Men. Women. We’re different. And that’s okay. In fact, I like that we’re different. I revel in it. The idea of an androgynous society rather makes me cringe.
So when asked if I’m a feminist, my go-to answer used to be yes. As a pretty girl, I find life a little sticky to navigate, and it’s a sorry fact of life that being a woman, and especially being an attractive one, gives me hell sometimes. I frequently fight the preconception that pretty women lack smarts, on top of fighting sexist men on the idea that women can’t hack it in the workplace, make inferior leaders, et al.
And I’ll admit to being a little sexist, but I’m sexist against both sexes: I make fun of the differences between us because it’s fun to use gender stereotypes as jokes. I never do it in a hateful manner, though, and I think that’s important.
Back on topic, though, I no longer consider myself a feminist. Feminism seems to me to be about equality for women, and I believe we’ve achieved that. We possess the same rights as men these days, with the exception of our military (but that’s another blog topic), so I feel that feminism has served its purpose. We now have the option to choose what kind of people we want to be, and that’s all that matters to me.
As to traditionalism, I don’t feel that this fits me either. I’m not knocking it for the women who want it–not by far–but I know that as a personal choice, being a homemaker would make me miserable. Blame it on pride, but the career junkies get all the glory, and I want my own glory in life. I also cherish the idea of shared leadership in the home. I would hate a man who tried to keep me from being a co-leader in the household, and I couldn’t respect the man who tried to follow. I don’t believe in a system that pushes women into any role they may not be fulfilled in. For that matter, I don’t respect a system that does this to men, either. There are some men who like being homemakers, and I say kudos to them. Male nurturers are a rare breed, but the ones I have met have been damn good at it.
In short, I feel that I’m neither a feminist nor a traditionalist. I recognize that sexism still exists, the nasty kind that keeps men from hiring women into good jobs, or that makes men say nasty things about women screwing up the areas of life that used to be male-dominated. I realize that sexism exists on both sides that results in exclusion of the other sex. But these will always exist, and no number of feminists are going to change the mind of the individuals.
That said, there is one area where I find myself both traditional and feminist, and that’s the area of women’s interests. Women seem to be pushed these days to be just like men, which I find interesting because it’s really the feminists who push this mindset. I’m sorry, but I like being a woman, and I have no desire to be just like men. I want my own glory and a career, true, but I want to obtain it while still maintaining my feminine interests. I find that these days, men’s interests–sports, for example–are in for everyone, while women’s interests, like fashion or shopping or romance, are largely sniggered at and looked down on, even by many women. (Question: how many of these such women do you think are feminists?) When’s the last time anyone sniggered at, say, science fiction novels as opposed to romance? Nobody laughs at Underworld, but Twilight, a series written by and for women, is reviled by so many, even though so many others love it. As an interesting tidbit, I have four friends I can think of off the top of my head–men–who read and loved the whole series. A fifth admitted he would probably enjoy it if he had the balls to be caught reading it, and another hasn’t read the series but has seen and enjoyed all the movies (this actually boggles me; the movies really are awful). If you think you can provide good reasons as to why Twilight is hated by so many, fill in the blank with any number of other women’s interest stories. (Chick flicks and dramas starring women come to mind.)
I feel bad for men sometimes, though. If they do have a lot of interest in pastimes and topics traditionally loved by women, they can be laughed out of the boys’ club and have their man card revoked. Women don’t suffer this as badly. We’re encouraged to enjoy men’s interests without fear of having our femininity impugned, for which I’m grateful, but I do recognize the existing double standard.
And while I’m on the subjects of feminism and double standards, I’d like to mention that I think women’s circuits at the gym, or gyms that are for women only, really irritate me. I get why they exist: they’re a place where insecure women can go work out without men looking at them. But let’s reverse this for just a minute: suppose there were a gym that excluded women. How big of a feminist outrage would ensue if there existed such a place? It can’t be okay for one sex and not the other. I mean really, if you’re that worried about men watching you while you run, well, aren’t you used to having men look at you by now? You’re a woman–they’re men. They’re gonna look. Big deal.
Men. Women. We’re different. And that’s okay.