Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh Gods No, She's An Angry Feminist

*Because of my situation, this is an older post-but still relevant- that I've tweaked and posted here.*

So I was out having dinner with friends the other night, and the conversation got onto Feminism. Specifically, on paying for dinner. Should the guy do it, why should they, why do they, why do they like to, and why don't I like it when they try?

Sigh. I love being a feminist. I came to it slowly but surely and although I'm notoriously lazy, I'm looking for something to actually DO to further the cause. Blogging, I hope, will be part of this. (That's right, not just content with furthering The Gay Agenda; I'm lobbying for Vaginal Autonomy, too!) It's part of who I am, I'm proud of it, I think it's worthwhile. Duh.

The thing is, I don't always like to talk about it with people. Somehow, they always feel the need to argue with me about it. I do, believe it or not, get tired of this constant struggle to get people to understand things that, to me, are simple and universal truths. I have to reduce everything to simplest-possible, explaining things such as: no, sexism isn't subjective; and yes, even though everyone does it, putting women in bikinis to sell razors or beer or pie or whatthefuckever is not cool.
I'm left gritting my teeth whenever anyone says they "hate all that PC bullshit" and "whatever happened to freedom of speech". I end up arguing, or lecturing, or worse, being lectured myself. I find it wildly irritating to have the beliefs I've considered and researched to some extent be scrutinized and condescendingly dismissed by people who, in general, just aren't as well versed in feminism or feminist history or theory as I am. Aradia knows, I don't claim to be an expert, but still. Feminism 101, people!

So yes, I know that things are better for women now than they were. In some ways. In some places. Yes, I know that we can't expect change to come overnight. Yes, I know that people, the world, etc... aren't perfect. I've heard it.
But so many arguments I hear come down to "That's the way it always has been and always will be, amen, and women should be grateful for what we have now, and jeez why do you make yourself so angry about it?"

At this point I have to bite my tongue hard to keep from telling this well-meaning and oh, so, enlightened and progressive person to go fuck themselves. With a chainsaw. Because they don't know shit about feminism, or me, or my anger.
I've written this before, but it bears repeating: Intent counts for something, but just because someone doesn't intend to be a dick doesn't make it ok when they, you know, act like a dick.

I do not accept this world as it is. I do not accept its injustice, its patriarchal porntastic megatheocorporatocracy, its rape culture or the misogynist assholes who allow it to thrive. I do not accept that we should take the crumbs the patriarchy gives us and then shut up. I do not accept the nearly-worldwide and longstanding treatment of women as "lesser". I refuse anyone but me the right to dictate the disposition of my body or mind. I refuse to accept that this is how it has to be. And the opposite of anger and social outrage? Is complacency. Fuck that, too.

So yeah, I will call out your bullshit. I will get annoyed if you say something is "gay" even if you don't mean it "that way". I will not laugh at your sexist/racist/whateverist jokes. I will not listen to any arguments based on evo-psych (evolutionary psychology, or "Why menz must wants to haz sexx0rs with all teh wimminz!" or "Don't blame me, it's my genes/penis/biology!"), because evo-psych is a bullshit excuse. I will not argue with you about sexism being relative/subjective, because it's really not. I will get mad when I see women being objectified in culture. I will call it rape if it's rape, and I will call a rapist a rapist (I don't care if you know him and "he's really a good guy"). I won't care if you tell me I'm a bitch. I am. It doesn't make me wrong.
Gods... I meant for this to be a short post. I meant not to rant. Really. But frankly, nothing makes me angry like being told I shouldn't be so angry.

Please go read the belowlinked if you want to understand a bit more about my position on anger, written by the awesome Melissa from Shavesville.

And about paying? I may like you, but I don't have to explain why I don't want you paying for my drinks/dinner/movie ticket/whatever. If you want to, and I let you, fine. If I don't want you to, or if you don't want to, then Dutch it is. Funny how if you don't want to pay I'm expected to be fine with it- and I am- but when you not paying is MY idea, it's "damn, that bitch is crazy!" On occasion, I may even pay for you. Shocking, I know.
Don't, please don't, fucking tell me I should be grateful, or not complain "when someone wants to be nice to me". Nice, to me, is someone respecting my wishes and letting me carry shit on my own if I want to. Your reasons and my reasons for doing things are based on entirely different worldviews, strongly predicated on the fact that I don't have a penis. And I’m ok with that.

I've heard the reasons for wanting to "do [whatever] for me"... Great. As well-meaning as you are, they just sound kind of patronizing and um, full o' Dude Privilege. Because I can do it for myself. I'm not even going into the old "he pays, she puts out" equation. I'll optimistically assume that most guys in this decade don't subscribe to that thought line. But just in case, I'd rather pay my own way and not owe anyone anything. Not a hug, not a kiss goodnight, not a second date or "the pleasure of my company". A rotten prick who pays for my drink is still going to be walked out on. And my response to the Nice Guy who says, "But it makes me feel good to [be able to] take care of you!" is usually: "Yeah well, it makes me feel good to take care of myself! And by the way, it's not my fucking job to stroke your ego!"

I worked hard for such independence as I currently have. To ask me to give up even a little bit- even temporarily- when it suits you, because it makes you feel powerful, or warm and fuzzy, or you just feel entitled... it grates on me. Until men and women are really equal, I take my equality where I can get it. So shut up and let me spend my money. I worked for it.
And don’t tell me not to get so angry. Because women are brought up to nurture, not to be loud, to compromise, to be liked, to not create discord, to make everyone happy, and to be "ladylike", whatever that means... I'll be angry if I fucking want to.