So I just started reading Backlash by Susan Faludi. It is, so far, great, even though I’ve barely started the first chapter. Part of the reason I wanted to read it is because the “feminism is a done battle; you’re just paranoid; the feminists have already won” attitude really pisses me off. And yet so many people think like this. For shame, mon ami, for shame. With boys and men I can understand it. They’re not the ones being oppressed; privilege is nice, isn’t it, boys? Like a big warm hug at the expense of millions. Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, doesn’t it? (The warm-fuzzy bit is your soul getting moldy) And O.K., if you’ve been treated perfectly well all your life because you hold the reins (we’re lookin’ at you, white, straight, middle-class males) you’re not going to want to change things, or maybe just not realize anything is wrong. But why are women so resistant to the idea that we are not treated well? I realize that the term ‘feminist’ comes with enough negative connotations to feed a small country for a year (though I think connotations are not particularly filling), and that appeasing the oppressor (I’m still giving white/straight/middle-class males the eyeball here) is built into our system by society, but why do they still deny that anything is wrong? Feminists are not working against you, ladies– they are working for you. They are not trying to take away your rights to be a stay-at-home mom, or declare that your love for knitting is sexist. They’re just trying to ensure you aren’t made to believe that women just love staying at home and doing laundry and hand-washing their hubbies socks with raw liquid love and devotion and that we all have a natural predisposition towards the color pink (seriously, why pink?). And yet these women insist that everything is fine, that sure, they’re a feminist, or maybe they’re not a feminist, but they’re any man’s equal, and they just happen to like being traditionally feminine and that ironing hubbie’s tie is a very satisfying job, thankyouverymuch. Suuuuure. Honestly, shouldn’t feminism make women more comfortable? The idea of a group of strong, badass women who are looking out for your rights to be whoever the hell you want to be shouldn’t make you feel nervous.
So, in response to this gag-worthy belief that “men and women are just different! Women are bio-frickin’-logically programmed to wear skirts and get unnatural surgery to make men think they’re sexy and take sharp razors to their legs and armpits and vag’s and arms to become hairless, prepubescent children!” I have composed a list of “You Might Be A Sexist Pig If…”s. If you answer yes to the below, than hey! That’s sexism! Note: if you answer yes, it does not automatically make you a terrible person headed straight for the pits of hell, or even not a feminist. The list is just meant to help you recognize that these behaviors are sexist. If you know they’re sexist but still do them, that’s… not really O.K., but it’s understandable. I definitely do some of these; we all have to try to figure out how to behave in a non-woman-hating way.
Do you go after or leave before the women play at sporting events?
Do you think it is creepy, unnatural, or laughable when a man performs traditionally feminine tasks, acts in feminine ways or dresses effeminately?
Do you ever use the phrase, “man up”, “grow some balls”, “chick flick/lit”, or ever refer to women as “bitches”, “sluts”, “skanks”, “whores”, etc. etc.?
When thinking about a woman, do you think about her appearance/sex appeal/relation to a man before anything else?
Do you think that women have an “obligation” to look “put together” when they go out?
Do you think abortion should be illegal regardless of the woman’s beliefs/opinions or situation?
Would you ever encourage a woman (friend or partner) to get purely cosmetic surgery?*
Do you find women laughable, ugly, or frumpy when they don’t shave their legs, wear put-together outfits, wear men’s clothing, bind their breasts, have a very short haircut (“mom haircuts”- ugh, I hate that expression), etc. etc.?
When you see a single father, do you automatically feel sympathy for him and think what a wonderful father he must be to do this all on his own? Do you think the same thing when you see a single mother?
Do you judge unmarried women depending on whether they are virgins or not? Do you make assumptions about her personality (“she’s a slut”, “she likes to party”) based on whether or not she is a virgin?
I could go on and on with this list, but I think I’ll stop here for now. Maybe I’ll end up doing something where on Mondays I’ll have a short list of “You Might Be a Sexist Pig If”s.
On an unrelated note, one of my friends had a great idea when I told her I wrote a feminist blog. She said, “Oh, if you ever have a contest you should make it ‘who can punch the most misogynist prickheads in a day’!” She didn’t use the term ‘misogynist prickheads’ actually, but you get the idea. I sort of thought this was a great idea. I’m not starting a contest, but if you want to punch a misogynist prickhead for me, go ahead. My thoughts will be with you.
*When I say purely cosmetic surgery, I am not referring to surgeries such as cosmetic surgery for patients who have been badly hurt (in a fire or something) or breast reduction surgery if it’s paining your back, etc. etc. Breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy is purely cosmetic, and people are probably going to hate me for saying that’s sexist, but that’s for another post.