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You are either a Feminist, or an Asshole.

Many thoughts. Here they come.

[I know this not the usual content of my blog, but current events like the book I’m reading, a few items in the news, and a fight that a meninist picked with my little sister have awoken my inner DragonWoman, so behold…]

There is a frighteningly large percentage of people in my life–students in my Women’s Literature course, acquaintances on my Facebook news feed, commenters on the internet articles I choose to read–who think that feminism is nonsense and feminists are crazy. I have seen them write out and have heard them verbalize their beliefs that gender equality exists already, that feminists are overreacting, that there is no need to keep having these conversations. Unfortunately, many of these people are Christians and conservatives… two groups who are often thought of as unintelligent [1]. I don’t like the thought that so many of my fellow Christians and conservatives [2] take pride in their anti-feminist stances. Let’s take pride in our intelligence instead, and make sure our thoughts are rational.

To help, allow me to address some points in the hopes of educating & persuading the rational onlookers (because the crazy people are going to scoff at reason anyway and are already dead to me):

– “Feminism is nonsense! Gender equality already exists!”
Men and women are not paid the same for the same work [3]. When evaluating an otherwise identical resume, male AND FEMALE hiring staff were biased toward the one belonging to a “John” over the one belonging to a “Jennifer” [4]. Boys are offered cars, trains, science kits, action figures, books, super heroes, all the Legos, dinosaurs, math games, and more. Girls are offered dollies and pink things and play kitchens, maybe some books and horses [5]. What message does that send? Boys, grow into whatever powerful, smart man you believe you can become. Girls, be prepared to pop out babies for those boys. “But that’s biblical and good!”
I don’t think God meant to limit women to motherhood alone. Consider C.S. Lewis’ argument in “Mere Christianity”—

“The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”

Our desires were designed to be fulfilled by things that exist.
When girls and women desire to pursue certain careers and identities, then God approves. Stop trying to be the voice of God. Women are not bad people or bad mothers or bad Christians by wanting equal access and equal treatment in their work. Ruminate on points made in texts like “Reviving Ophelia” or commercials like the “Like a Girl” series. Young girls believe they can be anything, and only stop when someone illustrates or tells them that they are less, limited, silly, “just a girl.” Stop it. Fix the message. Have you read the entire text regarding the Proverbs 31 woman? She has a job! She works hard! She kicks ass! [6]
So there.
God is not a male. God is also not a female. He transcends gender. He is described as a warrior and a mother, a shepherd and a lover. I do not think He perceives me as “less” because of the awesome uterus I have instead of balls. I think there are people in the Church who view me as less because of that, though… and I think that’s why I’ve struggled to find the right Church home the past few years. If you can’t handle my awesomeness then I will chill with God on my own, without y’all.

– “Feminists are crazy!”
I’m sure people have met a few extreme feminists who have turned them off to the label. But shouldn’t the majority, the well-balanced feminists, be the true owners of the label?
It’s how Christians work it, after all.

– “Feminists are overreacting! Stop trying to force this equality conversation!”
No. It is not overreacting to call out misogyny. The number one response I see/hear in person/online to reports of sexism are along the lines of “girls can’t take a joke.”
If someone is jokingly sexist with you, it ought to be a friend, with whom you regularly joke. You will understand by their tone that they are not attacking you. You will have the type of relationship in which such a joke is acceptable and comfortable.
But does it usually happen that way?

No… many women instead are dealing with:
+ running down the street, just trying to exercise, but hearing comments shouted about their ass. (Does this ever successfully end in a date? No. It’s not a compliment. Don’t catcall.)
+ walking down a sidewalk, just trying to get to work/school, but hearing comments shouted about their boobs. (Does this ever successfully end in a date? No. It’s not a compliment. Don’t catcall.)

~Do you want to give a compliment? Then phrase it properly! “You look very nice today” is great. Some women may still be uncomfortable because they may not know your intentions, or whether you mean that they look lousy on other days, and so on. Social skills are hard to teach, but catcalls are easy to stop. [7]

+ standing in the subway, just trying to use the public transportation, but getting groped by a dude who thinks her body is an object to be fondled at will because he lusts for it. (Is it ever okay to touch people without consent? No. Your only body is your own. Don’t grope.)
+ dancing in the club, just trying to unwind with friends or a boyfriend, but getting felt up by a dude who thinks her body is an object to be fondled at will because he lusts for it. (Is it ever okay to touch people without consent? No. Your only body is your own. Don’t grope.)
+ moving in to a dorm, just trying to attend college and enjoy the experience and embrace an education, but getting raped by a dude who thinks her body is an object to achieve victory over for his own lust for sex and power. (Is it ever okay to kiss, hump, or participate in intercourse without consent? No. Your only body is your own. Don’t rape.) [8]

~ Do you want to sex up a lady? She should want to sex you up back? “She winked at me” or “she was drunk” or “If she didn’t want to risk rape she wouldn’t have been wearing a skirt” are all bullshit excuses and YOU KNOW IT. [9]

+ trying to do her job, but getting passed up for promotions because men are freaked out at the idea of having a woman superior.
+ living with a period, period; but even more so having to deal with it in certain countries where, in addition to trying to handle the excruciating cramps, irrational mood-swings, weird cravings, and so on, they ALSO have to sequester themselves away because they are “unclean” [10].

