Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Clearly, this special "outside" place is "Man's Land." Women with the audacity to venture forth into Man's Land have no right to privacy or personal space; they should expect to be approached and hit on or flirted with, and if someone touches her she should just smile politely and get on with her life. Because it's no big deal, honey.
Should a woman dare to speak against the Men in Man's Land, she should absolutely expect a flood of profanity and verbal abuse. Because that's what a woman deserves for not being submissive enough. She's being rude. She's a bitch. She ain't even that cute anyway. Whatever. Clearly.
"Hey, Baby." It starts so frequently with these words. "Baby." So familiar. So intimate. As though you know me. As though we're close. As though "excuse me," isn't manly enough. As though "Will you tell me your name," is a less important question than "Can I get your number?"
As though my identity doesn't matter. I don't need a name. "Baby" is good enough for you. "Baby" is good enough for me.
Next time, before you "Hey, Baby" at me, I want you to think about something.
I could be a doctor. I could save your life, someday. Maybe I have already. I could have saved your mother, your father, your child. I could have gone to school for a decade, I could have worked countless hours studying, or up to my elbows in entrails and blood, or walking nonstop trying to make sure my patients were cared for and comfortable. But you don't care. I'm "Baby."
I could be a war veteran. I could have fought for your freedom, for your rights, maybe for your very life. I could have bits of shrapnel hidden under my skin; I could have scars from bullets or knives that you can't see; I could have endured more hardship and sacrificed more than you'll ever be able to imagine. But my sacrifice doesn't matter, to you. I'm "Baby."
I could be a teacher. I could be working night and day trying to make the future a better place. I could be spending my days wrestling with childish exuberance, desperately trying to instill into children not only knowledge, but kindness; a sense of morality; a kind of empathy to relate to one another. I could be spending my nights grading papers, correcting grammar, making lesson plans. I could be spending my own money on materials, trying to find a way to better relate information to young minds. But my dedication doesn't matter to you. I'm "Baby."
I could be a mother. I could have endured pain that you'll never understand to bring life into this world. I could have nourished that life with my own body, protected it, encouraged it. I could spend exhausting days trying to keep toddlers in check so that they stay healthy and reasonably clean, while trying to keep the house in any kind of order, while cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while running errands, while trying to find time to feed and bathe myself and also maybe sit down once in a while. Maybe I'm out on a walk while a gracious friend watches my children. This could be my only peace, today. But my mindset, and my accomplishments, don't matter to you. I'm "Baby."
I could be a teenager. My future could be completely unwritten. I could be a mother, or a teacher, or a soldier, or a doctor. I could be a scientist. I could be an astronaut. A police officer. A veterinarian. A politician. I could be nothing but potential. But you don't care about my potential. I'm "Baby."
You're telling me that I'm a sex object, worth nothing more than your opinion of my physical appeal. A nameless vessel in which you should put your penis.
To you, I'm a vagina. A warm, wet, secret that you are entitled to know. I'm means to your sexual gratification. You have the right to dismiss all of my accomplishments. You are entitled to not care about me as a person. You are allowed to touch me, because you are a Man. I am in Man's Land, and I should just deal with it. Because "it isn't a big deal."
None of my accomplishments are "a big deal" to you. My rights, my opinions, my identity aren't "a big deal." Because "it isn't a big deal" for you to strip them away until all that's left are sexual features for you to enjoy. It "isn't a big deal" for you to demean me publically, for you to force me into the awkward situation of having to decide whether to stand up for myself and deal with the torrent of abuse that can come with that, or looking away and scurrying by.
I have the right to stand up for myself, but you don't think I do. If I just don't want to deal with you, for any reason, then you might still unleash that verbal abuse. Or you might think that you've won, that you are strong and I am weak. You can continue thinking that any woman in "Man's Land" is someone you are entitled to.
