"I like my women to look like women."
"Oh? And how many women do you own?"
"Your women. I'm assuming that means you own them right? If they are yours?"
"That's not what I mean. I mean women around me."
"Oh, okay, so they are women you can potentially own?"
"No. Just women."
"So any woman you see should look a certain way so that they are women to you?"
"You're just being difficult. I am just saying I like a woman who isn't afraid to be a woman."
Yes. I'm being difficult.
Last Friday night Brent and I walked to dinner and then to the hockey game. I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, nothing special, nothing fancy, a hockey t-shirt, a pair of jeans. As we passed by two men we heard, "Mmmmhmmm." Brent gave me a little half smile, He knew there was a potential rant coming his way. Instead I said, "Well that was unusual."
Not that I got a comment when I walked past. That is normal. I have big boobs and a big butt, for some reason this makes people think that they are free to make noises, say things, or even gesture in my direction when I am walking by them. The odd thing about it was that Brent was with me. Generally if he is with me the guy on the corner (generic the guy, not the same guy) is quiet. Or on a few memorable occasions he compliments Brent on my attractiveness. Like Brent had something to do with it. The only people other than me you can compliment on my looks are my parents. It was their blending of DNA that did it after all. "Good job on the bodily fluid mixing there! She got a good blend of your DNA and it's pleasing to my sight!" But really unless you are a friend of mine you should probably keep your opinion about what I look like to yourself.
Then this past weekend Brent and I were talking about college aged kids and sexist comments that boys tend to make without really thinking it through. He asked what girls think about it in general. And I said that mostly they aren't all that bothered. They don't think it has anything to do with them. I said it's not until you are older and you look back that you realize that there is something majorly wrong with a society that thinks selling girls sweat pants with Juicy written across the ass is okay. That there could very well be a correlation between unequal pay for the same job and the attitude that girls are precious little beings who need protected by big strong men. And that there might very well be an issue when you are taught from a very young age that the important thing is to present yourself as a pleasing feminine vision instead of as a capable person. I said there are always a few who were ahead of the curve, who were already self identified feminists but not many. There were more who shunned the word, than embraced it.
And I have to admit until recently I even did. Feminism has gotten such a bad wrap. But see, words mean things, and the definition of feminism is "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men." That's it. Political, social and economic equality to men. Not some sort of fucked up scary woman going to lock you away for being a man bullshit that is propagated by certain loud talk show hosts. Just equality. That's it. Simple right? If you aren't a feminist then what are you? Do you not think women should be treated equally?
Don't get off on the women and men aren't the same tangent. Because that's not what we are talking about here. Women and men are different. When you are looking at broad stroke items. For instance our garage door broke yesterday. With the spring broken I couldn't lift the door, couldn't even get it to budge. And I work my arms and back out at the gym. I'm vain about those muscles. But Brent? He lifted it without issue. He's got more innate upper body strength than I do without even trying. That's just a testosterone/estrogen difference. BUT...if he and I were doing the same job with the same experience and the same education level he shouldn't get paid more because he can lift a garage door and I can't. See?
I wouldn't get paid more because I can grow a human being right? And trust me that's hard shit. Though oddly enough that's one of the reasons people will mention for gender pay inequality. Women have babies. Which might work out if the pay inequality only happened later. Say, if a woman chose to take a few years off to have kids then came back. A woman and a man the same age wouldn't make the same because the experience levels wouldn't be the same. However, you see it straight out of the gate. At college graduation. At first jobs. When there should be no difference. Why is that? And why do we have to keep asking this question?
Income equality. It's really not that tough of a concept.
Political equality. How about that one? Oh boy are we in for it if Hillary Clinton does run in 2016. We will get as much gender bias hatred as we can hold. We saw it when she ran before. Remember the discussion about her pantsuits? How about when she was First Lady and wore the headband, god forbid, a headband! And then when Sarah Palin hit the scene. I had a lot of reasons not to like her. Political reasons. Valid reasons. And you know what people told me about why I didn't like her? Because she's pretty and I was jealous. Ummm...what? I didn't like John McCain either (heartbreaking for me as I really did used to like him and was excited when he first announced he would run again) and nobody said it was because of his looks. Nobody. I could validly dislike the male half of the ticket because of his politics but not the female half? And her looks were a reason to like her? I heard that a lot as well. "I'd do her" was a great political comment. Oh! Well thank god that's not a prerequisite for VP! (no offense, Mr. Biden, I'm sure there are plenty of others out there that would "do you" if given the chance)
And just political representation in general. How many women are in Congress right now? How many more will be elected? Are we close on that front? (Just so you don't have to look it up there are 20 in the Senate and 79 in the House) And should it matter? Does it matter? When you are looking at candidates does gender matter? I would say yes, it matters up until it doesn't any more. Confused? It matters right now because women are under represented. It matters because we are half of the population and less than 20% of Congress. I'm not going to vote for a candidate just because they are a woman, that's not equality, but I am going to pay attention to why that number isn't shifting. And I'm going to pay attention to what is being said about women who run for office. Just a hint, doable isn't a job requirement.
So then on to social equality. This one is the one where people get tripped I think. It's the one where you get the aforementioned screaming talk show hosts who are worried that somehow their manhood is threatened if they have to treat women with the same social respect that they treat a man. And this one is so much easier. Really it is. How I dress is my business. How I talk is my business. If I choose to smile or not smile in public is my business. I am in control of my own body. Keep your opinions to yourself when dealing with strangers.
I dress up. I wear makeup. My personalized ringtone on my husband's phone is Brick House. I know I look good. I know I fit all of the traditional overt feminine mores. I have a big butt (and I cannot lie), I tend to rock a lot of cleavage. But guess what? That's my choice. Has nothing to do with you. Nothing. You don't think your buddy wore his best suit so you could tell him how nicely he fills out that crease do you? Then why do you think I wore this dress for you to tell me how my ass looks as I walk away? If I am part of your social circle and we are going out and I am wearing something nice or have done something to my hair, or just happen to have a pleasing countenance on my face by all means say something. But if I am a stranger to you walking past you on a street corner do not tell me to smile because I would be prettier that way, do not make "yummy" noises at me as I walk past and by all means do not ever tell me exactly what you would do to me in bed. EVER.
If you wouldn't say it to your daughter/sister/mother why would you say it to a stranger? If you would be pissed as fuck if someone said it to your wife/girlfriend/daughter/mother why would you say it to a stranger? If you understood for a second that your "compliment" made the person you were supposedly complimenting uncomfortable or flat out scared would you still do it? Do you understand that the hooting and the hollering is just another form of intimidation? A way of keeping a woman in her place? You know, as doable.
So yes. I am a feminist. I believe that women and men should be treated as equals. Not the same. Not interchangeable. But equals. Socially. Politically. Economically. And if you aren't...
What is wrong with you?