Disclaimer: The following post contains what some might interpret as an inappropriate word/thought or two, and is not recommended for sensitive readers. Bear with me, though; it should get better at the end. Hah!
Growing up, I had everything going for me to be a good and proper bra-burning feminist. I found most men irritating and inferior, to be very honest, and decided early on that I won’t be getting married to one of them one day – between the sperm banks and the storks to supply a baby (the only thing I thought them good for), who needs a man anyway?
In truth, I was a bit of a bitch. Some people found me intimidating, I know, and in a way I relished the thought. It’s not that I didn’t like male company; I just didn’t see the point of being less of myself so that a man won’t feel emasculated – my own little power trip. I didn’t realise then that this attitude actually diminished my power.
When I met my husband, one of the first things that really took my breath away about him, was that he actually found my tendency to bitchiness somewhat amusing… He could take whatever I gave him and pay me back in kind, so to speak. While I might have worn the pants in a previous relationship or two, we both had to learn to share it or take turns wearing it – and we’re still learning today.
It wasn’t easy to give up – I’m still more inclined to keep on struggling to open my own bottles instead of asking my big, strong husband to do it for me – and sometimes I forget. But if you ask me today whether I’m a feminist, this is what I’ll say: I’m a rehabilitating ball-buster, a quasi-feminist, and an equal opportunity Amazon. I am woman, hear me roar!
I know where my strengths lie, and I’m no longer interested in limiting myself to saying “anything a man can do, I can do better.” There are some things that men do that involve getting dirty/tackled/standing when I’d prefer sitting, and I really don’t care to join them. In fact, I don’t believe I need to.
I believe that we women can do anything we set our minds to, and that we should be respected (and paid!) accordingly. Don’t underestimate or undervalue me because of my gender, or suffer the consequences. They don’t warn you of the hellish fury of a scorned woman for nothing.
At the enigineering faculty, I work in a male-dominated environment where some of my colleagues might be surprised at first that the blonde girl has an opinion. But because I cultivate an environment where I also give the respect I demand in return, the blonde girl is soon asked for her opinion instead. I build relationships, because that is one of my strengths, and they can build the engins and circuits instead, because that is not. I don’t have time to fidget about nonsense – I have work to do.
But there are some feminists who might kick me out of the tribe for what I’m going to say next…
Just because I CAN do everything, doesn’t mean I WANT to. I love being married to a macho man who can make me feel safe and small and loved, while loving me for every facet of my sometimes-less-than-nice being. We are partners, after all. I love that I can feel like a woman – sometimes crying, sometimes trying – without questioning whether he thinks I am strong or respects me for it. I know he does; I chose him, after all, and I’m a clever woman 😉
So it frustrates the hell out of me that there are still women who think that I need to be only a specific type of woman to get the respect of a man. Or that a man’s respect is somehow necessary to validate who I am. I honestly don’t understand women who get ridiculously offended when a man lets her enter a room in front of him or holds the door for her, because it is supposedly a statement of the man’s patriarchal power over her as a woman. For the love of all that is good and dipped in chocolate, don’t they realise what they’re doing? If the only thing standing between me and my feminine power and strength is a simple chivalrous act by a gentleman whose mother taught him proper manners, then my feminism is truly fickle and nonsensical. That implies, for me, that men somehow have the power to make me feel powerful or take that power away from me, and that is fifty shades of rubbish.
By saying that a man shouldn’t open a door for me because he is ‘undermining’ my equal status as a strong, powerful woman, I would actually be undermining myself. No woman needs a man’s recognition of her identity or equality in order for it to be so – we are already as equal and powerful as we allow ourselves to be. No-one needs permission to be him-/herself from anyone, and it irks me that some women feel the need to practically give that power away by throwing tantrums about such petty trivialities. I have been known to let a woman walk through the door before me myself. Does that make my a lesbian? Surely it does not, just like it doesn’t make the woman a lesser version of herself.
I am what I am, breasts and all. I need no-one’s permission or approval for it to be so: my identity doesn’t depend on anything outside of myself. If you think you (as a man OR an over-zealous feminist) are ‘giving’ me something that’s always been mine, it’s not a gift, it’s an insult. And I don’t need those kinds of gifts, thank you very much.
What do you think, dear readers? Should I be banned from all future feminist fanclubs, or should we start our own club instead? I’d love to read comments from both men AND women on this one!