You're wrong, though. You aren't entitled to us. You don't have the right to our names, our numbers, or our bodies. You don't have the right to address us by intimate terms of endearment. You aren't entitled to our time. You aren't entitled to call us names for refusing your disrespectful advances, however "flattering" you think they are. When you ask me to get into your car, you are treating me like a whore. That's not flattering. That's degrading. It's not flattering when you treat us like sex objects; we do not swoon because you, in all your magnificence, have deigned to pay us attention. The attention is not flattering just because it came from you. We just want to go to the post office, the grocery store, or the bar in peace.
You are not entitled to us. It is not flattering that you think you are.
Next time, before you "Hey, Baby" someone, stop for a moment and think about that.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
How many of you have gone out looking for a specific thing that you’d imagine any women’s clothing store would carry (For example: A basic black pencil skirt, or a basic white blouse without anything crazy on it) and been utterly unable to find it? Or worse, found one that looked on the rack like it was what you wanted, but it turns into something terrible on your body. It fits your hips, but is huge on the waist. It’s tight across your biceps, or your shoulders. It’s too short. It’s too long. It sits completely wrong and winds up being terribly unflattering. It looks great from the front, but turn around and it’s VPL EVERYWHERE. (Seriously, Fashion Industry. What’s with VPL? I’m pretty sure that’s 100% your fault. YOU KNOW WE WEAR UNDERWEAR. How hard is it to use fabric that will take that into consideration? Sometimes, you can even see thong-lines. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?)
It can be so frustrating. I know I’ve wound up sitting in a dressing room practically in tears because NOTHING FITS. Finding a single pair of jeans that fits well can take a full day.
And it makes me want to kill men who can walk in, grab a pair of jeans off a shelf, and buy them without trying them on, confident that they will fit and look good. Hear that? I HATE YOU ALL.
It’s made me realize one thing.
My body is WRONG. I’m too short. My thighs are too thick. My hips are too big. My waist is somehow too small. My breasts are too small, and my shoulders and arms are WAY too big. Seriously, what woman has shoulders this big? And those ARMS? Girl, please. You need those to be WAY thinner! My calves, too. They should be no more than 14 inches around. EVER. The 17.5 inches that they are is FREAKISH. I men seriously. WHOSE LEGS ARE THAT BIG?
Well, mine are. And my shoulders are that big. And so are my arms. And my hips. And my waist. Also, I'm actually short. I have no idea why you think that's not alright, Fashion Industry, because there's certainly nothing I can do about it.
What? I could diet? I could drink that "juice" that is supposed to make me lose 15 pounds in a weekend? I suppose I could, only that's an awful lot like giving myself dysentery. I don't much want to lose 15 pounds of shit and waterweight, because it's unhealthy and won't actually change my size.
And in addition to that, I don't -need- to change my size. And IF I DID it wouldn't matter, because it's not my size that's the issue. It's my proportions. It's the very way I'm put together. It's my bone structure, and my muscle development, and my body type in general. I have no idea what you have against my body type, honestly. I think I'm pretty alright looking. I mean, I'm not perfect, but there's no such thing anyway, so who cares?
I guess you care, Fashion Industry. Or rather, you want me to care. You want me to care a LOT. You, for some reason, want me to think that I'm wrong. That I'm not good enough for you. It's really not okay with me. You're always trying to make me feel like I'm not good enough. Like I constantly need to be more, or better, or maybe just -something else.- Fashion Industry, you're like a terrible boyfriend.
You're always getting me down, and then blaming it on me. You're always looking so happy with every woman I see you with, and you feed me lip service about it. You could look that happy with me, if I'd only doll myself up once in a while. Lose that weight. Slim down my hips (How? By replacing my pelvis with a smaller one?) or by allowing the muscles in my legs to atrophy? You tell me I look "like a linebacker" because my shoulders are broader than you think they should be. You tell me my breasts aren't big enough. You tell me that my waist must be tiny and flat, but that my abs shouldn't be developed. I must work out constantly to be slim, but if I get too strong I'll look "Mannish" or "bulky."
You are constantly shaming me about EVERYTHING about my body. It doesn't matter what I do. I'm always too SOMETHING for you, and not enough of SOMETHING else.
