I’m getting the message loud and clear from men in my life that I am in fact being a rude feminist these days. Gasp! They say this to me with very serious, pointed faces–like they expect me to do something about it. To apologize and fix the “situation” tut suite. The situation of course being my rudeness itself, and not the actual issue we’re discussing. Oh no, it’s the way in which I’m discussing the topic that is causing their frustration. And I’m finding that the men in my life do not like feeling frustrated. I understand this is all new for them. This whole “a-woman-speaking-her-mind-how-dare-she-but-of-course-I-support-her-it’s-just-she-doesn’t-have-to-use-that-tone-of-voice-or-get-emotional-geesh”. Let’s see if I can help the guys a bit with this whole new-fangled feminist thing, shall I?
“But what about MY feelings????”, an actual man in my life
I guess I’ll be the one to break it to you guys: the feminist movement isn’t about you. I really thought this was obvious, but christ-on-a-cracker, apparently it needs to be said. The fight for women’s equality does not take into account men’s thoughts, opinions, or feelings. At all. I don’t care if you think mansplaining is a real thing or an impolite term. Because it is real to me and I’m done being polite. I don’t care if you’re annoyed when I say “do not interrupt me”. If you stop interrupting me, neither of us will be annoyed. Women are 50% of the U.S. population and leading the feminist movement. We are coining the terms, writing the books, organizing the groups, raising the money, and creating the change we want to see. We got this. Honestly, we don’t have the time, energy, nor inclination to run everything by you first. We welcome men as allies of course, but to be clear, an ally is someone who stands by our side and says “how can I help?”. An ally is not someone looking to prove their point, argue their side, or question the cause. Either get on board or get out of our way.
“So you’re just giving up on your looks then?”, another actual man in my life
Apparently I can be a feminist as long as I keep up appearances. At least according to one man in my life who noticed (and felt the need to comment) on the fact that I don’t wear as much makeup as I used to. He accused me of “giving up”. He chose a child’s birthday party to say this to me, and being the polite feminist that I’m supposed to be, I did not unload on this guy in public. (I’m just blogging about it for the whole world to read now. I know, SO RUDE!) Here’s what I wanted to say: Yep, you’re right. I’m giving up. I’m giving up spending thousands of dollars a year on an industry which thrives on women’s insecurities. An industry run by wealthy men, perpetuating women’s fears of growing old, and valuing looks over all else. An industry which teaches women that their identity is about how their outward appearance appeals to others…How to be “presentable”, to “put on their face”, to “cover their imperfections”, to “appear ageless”, to “turn back time”, to “restore a youthful glow”. What an utter load of crap. Women age. We all age. It’s natural and I’m choosing to embrace it. In addition to saving money by not buying makeup, I’m saving time. I used to spend hours each day putting on and taking off makeup. It was a chore for me and I loathed it. So, yes, I am giving up. I’m giving up fighting mother nature and the inevitable splendor of aging. I’m giving up a daily routine that drained me in more ways than one. So if you’ll excuse me, I hear there’s a pinata at this party and I need to smash something.
“But do you have to be crass about it?”, some guy I don’t have time for
It was recently pointed out to me that having my period each month is rude. More specifically, asking a co-worker if they have a tampon in an open office space, with both male and female ears around, is rude. It’s crass to ask in a normal volume voice for sanitary supplies. I guess I’m supposed to be embarrassed and shy, whispering only to my female colleagues, like a 12-year old girl spreading gossip in class. That way she can slip me a tampon like a $50 bill given to the maitre d for a table near the window. TOP SECRET! I call bullshit on this one big time. How is asking for a tampon any different from asking for a Kleenex or band-aid? All 3 are used to soak up blood. Just because men don’t use tampons, they’re taboo to speak of in a professional setting? I didn’t saying anything gross. I simply asked for a tampon. Besides, men talk about periods whenever they want to, and it’s socially acceptable in any setting. Any of these sound familiar ladies: “Why are you crying, are you on the rag?”, “She had blood coming out of her wherever”, “She’s totally pms-ing”, “You’re so hormonal, must be that time of the month”, “I think you must need some chocolate”. Double standard be damned. I will continue to openly talk about my menstrual product needs. Now pass me a neon pink wrapped tampon, so I can non-discreetly hold it on my way to the bathroom.
“You used to be much easier to talk to”, a guy I used to know
I know, right? What a bummer that I’m now asserting myself, and actually saying what I’m thinking. It’s super off-putting and inconvenient for the men in my life. The poor guys! “I’m afraid to set you off,” they cry. I totally get it dudes. A woman with an opinion is a scary, unpredictable thing. Two-way communication–whaaaaat????? I’m sure you had it much easier when I agreed with everything you said. When I listened with rapt attention to your stories. When I blindly let you explain things to me which I already knew. When you answered questions for me that I never even asked. When you interrupted me so much that I just gave up and let you take over the conversation. When I let you tell me my opinion was wrong and why. When you gave me directions that I never asked for. When I told you I had to leave but you kept talking for 20 minutes because my time is worthless. When I cooked you an entire meal and as you ate it proceeded to explain the recipe to me. When you talked right over me, drowning out the sound of my own voice and dignity. When I worried if my tone would offend you even though yours was condescending as hell. When I made sure to smile at you the whole conversation. When you repeatedly said, “you understand, right?” and I just smiled and nodded. Yes, I can see how losing all of those past pleasantries are hard for you. In fact, I’m sure you find this entire post irritating, condescending and bitchy. I promise you it’s not out of intentional rudeness or retaliation. It’s out of a new-found freedom in my feminism. And as I stated at the beginning, it’s not about you. It’s only about me.
“What must your husband think of all this???”, a modern-day caveman