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I woke up this morning and for some reason, my first thoughts were of anger towards feminism. I’m not sure if my anger is correctly directed, if it’s a few bad apples spoiling the bunch, or what it is, but no matter what it is, I feel a serious need to rant. (Fair warning, this will probably be long.)
So here’s the thing… Right now I’m feeling that while the movement to gain equality for women is generally a good thing, it also seems to have totally screwed up a lot of things for a lot of people. I personally feel (and I’ve read blogs and comments from countless women who feel the same) that at least some feminists have gone too far, and it has… I’m struggling for the right words here… Diminished or invalidated our personal choices and impaired social situations. Ugh. Let me try to explain…
*Note: Understand that I am fully aware that not all feminists hold the same views and the issues I describe may not be caused by the whole, but by a few.*
Okay, here’s one example: Holding doors. You see, I’ve spent most of my life in the country. Up in Maine, then Georgia, then Texas. I’m big on courtesy. I believe in holding doors. However, so many women have screamed at men “I can open my own damn door!” that men don’t hold doors anymore. That courtesy has been killed in many men. It pisses me off. I don’t see a man holding a door as him thinking he’s bigger and stronger and poor little me might not be able to work the big bad door. I see it as “Oh, there’s a person behind me, maybe I should be nice.” I hold doors for people for shit’s sake! It’s courtesy! I don’t give a flip if the person behind me is male, female, green, brown, young, old or what. But so many women decided that it was a sign of men holding them down or belittling them, that it’s going away. What the hell is wrong with a guy pulling out a chair or holding a door or letting a woman go first? Yes, I can seat myself and open a door and walk behind someone without issue, but if a person wants to do something nice for me, why should that be an issue? It’s a radical concept, but why not just say “thank you” and quit seeing it as some mass conspiracy? Some guys, believe it or not, just like being nice and showing respect. Respect is good.
Then we get on to dating and who pays the bill. Once there was a time when the guy paid the bill and everyone was okay with that. It was even cool when it moved to splitting the bill on the first date just in case it didn’t work out or to avoid feelings of obligation. Now though, women will get pissed off if the guy tries to pay. “I can pay my own damn way, thank you! I don’t need a man taking care of me!” Seriously? Why? Why does this have to be a big deal? This shit has made it so that now many men expect women to pay half or pick up the bill. Guys are either being dicks with their expectation that a woman isn’t good enough if she can’t or won’t pay, or they’re nervous and confused wondering if the woman across from them is an insane feminist who will tear them a new asshole if he offers to pay or a woman who’s going to be cool either way or one who’d really like him to pay. Women have to wonder, does he expect me to pay all or half or none? It’s all insanity.
Picture this: What if you were out with a friend of the same gender? If two women go out together and one offers to pay the bill, the other should have the choice to pony up a part, offer to take the whole, or just say thank you. The same for two men. When you’re out with a friend do you think it makes one superior over the other to pay the bill? Do you think your friend feels belittled or lessened somehow by accepting to have their meal paid for? No. At least it shouldn’t feel that way. It’s not a power play or some evil thing. Again, it’s just courtesy. If a woman can pay and wants to, yes, the guy should not take it as a hit to his masculinity and should say thank you. A woman should likewise not take him paying as some evil plot and just say thank you. But no, it’s all screwed up and now going for a drink or a date has that added layer of stress and complexity.
Then there’s the issue of stay-at-home moms and women who don’t want careers. Feminism seems to have gone from a point of wanting women to be able to do anything men do, to forcing them to do what men do. Women are just as hard on each other now as men are. Women are telling other women (I’ve experienced it and read of many other experiences) that they’re not good enough if they don’t have a job, or more specifically a career. They’re not good enough if they don’t make a lot of money. They’re not good enough if they don’t make choices that fit the militant feminist agenda. Stay-at-home-moms and women who enjoy being in a male-supported household are shunned and degraded. By other women. We’ve gone from a time where not having a baby would catch you hell from other women, to being torn apart for not pursuing money and status. I hate to break it to you, but some of us don’t want that, and our desires should be just as damn valid as yours.
What compounds the issue is that not only do we catch shit from other women, men are being trained to devalue women who don’t have jobs and cars and their own place and plenty of money. As if we didn’t have enough shit to deal with, feminism has made it so that we have more ways in which we can be seen as unworthy and less. Thanks a fucking lot for that. I’ve actually been berated on a dating site more than once because I was honest about my self-employment and it appeared that I didn’t “make enough money to be worth dating.” Really fucking nice. So instead of guys being happy to find a woman who made any money and had any willingness to contribute, they now expect us to have and do as much as they do. And much like the dating, the few guys left who believe in taking care of a household are in a state of terror because of women who think that’s dominating and degrading and all that bullshit.
As for moms, women are given shit all the time for wanting to stay home with their kids. Other women are telling them to get jobs and work. Well, who takes care of the kids then? Oh, but a stay-at-home dad is an applaudable thing! Wait, but then he’s taking advantage of the working woman! But someone’s got to parent the kids! But everybody’s got to work! See the madness? And this is not about the economy and how supposedly both people working is a necessity to support a family. I’ve seen plenty of traditional families that are doing just fine. The point isn’t the money. The point is that one lifestyle shouldn’t be pushed as more valid than another. If I want to stay at home and have a modest home business but not any kids, that should be perfectly valid. If a woman wants to have a man pay the bills while she has children and stays home to nurture them, that should be valid. If a woman wants to have a notable career and pursue the highest heights of the employment ladder and stay single, that should be valid. It should also be just as valid for a man to make any of those choices.
