Monday, September 14, 2009

Today's Angry Post: Cowardice

I'm fed up with the presumed view that feminists a) are suitable scapegoats for everything that has not yet been fixed in women's lives, b) provide fun caricatures for everyone to sneer at (armpit-hair plaited all the way down to their hairy calves) and yet c) are to clean out this society of all misogyny and contempt towards women, stat! (Like it should have happened yesterday and if it didn't, well, feminism obviously failed.)

Now that's some job description, isn't it? That a small handful of people are responsible for the overall well-being of all world's women. Yet feminists are your proverbial cleaning-women: Invisible until something bad has been spilled.

Hey girl! Come over here! What's that female blood doing in Aisle Four? Get your broom and start sweeping! And no, you don't get a paycheck for it. But we WILL blame you for the fact that the blood was there in the first place and that it wasn't already swept up. We will also blame you for the downfall of Western Civilization and the colonization of other civilizations! And no, you still don't get paid for it.

Which makes me wonder how the feminists of earlier generations were able to do so much damage, what with being those rictus-smiled caricatures with no power and no respect, really. They probably wove nets out of their armpit hair and caught those civilizations in the nets. Yeah, that must be the explanation.

But of course feminists are also totally in the wrong! They are fighting a losing fight against pseudo-science aiming to prove women's biological inferiority and against fundamentalist religions aiming to strip women of almost all agency. Poor misguided creatures.

Except, of course, when we are talking about that other kind of feminism: The kind which finds fulfillment and independence in the very acts of relinquishing them. So those feminists fight very hard for the women's right not to have rights. Or the third kind of feminism which is all about social justice for all. And it's easy-peasy to accomplish that goal without short-changing women. At all.

Mmm. I got carried away there. Just a little.

I was recently in a group of people where one person said something very nasty about women, and the women present all seemed to expect that I'd run in with my broom and my bucket. What with me being the feminist, yanno. It was, like, my job, right? So I decided not to say anything. And neither did anybody else. So it goes. Was that your freedom skipping by, ladies?

I smell cowardice.

I'm a coward, one of the biggest ever. My heart is in my throat every time I respond to sexist arguments, my palms sweat and I feverishly run over various martial arts moves in my head, just to be prepared for anything. But mostly I respond anyway, even with shaking knees and difficulty of breathing. Because the long-term alternative is worse, not only for me but for other women, too. Besides, I get another knot in my liver from every insult I have to swallow.

Which means that I cannot accept silence. Silence never kept anyone safe, as someone much smarter once said. Silence is interpreted as acquiescence.

But perhaps that's fine for many women and men? It could be. It could be that the Concerned Women of America have their be-ringed fingers firmly on the pulse of this era. (Though they are loud enough in their demands for no rights that their god didn't explicitly write down two thousand years ago. -- What makes them unafraid of being noisy? Could it just be that they are only fighting feminism, not the people who actually ARE scary?) Or it could be that second-class tickets are perfectly AOK for women on this train through life, that voices and clamor needs to be spent on more urgent needs.

I don't know. It just seems so ass-backwards to argue that something called feminists are wholly and totally responsible for the rights of the majority of people on this planet. As if liberation could be custom-ordered from some firm of cleaning ladies.