Not Everything is Everything.

So I’ve been thinking. And I came to a conclusion that no matter how much I share in common with feminists in the conventional definition, I don’t want to participate in much of any discussions in those regards. And when I say I’m a feminist, I feel like I have to explain that I mean it in the original and traditional sense of women having equal footing with men.

But if you are going to start discussing the patriarchy with me, I will shut down and walk away. Because the more I do so, the more I see that women, in a lot of ways, have themselves to blame for the definition of feminism shifting every which way. The women themselves are also to blame for the lack of unity that I often see develop in feminism-oriented community. Women themselves are also to blame for their own lack of cohesion, and lack of perspective of the longer view of feminism and the accomplishments related to that.
As someone who doesn’t relate to women and generally stays away from people, I get the perception of looking from the outside in. I see both sides of social behavior. And I can’t excuse either side from their own shortcomings, and must lay a sizable portion of the blame at the feet of the feminists themselves.

When I look at the progression of feminism in the US, I don’t see a progression. Not in the least. It’s nothing  more than fracturing and segmenting, with only a few examples of feminist leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton serving as reminders of what feminism had started out as: the idea that women and men should be on an equal footing. And I no longer see that in the feminism of this country. I see it broken up into…I can’t quite say sects, but it’s the only word that’ll suit…but those small groups and subdivisions tweak and adjust the original meaning of feminism to the degree that it makes me say, “What is this?!”

It goes to say something that, in the largely male-dominated world of jazz music, I’ve encountered problems with maybe – maybe! – three men, as opposed to a far greater number of women. In an earlier post, I detailed some of my grievances as a female photog: people think of me as a groupie, assume that I’m blowing someone to get free admission, assume I’m sleeping with an artist if they’re paying me for my work…the list goes on. I mentioned that if people see me looking cute in a black dress, the first assumption is that I’m banging someone, and someone tells me, “Well, I’d never wear a black dress to a concert” – so in a way saying that if I do dress that way, I’m inviting the assumption – and that comment came from another woman. That’s the part that gets me: I’d almost expect the men to be the ones making those assumptions, but they aren’t. The women, on the other hand, are much quicker with the presumptions.

And in nearly every cheating-husband situation, I see the wife blaming not the man who’s doing the cheating, but the woman he’s cheating with. Which is, to me, foolish at best. Your husband/boyfriend did not accidentally fall into the other woman’s vagina penis first. He made the choice, consciously, to fuck someone other than his wife, on his own. The other woman didn’t make the choice for him.

Why even go so far? Rihanna showed up at an awards show wearing a very see-through dress. A majority of people raised their eyebrows, and a number of people called it slut-shaming. I can see where some would consider it slut-shaming, but let’s look at the bigger picture here: why does Rihanna feel that wearing that dress to an awards show is appropriate? It’s not about denying her the right to wear it – she looks amazing and has the body for that dress. It’s not about “overexposing herself” – she has that right. But simply this: if you’re receiving an award, is this really the dress for the occasion? If she wanted attention, she certainly got it, but is this the kind of attention she wanted? If she wanted to channel Josephine Baker, then why not wear it onstage while performing?

And yet, if I were to put that opinion onto a feminist message board, I’d be accused of slut-shaming before you can blink.

All because I think that the dress was not appropriate for the occasion.

That’s malarkey.

And it’s a perfect illustration of why I’m very hesitant to call myself a feminist.

The thing that feminists today, especially those who are quick to jump down other women’s throats for not seeing a feminist issue in everything around them, need to understand is that changes aren’t wrought overnight. If over the past thirty years we’re still having women paid 77c to a man’s dollar, then we’ve not really accomplished much in the larger scope of things. If you want to fight for something, you have to pick which battle you’re going to fight first, and make sure, first of all, that you’re united in fighting it. If you’re jumping down other people for their opinion, all the while patting yourself on the back for “calling them out”, believe me when I say you accomplish nothing. You accomplish only making yourself look like you’re overreacting, which in turn makes people take you less seriously. And if you’re serious about feminism, you cannot afford to be not taken seriously. If you believe your philosophy is correct, teach it. Teach it in a way that people will absorb and take seriously. If you spend more time calling people out than you do on actually getting your message across, you’re accomplishing nothing, and you’re going to lose more people than you’ll gain.