The point in all of this is that it seems like feminism, rather than supporting women’s right to have and do anything men can do, it’s been turning women into men. We’re not being given the option of as much equality as we want within the lines of our personal life desires, we’re being told we need to be men. If they have jobs, we need jobs that are as good or better. If they pay bills, we have to pay as much and as many. We have to be strong, we have to be tough, we have to take on the world screaming and shaking a fist because we damn well don’t need anyone to do anything for us. Anything men do is oppressive and demeaning and we can’t allow that shit. We’re not being allowed freedom of choice anymore.
That’s what bugs me. Women are being just as harsh and demanding as we want men not to be. Women are acting superior over one another, pushing their needs, using shame and scare tactics, and bullying other women to follow their point of view. Women are strong arming other women into roles they don’t want for the sake of their greater agenda. It sounds and feels a whole lot like the male power driven bullshit we’ve been trying to put an end to, but now it wears a dress. I’m all for women having equal rights, but I don’t think that means that we should have to live like men and become as big of dicks as some people think men are. (And to the men out there, I know a lot of you are good guys with good values. Hold onto that. Not all of us women are crazy.) Why can’t we have courtesy and respect and allow everyone to live the life they want without judgement? Why not help men change their views instead of their behavior?
Yeah, I need to sidetrack on that one for a moment: What if, instead of being all bitchy and “I can pay my own damn bill!” you try communicating politely that you’d like to pay part or all of it? You appreciate his desire to pay, but it’s not necessary? Or maybe communicate politely that you appreciate him paying, but it does not entitle him to anything from you or your body? I guess communicating and developing a clear understanding with another human being would be too hard when you can just assume some oppressive agenda and get your knickers in a twist. The truth is, you haven’t got a damned clue what he’s thinking. Just because some guys think that paying then entitles them to something and gives them superiority doesn’t mean that all guys feel that way. Just because some guys used to think that women were delicate and fragile and less doesn’t mean that all guys still think that way. Maybe, just maybe, they only think it’s a nice thing to do.
What if, instead of forcing the idea that women need to have jobs and work and convincing men that they should expect that in women, you communicated about it and accepted different lifestyles? What if you, in your own relationships made it politely clear what you want, asked your potential partner what they want, and decided if it was a mutually beneficial situation for the two of you in your personal relationship? What if you fully accepted that some people enjoy a “traditional” lifestyle, and that’s okay, valid, and in no way a threat or affront to those who want to live a different way? Some guys want to take care of a woman and some women want to be cared for. Some people are all about careers without kids. Some women are cool with a guy staying at home while she pays the bills, and some guys want that. Some people want to take turns pursuing their goals and dreams while balancing a family in between. All of those lifestyles, and all the others that may exist, should be equally valid and respected.
What if, instead of setting forth arbitrary rules of supposedly “equal” behavior and lifestyles, we all figured out what we as individuals want, and then communicate that to those around us to ensure the most pleasurable life experience, while respecting the choices of others? Just as important, what if we stopped assuming some negative agenda in the actions of others and asked what they really think and feel so that we could come to a better understanding?
Honestly, I don’t want to be thought of as equal by what seems to be modern feminist standards. I don’t want anyone to expect that I live or behave in certain ways. I want to have the ability and the right to do whatever the hell I please, and change what pleases me as necessary, and be respected as I am.
Equality should be about communication and respect and level opportunity. I can do anything I want, and whatever I want to do is okay. I can be an astrophysicist or a corporate CEO or a banker or a nurse or a seamstress or a stay-at-home wife. I get paid the same as everyone else for the job I do, if I decide to do a job. I can cook, clean, raise children, teach, work, anything I please without limits or judgement. Nothing is expected of me except that I pursue my own dreams and be happy. If I’m in a relationship, friendly or romantic, equality would mean expressing my needs and goals, and hearing those of the other party. We would respect each other’s choices even if we didn’t agree with them or it meant that we weren’t compatible. No one path in life would be seen as better or worse than any other, so long as everyone involved was being respected and no one was getting hurt. Maybe I’m just insane, but that sounds pretty good. Everyone being open and honest about what they want and need, while respecting others’ right to want and need something else.
Ugh, I don’t know. It just seems like feminism is a good thing gone wrong. Maybe it’s just a few screwing it up and the core feminists don’t believe it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. I just don’t like that it feels as if now we as women have other women holding us down. Okay, maybe they see it as trying to push us up, but we shouldn’t be forced in any direction. We should be able to have whatever life we want. Yes, fight for us all to have equal opportunity. That’s a very good thing. Work so that we can all have any job, equal pay and all the same coverages and punishments under that law. But lay off shoving certain lifestyles down people’s throats. Stop looking for a way that every male action has a tie to some barbaric past moment where it was an anti-woman thing. Times have changed and so have people. Not everything old is bad, and a thing can exist while ideas about it change and its existence fits with modern times and needs. Work on communication and respect so that we can all get what we want and need without being judged. And for women, be good to each other and realize that some of you are being bullies and manipulators and making other women more stressed and insecure instead of empowering them. We should all be taking care of each other and trying to make each other happy, not finding new ways to make life harder.