Gary and I had a conversation this morning that kicked off a tailspin of ideas leading to today’s post. He was talking about an acquaintance of his, and he joked, “I don’t know if you would get along with her. She doesn’t like women much.” I shrugged and joked back, “I don’t like people in general much, so that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get along!”
I was about to say, “My being feminist doesn’t mean I like all women” when this more honest, to-the-point thought popped into my head: “I am feminist but am sick of paying for other women’s mistakes.”
I don’t believe it makes sense to separate out groups of rights, like women’s rights, men’s rights, etc., as if you go to a different department in Wal-Mart to pick some up. I believe in equal rights, period, and the right for human beings to not be caged and hindered by stereotypes. However, I also believe rights come with responsibilities, and that is where I begin to travel down a different road than the masses, apparently.
There’s a band of ladies I call the Power Puff Girls, who delight in the concept of feminism so long as it means they can wear their “Princess” t-shirts and revel in their shrill calls of “Girl power!” When it comes to backing it up, however, they step away, declare certain acts “men’s work”, play stupid/weak/helpless to get someone to do it for them, and miserably fail at holding their own.
Yes, I am feminist, but I am tired of so many other women tainting the concept, poisoning the idea of equality, by their selfish, idiotic acts. I am tired of the refusal to accept responsibilities, or the twisted idea that affirming rights means stomping on someone else’s.
Very relevant to a lot of readers is this unnecessary conflict with father’s rights. Parents acting as true partners is monumentally beneficial to kids, even if the parents divorce. I believe a mother cannot expect a man to share equally in housework and child care during marriage, then declare his rights obsolete at divorce and thrust out her hand for a check each month while she bashes him to the kids and perches on her self-appointed throne, playing injured martyr and declaring her rights as more important than his…and the kids’.
I know far too many women who make me cringe, who have actually made me think, “I’m ashamed to be associated with her, even if our only similarity is that we are both female.” Thankfully I have “met” many strong, intelligent women through their blogs (see them in my blogroll to the right), and they, along with some of my friends, remind me that the apparent saturation of manipulative, lying, self-serving women doesn’t mean all women act this way, or support acting this way, and many women actually fight others who are acting this way.
One of the most frightful aspects of sexism is again the impact on children. I am so saddened by harmful, dangerous, and unproductive attitudes and behaviors being transmitted like a disease to little girls and boys. I worked at a children’s program where a male teacher jeered a little boy playing with the toy kitchen and even implied he was gay…to a five year old. I have heard mothers tell their young daughters all the things girls don’t do…play sports, wrestle, run, basically anything fun or freeing. Perhaps what these women should say is, “I am not a strong enough person to challenge society’s limitations imposed by gender, so I am impotent at serving as a positive role model for you.”
No child should be taught to limit themselves based on gender, male or female, and no adult should be ignorant or spiteful enough to perpetuate these hateful stereotypes in their own lives. Yet so many are, and do. Please do not define feminism by the actions of women who ride the coattails of better women who fight for equality, accept the responsibility that goes with it, and refuse to step on other’s throats to get there.