+ EXISTING AND YET STILL BEING PUNISHED FOR SAID EXISTENCE BY OBJECTIFICATION, DEGRADATION, AND DISCRIMINATION IN MYRIAD WAYS.

Aye yi yi.

Oh, girls. I wish I could save everyone. I wish I could magically wave a wand and erase all the beliefs that women are less-capable, the beliefs that catcalls and gropes and sexist comments are a normal way of life we can’t/shouldn’t fight against, the beliefs that the pursuit of an interesting career is non-viable because it isn’t something women fit into. I can’t. I am not magic. September 1st passed again and still no Hogwarts letter. But I can attempt to educate, and if just a handful of people “get it,” at least that’s one tiny extra light in the world.

I’ve been struggling with my current Women’s Literature class because they are all so sheltered and silent and don’t see the point of any of these teachings to their lives, but when they leave the AHS bubble, I fear they will be shocked. I was supposed to spend the last two hours lesson-planning something interesting and useful for class tomorrow, since nothing has worked for them yet, but instead I wrote this.
Maybe it counts.


Though I’m pretty sure I’ll get in trouble if I let any “fuck!”s fly in class.

________________________

Still confused? Try a flowchart.

 

feminist flowchart

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Semi-academic footnote-y thingies:

[1] Let’s remember that part of my motivation to enter the teaching career was my sheer exhaustion at dealing with stupid people every day; the knowledge I was helpless to stop the stupidity drove me to severe depression. Now, as a teacher, I can bit by bit carve away ignorance and replace it with critical thinking and common sense so the next generations will, perhaps, not be SO DAMN FUCKED UP.

[2] I’ve decided I hate everybody and no politics make sense and I have no label anymore.

[3] John Oliver will explain the gender wage gap to you here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsB1e-1BB4Y.

[4] Read a summary of the study here: http://gender.stanford.edu/news/2014/why-does-john-get-stem-job-rather-jennifer

[5] This is why I approve of Target’s recent actions in their toy aisles. It isn’t anti-God, or about transexuals, or any other earth-shattering descent into chaos like it’s been painted in the blogosphere. [P.S. If I ever meet Matt Walsh in person, I’m going to smack him on the nose like I would a bad dog.] It’s letting children explore their interests and potentials without limiting them into societal-based, unnatural gender roles. Let the boys “play daddy” and nurture something! Let the  girls catch bugs and roll in the dirt! ALSO, pink used to be a masculine color and only recently (post WWII) switched roles — http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/08/pink-wasnt-always-girly/278535/.

[6] And I’ll bet her husband helps with the freaking chores.

[7] Did you know that if you are getting cat-calls from construction or maintenance workers and their company name is nearby, you can call and report it? Some managers won’t care, while others will reprimand their men. Calling it in is an easy action with major potential. Totally worth it! We should be allowed to walk down the street without stress or fear! See “Everyday Sexism” by Laura Bates, page 157, for her thoughts.

[8] I get the need to teach women how to avoid rape, but we really, really need to teach men to not rape, too. In fact, I think males should be ashamed that the rhetoric teaches that “guys can’t control their penises, so we must be on our guard!” Really? Your flappy ding-dong has such a mind of its own that you can’t possibly control what you stick it in? Men should have more pride than that. Teach your sons, remind your frat buddies, spread the word, that rape is unacceptable. Make that penis behave. It will be treated well if you treat the woman who has mutual feelings for you well. Have patience. *
* I know rape happens to guys too, but the statistics people always haughtily throw around usually involve dudes in prison, so, that’s a whole different issue. Nobody should rape anybody, okay?!?

[9] “But one time the news told me that this one girl made up her whole story about being raped so now I think rape claims are all a big bowl of lies!”
Okay, well, one time a student made up a whole story about having no internet or technology or any way to POSSIBLY complete their essay, even though it took me all of 30 seconds to find their public Twitter with dozens of tweets suggesting the opposite with which to call out their B.S., but that doesn’t mean I never ever will believe another student’s internet-connectivity issues ever again.
For further thoughts on how this is not at all a “crying wolf” situation, read here: http://mashable.com/2014/12/05/false-rape-accusations-rare/

[10] Super interesting article about period prejudice in other countries here: http://jezebel.com/what-life-is-like-when-getting-your-period-means-you-ar-1542273510

Do you not like ANY of my points?

 
beholdthefuckfield
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news from the front

My life has been a whirlwind of revising and writing–just like I like it!–plus preparation for the next school year. I officially got offered a full-time job at the high school where I long-term subbed. It’s only for a year, but I’m hopeful that it will extend beyond that. I’ll definitely be teaching English, of course, but the grade levels are up in the air… my tentative assignment is 11th and 12th grade, so I hope that sticks.

I did take a break from thinking to go to dog beach and run free in the waves with Benny.

one happy tired puppy

one happy puppy

It was perfect, fun, joyful, and peaceful, but after all of that, he didn’t even want to go home and nap. I thought for sure it would exhaust him for the day, but no. Haha he has the tireless energy of an Aussie.

And now for the most beautiful thing that I read all day:

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury

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