And you know the worst thing? I really don't have anywhere else I could go. You've created this utter dependency in me. I want to walk away, but I really can't. WHAT WOULD I WEAR? WHERE WOULD I SHOP? I mean, should I learn to sew? Should I make my own clothes for the rest of my life? I just don't know if I can commit to that, I mean really.
I guess you've done it, then. You've made me feel alone, and ugly, and like no one else will ever want me because of my strange, awkwardly lumpy body. I hope you're happy, Fashion Industry, because I'm pretty sure that I never will be.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Monday, August 12, 2013
Ah, Faithful Readers. I feel that this is an important topic for me to address, because though this blog is largely in the genre I'm calling FEMINIST RAGE (yes, the caps are necessary!) I feel that I should say a few things about misandry, as well.
That being said, I am pretty much not a misandrist. Sexism in all its forms pisses me off. The phrase "It's a guy thing" pisses me off as much as "it's a girl thing." It just happens that sexism toward females is more degrading and threatening than that toward males, which is often just insulting and dumb. (NOTE: This is a matter of opinion and experience, not scientific fact. I am aware that there is degrading and threatening sexism toward males, however it is not as ubiquitous.)
I'm not going to say "I love men!" because that sounds so condescending. It sounds condescending when it's a man talking about women, and it sounds condescending when it's a woman talking about men.
I acknowledge that there are physical, physiological, and psychological differences between men and women. I also acknowledge that this does not make one sex "better" than the other. The differences between the sexes are just like the differences between individuals--One may be better than another AT A THING, or even AT MANY THINGS, but it does not make that person BETTER than the other.
I understand that some feminists do hate men. And while I won't say that that's fair or right, some of them have good reasons. When one is treated poorly by one or many members of any group (Be it religious, ethnic, corporate, or gender) for an extended period of time, one begins to mistrust or dislike anyone associated with that group.
Many, though not all, feminists are victims of abuse of any sort, and that brings their attention to the fact that many other women have been subjected to that same abuse. They feel the call to stop it, or fight against it.
Eventually their passion can turn to vitriol as they hear more and more stories of abuse at the hands of men. I don't feel what they feel, but I can sympathize with it. In the same way, I'm certain not all Germans during WWII were bad, but very few people called out against hating Germans as a whole.
No, I'm not saying that sexism is as bad as the Holocaust. Please don't twist my words. It's just an example of widespread hatred that I'm sure many people in that particular group did not deserve. What I'm saying is that it's easy to develop a hatred of someone when all you see is their bad side.
There are, of course, also some excellent and similar reasons for misogyny. It is far from unheard of for women to abuse men verbally, emotionally, mentally, physically, or sexually. It is every bit as terrible for a man to be victimized as it is for a woman. In some ways, it could possibly be considered worse, as there is somehow MORE stigma attached to a man reporting abuse from a woman as there is for the other way around.
My point is: I tackle misogyny because it's much more prominent in my life. I acknowledge that misandry exists. I acknowledge that there may be very good psychological reasons for that, but do not defend it. I do not think it's right. There are also some excellent phychological reasons for misogyny that I acknowledge, but do not defend.
At the end of the day, we are all responsible for our attitudes and the way we treat our fellow humans, and to treat them poorly is beyond defense.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
As I may have mentioned earlier, I'm on a dating website known as http://www.okcupid.com/. Generally, I love this website. It has an advanced matching algorithm that I've found incredibly useful for making friends and meeting people. Since I tend to wind up in new cities fairly frequently, this is invaluable to me.
For reference, you can find my profile here: http://www.okcupid.com/profile/fatalis_vox
As you can see, if you bother to read it, it clearly states that I'm only seeking friendship, that I'm in a relationship and uninterested in another one. Generally, I'm a full-disclosure kind of person. It's just easier than lying.
