Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Catch 22

One thing that annoys me about women... is that women don't like other women.

Sounds kind of self-contradictory.

I just really don't like when a woman, especially a peer, says that she hates women. Where is your pride?!
I get it though. I have been there. I don't like certain characteristics that have been stereotyped as girly, or feminine, or whatever. I tend not to hang around people who have those specific characteristics. Lets face it, you can't like everybody.
But is is the over generalization that I don't like.
I'm a woman. I don't hate myself. Gender is not all that makes a person.

I get frustrated especially when feminists say this.
Part of me can agree with them.
But part of me feels like they are being totally unjust.

This is the main qualm that I have with reading Wollstonecraft. She doesn't have respect for most of the women of her society. This is because she knows that nothing will change if they don't change it. If women continued to submit to men, then nothing would have ever changed. I can agree with that. If women didn't change it, it would definitely be the same. But at times I feel that she can be a little bit harsh to the women of her time. It would have been hard to be a women then, even without rebelling.
Then, take George Eliot, or the actual person if you will, Mary Anne Evans. Her writings could very well indicate that she had a need to evade the identification of her sex. Whether this is true or not, it is true that she struggled with her respect for women as well. How could she respect a woman for totally submitting to men, when it is that very structure of society that made her life so hard, and put many unnecessary obstacles in her way?
I empathize.
But I don't want to be angry at women for unconsciously falling into stereotypes that are detrimental to the advancement of our sex.
There are the extremes on both sides.
There are those who hate everything "female" and there are those who don't challenge the boundaries in any way.

If living in the norm works for you, if it makes you happy to be a stay at home mom, to cook and clean, to raise children, to rely on your husband to provide for you, then okay. Good for you for finding what makes you happy in life.
It is the lack of education that gets to me. I want every woman to have the opportunity to go to college. Be informed. Expand your interests. Have a full life. But I won't look down on you for not going to college either. I understand the difficulties tied to that. The point is that I can't respect ignorance, much less willing ignorance. I just can't.
But telling a stay at home mom that she is not living to her full potential is much worse. I can't respect women who do that either.

I know that most people think that feminism, actual feminism... you know--the kind that "made a difference", is a thing of the past. That feminists now are just whiny bitches that think they are entitled, or better than men. Most people don't see the point of it anymore.
They don't see first hand how women are treated. That we are often seen as sexual objects regardless of how we dress. That we get paid less. That our bosses, our professors, don't listen to us as much as men. That people are still allowed to categorize tasks as male or female.
All of it.
All of it hurts. It is detrimental.
I don't like hearing that I should cook or clean. If two people live in a house together, regardless of sex, the tasks should be divided equally. Ok. If one person works, then maybe the other does a bit more housework. That makes sense.
But what if I am the one with the job?
Do I really have to cook, clean, take care of the kids, AND support the family?
I feel like that is what is expected of working mothers.
And I also feel like this is a stereotype that is enforced by many women. Not just men.

Where do I find that happy middle ground of being able to respectfully disagree with women... without being angry or annoyed that their actions inadvertently affect me?

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