Again: the feminist ideas and ideology that had precipitated the fight for women’s rights did not get accomplished overnight, nor did it get accomplished with discord within its own ranks.

It’s foolish to assume that if everyone just accepted everything that it’ll all be fine and dandy. That is flat out wrong. You won’t get there with 7 billion people in the world and 7 billion different opinions. It’s just not realistic, and it’s just not the way that life works. You can’t force someone to like or accept something they fundamentally disagree with. And what goes for you does not go for everyone else. You can’t get to the first portion your expectation list if the very last and bottom thing on it isn’t even remotely addressed. And I don’t see how women can, in all essence, claim that they are more than their gender if, so far, they’ve yet to show unity in their endeavor to do so.

I see women jumping on other women for their different opinion a lot more than I see women acknowledging that yes, difference of opinion does exist, and sometimes with very good reason. Nonetheless, it is wholly possible to agree on some very basic things without discord, and the one thing that feminism strives to accomplish, the only thing, really, is that women are people and should be treated as such.  When that message is muddled in the current feminism movements, then what, really, is it trying to achieve?

The original feminist movement had the following aims to accomplish the above:

– Right to vote and work

– Pay equal to men

– Not being shackled by biology (in other words, the right to birth control and abortion).

Right now, I’m not seeing the second or the third getting accomplished, but instead I’m seeing a lot of discussion on what is and isn’t patriarchal culture and how a different opinion is wrong. If that’s the case, can someone please explain to me how we can hope to accomplish the second and third items of the list?

Of course, you know, maybe it’s just me, and I’m a pod person or something. But right now, I just don’t see exactly what feminism is, especially in light of what it has become.

K.G.

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About Kat G

Sci-fi author. Jazz aficionado, an all-around enjoyer of peace, quiet, beauty, and contemplation.
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6 Responses to Not Everything is Everything.

  1. I love you. This article is. . . perfect. I don’t really like to identify as a feminist anymore(that bit about mentioning the patriarchy making you walk away? I’m the same way.). I’d rather call myself a humanist cause the message of Feminism these days is not what it was originally. I see it more being about trying to think for other women, criticizing other women, and telling women that they should hate on men for x, y, and z reason. I do try to call out some views I see for feminism though, because. . . it twists the message and I don’t believe that you should keep silent when you see people saying that men should be read out, that it’s okay to assault men cause they did it/will do it to women, etc. Those are not feminist views and I don’t prescribe to the belief that we should include them cause ‘all women are feminists’. I think they send the wrong message, the very message that makes me not want to identify with it, in a way that is damaging. Do you know I actually saw women that call themselves feminists say a woman that did something horrific to a child was not in the wrong cause the child was a boy and ‘he’ll just grow up to do it to a woman’. Some of these women HAVE male children. And I just can’t handle the idea that we’re supposed to include what they say cause they’re women that say ‘I’m a feminist’, ya know? I also see alot of excusing women based on their gender being done in the name of feminism and I can’t handle that either. Isn’t that as appalling as if a man would do it? We are not our gender. But yeah, sorry to rant xD I just wanted to say that I really did enjoy reading this and am glad that you wrote it.

    • Kat G says:

      I got called out because I mentioned once telling a hookup of mine that I find dick pics to be classless, and got told that I’m promoting the patriarchy because I’m sending the message that women aren’t as sexual as men. Uh, the guy was a HOOKUP. He was there with the exact purpose of fucking me. WHY would I need a picture of a penis when I was about have the real thing?

      I’ve not seen the trends of abuse that you describe, but how sad is it I’m not altogether surprised at all? I just have no idea where all those women came from, but they’re giving feminists a bad name.

