Saturday, August 28, 2010

Feminism

(or: Being a moderate is like standing in the middle of a busy street. You'll probably get hit by cars going both ways.)

    I don't know that I will ever understand the ideals that some feminists follow. There are too many "rules" for feminism and half of the seem to directly contradict the other half.

Examples:*

    We should celebrate being female, but dressing to look sexy is wrong because it objectifies us to men.

    We should act in all things as if we are the same as men (Though science says differently. We are different, with different strengths and weaknesses), but we expect to be treated differently because being treated like "one of the guys" is offensive.

    Women can comment on a man's looks, but if man does it he's sexually harassing us.

    Feminists are offended when a man opens a door, pays for dinner or pulls out a chair, but then they complain that men are rude, uncultured and have no respect for women.

    And the most amusing thing of all that I have witnessed.

    Feminists say that women should have the right to speak, act and do whatever they want without being objectified, but the moment they step outside the proscribed set of rules they are ridiculed as being anti-feminist.

    

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating returning to a society straight out of the 1950s or, god forbid, the middle ages. I'm just as much in favor of feminism as I am disgusted with the way some "feminists" act. It's difficult seeing both sides of the situation. Grey isn't as easy to figure out as black and white. However, there must be a happy medium between these two view points, somewhere in that grey in-between. A place where women can wear make-up, dress how they want, let a man pay for dinner and still work 9-5 if they want, run a company and simply do what feels natural and makes them happy.

    The problem seems to be that society can never find a happy medium in anything! Moderates, like myself, take a beating from both sides no matter what subject, hence the subtitle of this article. I happen to be particularly unlucky in that I am uncommonly good at seeing the merit on both sides of any argument and so I tend to me moderate in almost all subjects I feel strongly about. (Moderate and feeling strongly may seem mutually exclusive, but it is actually possible to have strong feelings while understanding and listening to both sides of an argument. Compromise people!)

Let me give some examples of where I'm moderate and why the traffic tends to hit me going both ways most of the time.

Religion:

    I'm a Deist (thank the clockwork god I'm not agnostic, they have it worse.) Religious folks tend to like to believe in a personal god and they take offense when I claim god wound up the world, let it go and went to get a high score at skeeball. Then you have Atheists, who tend to get offended that anyone can believe in any mystical being like a creator and still have the gall to say they are a rational and reasonable individual.

Politics:

    Extremely left wing Democrats hate anyone who is Republican and extremely right wing Republicans hate anyone who is a Democrat. Both of them hate moderates because we keep picking at both sides and saying "can't we all just be friends, maybe we could compromise" and then pointing out how ridiculous they both are. You would think they could, I don't know, bond over their mutual distaste for moderates "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" or something like that, but, sadly, no dice.

By moderate I should explain that I am socially liberal and economically conservative. Some would call that a Libertarian, but since I'm not in favor of legalizing drugs or many of the "anything goes" parts of the Libertarian ideals, I'm not one of them…but I digress. (I do that a lot, sorry)

My point is (I knew I would get there eventually).

Democrats don't like me because I don't want them to tax my paycheck out from under me to give it to "those less fortunate" if that makes me a scrooge or selfish then fine, at least I'm a scrooge that held onto my principles. I give good tips, I give to charity and I do it all on my own which probably helps my karma more anyway without all my money being pumped into government programs with the fruitless dream that they can fix all the problems in the wide world by throwing money at them.

Republicans don't like me for a pretty simple reason really and it mostly has to do with the religious right. As a lesbian I don't really care for anyone telling me who I can love or marry or what I can do in the privacy of my own bedroom.

    (This would be a whole new blog post, but I feel the need to clarify that I also don't get along with a majority of the liberal glbt community for several reasons as well…most of which has to do with gay pride events, public activity that should never be public and my comment about the "privacy of my own bedroom" I may have written about that before…seems familiar… Seriously though, some things I do not want to see in public!)

