Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Day 4: in which I explain an off-hand comment in yesterday's post that is bugging me

In yesterday's post, I said something about "when I was in my feminist phase" as if I weren't a feminist anymore. I went back this morning to re-word it--change it to something like "when I was in my enraged feminist phase, as opposed to my current merely irritated feminist phase" (kidding) but it seemed a bit excessive for a list item about toenail polish, and I didn't want to re-publish the post, etc. I know, you're yawning.

So putting that aside, I clicked on my "drafts" folder to figure out what I'm doing for Day 4, and ran across this one, which I wrote last spring and never finished. Honestly, I'm not sure where I was going with it, but it more or less explains where I am on the feminist issue these days.
I spent much of my 30s in a froth of feminist anger and outrage. I could find examples of misogynist patriarchal abuses of power everywhere I looked. But over time, two things happened: one, I realized my anger wasn't creating change the way I wanted it to; and two, I decided I just couldn't live angry all the time. It was eating me up from the inside out.

So I've tried the "be the change you want to see" approach since then. I try to be an empowered woman, responsible for my choices, supporting the people around me, and attempting to tackle misogyny through gentle humor and awareness.

But I'm not all that good at it, and I'm still not sure I'm creating change. The way the world is still gets to me sometimes, and I'm not always sure the approach I'm taking is the "right" one. If there is such a thing.

So I spend a lot of time watching people I admire and respect to see how they handle the knotty problems we as a culture face in dealing with prejudice and the status quo, which can feel so stifling if you don't quite fit in--whether it be because of gender, race, orientation, economic status or whatever.

Let me be clear here that the only way I personally qualify as being a victim of our culture is by being female, and even that is not really a major burden. I consider being female a source of power, and other than the odd stray thought, I've never in my life wished to be male. I don't always have a lot of sympathy for the current type of feminism which insists on seeing women only as victims (which certainly does not describe all feminists or even most of them).

I also really have no desire to succeed as defined by our culture's standards of success, what we called patriarchal standards of success back in the 80s and 90s. I have no desire to be in a position of power in a corporation, or to be wealthy (although by the standards of much of the rest of the world, I am wealthy), or to have political or military power.

If there are two strands of feminism (among many), one that emphasizes succeeding by "patriarchal" standards, and another that emphasizes changing the definition of success, I definitely identify with the second one.
So apparently this post was going on to make another point, but the only thing I can think of is something that I may discuss in another post, so I'm publishing this one in its incomplete state and saving that for another time.

Happy November, people. Rock on with your bad feminist selves.

1 comment:

KarenB said...

The ease with which guys pee in the woods is the only reason I ever wanted to be male. Otherwise, while I may get really pissed about the crap with which women are visited for the mere reason that they are female, I've never wanted to be a man either.