      I unsubscribed from a LOT of feminist newsfeeds, stopped reading a lot of feminist websites… I just can’t do it. I can’t. I may believe what they believe to a degree, but the idea of being associated with them and consequently with any crazy they bring is galling. I don’t know when common sense and basic sense of appropriateness became slut-shaming. I also have been accused of being a racist because I detest the saggy-pants trend, but I will never apologize for expecting my banker to have his pants belted above his butt cheeks, no matter what ethnicity he is.

      • Isn’t it? I mean the behavior we’re supposed to excuse cause “all feminist views deserve to be heard” leave me feeling appalled. I also wish someone would determine what is/is not slut-shaming. I saw so much slut-shaming that was “polite” going around with that absolutely awful letter Sinead O’Connor wrote to Miley Cyrus that was getting applauded when she even said that her body BELONGED to a man in it. . . and then nothing when it came to the actually nice, non-slut-shaming letter Amanda Palmer wrote.

        And you can’t express an opinion that calls them out either — cause then you’re anti-feminism. I hate the Bechdel Test, loathe and despise that bs “test” method, and I despise that Anita Sarkeesian woman(who ripped off people via a Kickstarter claiming that she was going to need the money to buy games to review for videogame reviewing and then stole ‘Lets Play’ videos from other gamers channels to make her YT videos) yet if you say anything negative about her you’re an awful person and not a feminist; even though she hurts the movement and instead gets lauded as so important to it.

        I also get what you’re saying, I’ve unfollowed so many things. I noticed another trend in the feminism movement that’s adding to the sect stuff too. Privilege. I’ve seen so many people say that this person, whether it’s cause of the country they come from or their skin color or their gender, has a less valid opinion/experience cause of their privilege. Am I saying privilege doesn’t exist? Of course not! But saying that someone has an experience/opinion that doesn’t matter cause of it just adds to more of the movement tearing itself apart. I’ve had that slung at me when stating stuff, and unfollowed places cause of those views, but that makes me wrong according to other people.

      • Kat G says:

        Oh, I hear you. I replied to the girl who called me out on the dick pic thing – that reply summarily vanished. Heaven forbid I stand by my opinion if it disagrees!

        We can’t have everything. It’s a simple fact of life that escapes people, especially those who are either feminist or claiming to be. We can’t have it all.

        As far as the slut-shame thing, the true litmus test is, “How do other people, reasonably, feel when they see it?” That’s the only litmus test. And school officials who have a problem with bra straps will find that most male students don’t give a shit about them. Rihanna would have probably chosen a slightly less transparent gown. And if a guy with pants below the butt finds that no employer will hire him dressed like that, you’d be amazed how quickly those pants get pulled up.

        It’s not rocket science, and few things do I resent more than being pseudo-called out for something that, in all essence, is common sense. Far as the dick pics go, it’s like this: if you’re cool with it, okay, but take caution because in the wrong hands, these photos ruin lives. And this applies to both men AND women. Me not liking them because again, I can always get the real thing instead of a picture, doesn’t make me a “bad feminist” or mean I “promote the patriarchy”. That’s sheer nonsense.

        It is okay to disagree. But the disagreements over the most mundane or minute of things are the reason why I’m staying away from nearly all things feminist. I just can’t wrap my brain around that thinking. Being a woman doesn’t make you exempt from consequences, it means you are a person – just like you strive to be.

  2. This is the same reason that I don’t post or get into topics regrading feminism. Because I have views that are unpopular and don’t like how women that voice opinion that are on the fringe are jumped on and made to feel stupid.

    Great article.

    • Kat G says:

      Indeed. I don’t hold the same view on what defines feminism, and if I’m not toeing this line or that line – which shifts daily, if not hourly – then I’m summarily a “bad feminist”.

      Women have become their own enemies in accomplishing the major goals of their generation and their gender alike. The worst of is it that they also don’t see it.

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