    I also really don't like that both Democrats and Republicans have somehow come to the conclusion that the government should act as our babysitters instead of protecting our rights like it's supposed to.


 

I digressed again didn't I?

What was my point in all this?

Oh yes, feminism.

I would like to call myself a feminist, but the word has been dirtied by "feminazis" and women who aren't so much in favor of equal rights for women, but more interested in hating men.

I've got news for you, men are sort of necessary for the continuation of the species. Until technology is on level with that of the anime Vandread (if you've watched it you will get the joke) it's pretty pointless to hate all of them. Let's face it, some you just have to hate…Tom Cruise is a good enough excuse for that, but Lindsey Lohan is just as good an excuse to hate a few women.

Hell, I'm a lesbian and I don't hate men (with a few exceptions as noted) and it wouldn't affect my love life one way or the other if I did. However, some of my best friends are male.

As for these ideas about not letting men do anything for you…are you really that insecure ladies? You are so insecure in your own abilities that you have to prove to yourself that, yes, you can in fact open a door, carry your groceries, pay for your own dinner all by yourself?

Sorry, I was under the impression that we were mature women not five year olds trying desperately to prove to everyone that we can do everything ourselves. I remember throwing that tantrum at five when my dad tried to tie my shoes for me. I insisted "I CAN DO IT MYSELF!" I did do it myself, but I also made us half an hour late to church. Asking for help, or accepting help that is offered even when you don't need it, is not a crime.

I let my male friends (the ones who want to) open doors, pay for food or carry my backpack or groceries (or furniture) if they offer or I need help. I also buy them dinner, help them move, and pitch in to help however I can, whenever I can.

I can absolutely, 100%, tell you that none of my male friends do any of those things because they don't respect me or because they think I can incapable of taking care of myself. (Okay, admittedly, when my dad and "little brother" Juan helped me move last week I would have probably been incapable of doing most of the heavy lifting…but I'm a wimp and I did buy them all an expensive dinner afterward.) In point of fact, they actually do all of those things because they respect and care about me. On the other hand they have never treated me like a china doll they might break either. I rough house and crack dirty jokes with them as well, I've reached that happy medium where they can treat me with the respect they have for women, but also be "one of the guys" too.


 

Chivalry and respect do not have to be mutually exclusive concepts. In fact they should go hand in hand.

Chivalry isn't dead, it's just become an endangered species, mostly because guys are so terrified at offending a woman by being polite that they just don't bother.

My freshman year at college (Yes, I realize that was just last year…shut up) I was walking out of the student union and I guy that I didn't know stopped to open to door for me outside. He then immediately apologized for doing so and I had to ask why he did it. He told me it was habit for him to open doors for women because his mother taught him it was respectful and polite to do so (Go mom!), but he had recently gotten ripped a new one by a few girls who had told him they could "open their own damn door" and that it was rude to act like they couldn't.

That's right girls, one of the few males out there who is still a gentleman and you want to stamp it out of him. The first girl to let him know his actions were appreciated was a lesbian, what is this? You would think that a guy like that would have girls all over him, he was attractive and charming and sweet…instead of being popular he's now terrified of ever trying to help a woman.

These kinds of guys are a dying breed. It's actually easier for me, as a lesbian, to find someone sweet, thoughtful and chivalrous (though I tend toward chivalry myself) than it is for straight girls.

Seriously, you hard-core feminists** can't you at least attempt to find a middle ground, because…really, do you want to let chivalry die? If it does you won't find yourself getting more respect as women, you'll get less.


 

Of course, this could all be wrong, after all this is only my opinion and I've been known to be wrong before. If you disagree feel free to comment and tell me why.


 


 


 

*Taking these examples from feminists I've known and anecdotal evidence. I certainly don't mean to imply that these examples are in any way the way all women who call themselves feminists. I've known quite a few moderate and rational feminists in my day.

**Once again, I'm not talking about normal, level headed feminists. I'm talk to the ones that rip a guy's head off for being thoughtful.

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