The downside is that most people on these websites never actually bother to READ profiles. Now I'm approaching this mostly as a straight female, so I'm directing this toward "guys." I am aware that not every guy is like the ones I am about to tear apart. In fact, I've made a number of really good male friends on this website, and gotten some truly excellent, well-thought-out messages from guys who clearly read my profile. And then I get the following drivel:
"hi..your profile looks very appealing..are u married? i bet u are a naughty horny wife.."
a) I automatically think that anyone who types that way is between the ages of 12 and 14. Or at least has the education level of such. However, the website does have age restrictions, so I'm forced to take the age at face value.
b) The person in the picture is not wearing a shirt. And seriously, I don't want to see that. Put on your clothes and join polite society.
c) WHAT ON EARTH MAKES YOU THINK IT IS OKAY TO INITIATE A CONVERSATION LIKE THAT? What makes you think it's appropriate to talk to ANYONE like that, much less a woman you don't know?
And he isn't alone! The following messages are also ones I've received
"How many guys today have shown you their penis?
I’m going to break the trend of perverted guys that don’t know how to introduce themselves to a pretty lady. So here’s my introductory email – no pictures of my junk, no comments about how badly I want to give it to you doggystyle, and no misspelled words! At this point, you’re probably thinking, “is he really a dude or is he a female posing as a man?”. I promise you I’m actually a guy, and although I’m only looking for a casual sex relationship, I’m far from a disgusting pervert. So if you want to chat with a man that knows how to please AND respect a pretty lady such as yourself, hit me up on IM. Look forward to hearing from you!"
Wow. This guy actually thinks that the fact that he is NOT GOING TO SHOW ME HIS PENIS UNSOLICITED is giving him points!! Look at how reserved he is! He's not going to send me pictures of his junk or make inappropriate comments about sexual positions. Except...well, he did. Oops. Sorry, guy.
He is still propositioning me, also, in case you missed that part And he somehow thinks that's...respectful? There's something seriously wrong with that. It doesn't matter how many commas or hyphens you put in, this email is essentially the wordy version of "nice shoes, wanna fuck?"
Here's a fun one!
"Seriously, lady, what a psychotic profile... You're looking to fuck. But not really. You're actually in a relationship. But only in all the ways that actually give you value. But if some guy is trolling a DATING site in the desperate hopes of finding that one awesome woman who is already taken and off limits, he may strike gold. Really, a re-write is severely needed. Just put it up top that you're looking for platonic buddies because you're taken but too conflicted to just remove the damn profile. Save us the wasted time."
I actually have no idea what to say about this. I read it, and my response was basically "W-T-F I don't even..."
It pretty much speaks for itself.
"I'm a married professional that is looking for…what I refer to as… that ‘spark’. So then given our current situations, I respect that you are looking for a certain level of discretion. Is this fair to say? I certainly would like to talk to you more. For example, to find out what brings you here in your search for a tall, sane, fun and non-judgmental guy (which by the way, I am all of those things. 6ft tall with dark features, as a professional they generally prefer me to be sane J, and oh how I laugh!!! and well, you are who you are, and I am you I am.) I will be honest with you that I have played lawn darts since I was a boy (back when they were actually darts) but I’m sure you can help me regain my throwing form.
I’m not into any sort of B.S. Don’t worry here. Games are not worth anyone’s time, so why bother with them? I look forward to chatting with you further and to find out if the only differences that we do have is just the lawn darts or not. "
Paraphrase: "I LIKE STUFF. I'm trying to cheat on my wife with you, but I don't play games! Except lawn-darts, but that's totally cool, right? I bet I'm your type."
Ugh. This is disgusting. Not ONLY is this dude asking me to be his side-girl, but he actually thinks that that's an honest and "no-BS" kind of relationship. Also, he clearly ignored the part of my profile (if he even read it) that states in no uncertain terms that I just want to make friends.
And then, my absolute favorite OKC message that is still in my inbox:
"I'm looking for a girl to dominate and spank me and I kiss her feet? do Accept you be this girl"
Looking past the broken English that clearly identifies this person as a non-native English speaker, and thus likely foreign and subject to different cultural norms...WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
Who in their right mind thinks that this is an okay way to greet ANYONE? It's creepy, it's...horrible, and in no way, in no universe, should it be considered appropriate or anything remotely resembling "okay."
