anne Boleyn writes to dating coach Evan Mark Katz for advice:

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Dear Evan,

My husband recently became very withdrawn and non-affectionate since the birth of our daughter, Elizabeth.  Where he was once all over me and daresay I, a touch “handsy,” now he avoids me like the Bubonic Plague!  I am doing my best to make him see me in the same light he did before I had the baby….and  I know he MUST love me, I mean, the man BASICALLY caused a schism in the entire fabric of the Church in our country because he wanted to divorce his wife before me (she just didn’t “get” him, but I know I’m special!  He’s TOLD me so like, a gazillion times!).  It’s just so hard to keep a man hooked when you have all these 14-year olds prime and ready for the picking around here!  Please help me, Evan!

-Losing My Head

Dear Losing My Head,

Your husband sounds like he is the classic emotionally unavailable man, and it sounds like he just isn’t doing what he needs to do on HIS part to keep you happy in the relationship!  Remember, the best kinds of relationships are built on mutual love, respect, and trust.  If he isn’t showing you these then you might want to think of leaving for someone who can better fulfill your needs, otherwise, his emotional unavailability might really cause you to ‘Lose Your Head.’

-EMK

***

Switching gears, you know who also would do REALLY awesome on the internet?  Abraham Lincoln.  As this site points out, Lincoln was actually the original hipster.   Think about it: Lincoln would have been all over his own blog or website.  He was tall, lanky, moody, and had his own fashion sense.  

From the Hipster Lincoln on Tumblr:

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Okay, okay, so now digressing to the other part of this post.  So we’ve established the internet is fantastic and everyone who never had the ability to watch the Hampster Dance or Nyan Cat  just because they HAPPENED to have died before it was fully realized into its current state of awesomeness really missed out, there’s also SO much epic fail.

I’m not a fan of the hate of (insert any type of group here).  Recently I guess there’s been all this hoopla over the Fat Acceptance Movement?  It makes me think of this (except in reverse, I guess?  I have no idea):

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Except, lezz be real, because I think the REAL issue is THIS:

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All right people, let’s get real here.  These are some serious pugs who will develop some major body image issues so we need to just back off and let them be free.  Pugs gotta do their thang!

Can we just accept that humans have bodies and some bodies are bigger or smaller than other bodies or different colors and with more or less fingers or have tiger tattoos everywhere and people can be attracted to what they want to be attracted to??. No one is wrong for “having curves” or being “stick thin” or super muscular or whatever! Let’s just stop hating on x as opposed to y. Fit people, go bust out another set of reps instead of hating on bigger people. Bigger people, just do your thing and don’t listen to the haters. Skinny people keep on being skinny with your crazy fast metabolisms that make me jealous. Tiger man, you do you, boo boo.

UnknownAnd that’s okay, and yes, healthy lifestyles are encouraged but can we please get past the hating on people too thin/fat/feline?  Because I know for me sometimes I’m really all about fitness (like 2 Hours in the gym a day!), and sometimes I’m really all about sitting on my couch and eating pop-tarts and watching bad horror movies and Forensic files and it goes in cycles and I do what I feel like I need to do at the time. And the good news is big people can get smaller and small people can get bigger and tiger man can get even more tiger and it’s all going to be okay in the end!

Also, apparently another thing to hate on right now is feminism, because who doesn’t love to hate on human rights?  Well, don’t worry, I’ve got a site that explains EXACTLY why we don’t need feminism:

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Go home, internet, you’re drunk.  Where is my tuna?  Here’s a selfie of Bill Clinton (someone who actually isn’t dead yet who really appreciates the internet!).

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-KP out!