(note: I'm not judging people for their lifestyle choices. People can be into whatever they want between consenting adults. However, messages like this remove the "consent" part. You're forcing onto me knowledge about your sexual habits without bothering to care whether I want to know or not. That is sexual harassment, and it's plain wrong.)
The response I got from some male friends who actually defended these guys? "Well, at least he's being straightforward! He's not beating around the bush. There's something to be said for his honesty!" No. No, there isn't. There is no defense for a guy who thinks it's okay to proposition a woman as an introduction, or to make the assumptions that the above make. It's disgusting, it's demeaning, and it furthers the concept that women are sex objects. I'm not sorry, but that's not okay. It's NEVER okay. If you think there's anything okay about these messages, you're part of the problem.
Think about that.
Friday, August 9, 2013
I love to be healthy. And yes, I even love looking good. I love looking good for myself, and I love looking good for my boyfriend (who says he would still love me if I got fat, but he might not have sex with me as much. Which is totally fair, since I feel the same way about him.) and every now and then, yeah. I like looking good to whatever man happens to be looking. I admit a weakness for feeling desireable. We'll call it a biological imperative. (Hey,one must be honest with oneself if one is to indulge in feminist rage!)
I hate the way the fitness world treats women. The entire fitness world. It implies that the entire purpose of working out is to attract a better mate. Sometimes it SAYS "being healthy is the goal!" but it's always said by a woman in as little workout clothing as possible, slathered in makeup and hair product, who somehow manages to get through her entire workout video without flushing or breaking a sweat. (Because girls aren't supposed to sweat. Or poo.)
So a woman, with the intent on being healthy, goes to the gym. Frankly, gyms are intimidating to beginners. They're not really sure what to do with all those weights and machines. Guys can ask guys for help or advice. But if a gal asks a guy? There are two reactions she'll generally get. (Keep in mind, this is NOT all men. However, if you ask a lot of women, this is what they've experienced. And it's what I've experienced.) She'll either be treated as a nuisance, as though she shouldn't be there if she can't "keep up with the big boys," or she'll be treated as a sex object, like she's flirting or she'll get flirted with. She'll be called insulting pet names like "little lady" or "sweetheart," and never asked for her name, unless he's flirting.
Even women in the gym treat others with scorn, frequently. We get so caught up in our own little Super Heroine worlds that we forget what it was like to be new. Or we could afford to hire a personal trainer--Someone who could show us how to work out, who was also required to treat us with respect.
This often results in women hitting the treadmill, eliptical, or stairmaster. Which often makes people think she's "lazy," or "just working out to be skinny" or some other such sexist junk. Because most people in the gym know that cardio is good for burning fat, but not building muscle. The New Girl may not know that, though. She may just be trying to be healthy and hasn't done a lot of research. Maybe she doesn't know where to start. It's ridiculous how much contrasting information there is out there.
Eventually, a lot of women get frustrated or fed up and opt to work out at home. THEN they're bombarded with "women's" workout essentials. Pink or other pastel barbels, matching sports-bra-and-miniskirt combinations, tiny little 1-5-8 pound barbell sets "for women." Because women aren't supposed to lift heavy. Women aren't supposed to be strong. We're supposed to be slim, feminine, and weak so that men can protect us. RIGHT? There's no reason a woman sould have to lift more than 10 pounds unless it's a baby. And really, when the kid gets too heaby, that's what Dad's for!
Or do they think we're concerned with looking "too masculine" lifting a grey 15-pound dumbbell? With our faces red and contorted, sweating, and grunting, we'd just look "too masculine" and would be better off with a 5-pound pink dumbbell.
Because when I'm working out, I'm really concerned with attracting a mate. I don't really care how healthy I am as long as I find a strong man to protect me!
(women who go to the gym for the purpose of finding a mate will be in a later chapter; possibly titled "Gym-bos.")
Seriously, fitness industry. Get your act together.