Gexx in Knoxville

This blog is about Gexx, in Knoxville

I’m not my mother’s feminist

Posted by Gexx on March 12, 2007

Finally – an update.

I’m not going to continue the past post’s train of thought. Too much time has elapsed and I lost it all. Instead, I’m going to do a tardy “Blog Against Sexism Day 2007” post. Why? because I feel like posting, and it seems like a viable topic for this new, thoughtful blog. (Of course, I would attack it in my old blog, but this just seems like a much more viable venue.)

Blog Against Sexism Day

I’m not my mother’s feminist

Granted, no one is *my* mother’s feminist as she was never one for such “silly” things, and maybe that’s why I feel strongly about these race/class/gender issues that tend to weasel their nuances into my work. And feminism and genderism has changed greatly over the years: “the women are people, too” school of thought of the 60s and 70s, the masculanized woman of the 1980s, the man-hating reclamation of feminine virtue of the 90s, and the gender rights “humanism” of the ‘aughts.

The one point which always attacks me is the gender-based victimization of individuals. Of course, a good harasser will learn the sensitive points of the victim, but when these points are gender based – a slew of traits which cannot be changed – the victim no longer feels bothered/irritated, but instead feels vulnerable and ashamed. In the same way, many women (me included) have been raised so their “instinctual” action is the polite, “ladylike” one of pleasethankyoudemureglancedown. Yes, the readers laugh, but they have so rarely seen me so far out of my comfort zone that I retreat to these behaviors, which I never realized I was doing and then was reprimanded for being stupid and making bad choices.

Why is this *my* soapbox issue on my late/partial credit BASD Post? Because it is one that has directly effected me. It has influenced my decisions, it even carries over into my behaviors, my worries, and my paranoias. This is why I move my car to just outside my office before dark. Personal genderist attacks have shaped my political and social views, including my feelings on gun control. This is why I, an “independent woman” always tend to seek out some companion (preferably male) if I’m going out in an unfamiliar city. Or, for example, when I interned in the warehouse district of a city, as soon as I got off the bus, I hunched over and pulled a guy’s hat down to my ears. Wearing my bulky coat, which protected me from gendered detection as well as the frigid Upstate NY winters, I would rapidly navigate the alleys to my building, passing by the lower echelon of legal and illegal activities. This practice, of course, was not adopted until after I handled a mild incident, but a soothsayer I was and am not and hind site is a great learning tool.

This, in a long hard retrospective look, is also probably why I stayed in that relationship for so long – because this way I had “the devil I knew” in the male next to me. Sure he treated me emotionally like crap, but like he told me, “[I]should be happy, [He] never hit [me].” I could just ignore his comments, but I did not want to ever be hit again. And definitely, being “girl” or even worse, “l’girl,” and not a woman, or even Elizabeth (read more about fullness of person-hood later on) has influenced my relationship (or lack thereof) with my parents.

Instead, the bf was there to escort me out of threatening places, even if he was just on the phone. The thought of maleness embodies being a full person, and who in their right mind would ever attack a full person.

Those who are not this sought after “full person” [in this post we focus on gender (not on race or class – sorry, there much be blog days for those topics too)] are those who are not the man’s man. Because we are not whole, we do not have a full defense against these genderists. This includes, but is not limited to: women/wimmen/womyn, girls/grrrls, members of the LGBTTQQ community, and even “effeminate” men.

So, what are individuals doing to reclaim the harasser’s ammunition? Pet store feminists are reclaiming Bitch and Pussy? The Vagina Monologues, in exposing that word from it’s hideyhole of kiddy-speak and slang (peepee, gash, cunt, slit) has placed the word in public parlance again. Perhaps when the Penis Monologues come out, the “PENIS!” game will also lose it’s shock value. Cities have their “gayborhoods” (today’s new word for me), and some have sex and gender based facilities to protect against such harassers.

I know that inequality is the only constant in social dynamics, but…

Do I view myself as being inferior because my observers see me as such? Or do my observers see me a sub, and open for harassment because I allow them?

(all who are reading, cut the “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” ERoosevelt crap)

The point of this ramble is not to make obvious the need to protect against gender-based harassment, but instead to make obvious the want to remove this gender-based harassment and uneasiness. It is an inherent right for me to walk down the street and feel safe. Yet I have also been raised being told that dealing with such actions, picking myself up afterwards, cleaning up and continuing on with my life is inherent with being female. I am sick of it.

Although an idealist at heart, I am not here to offer a solution, unless re-exposing the topic for maximum observation is a solution. But I refuse to allow it to be forgotten. I’m sure I could pull out some of the many Symbolists sitting in my bookshelf to “support” my point, but this is a blog – not a term paper. Thank you blogger, for giving me a canvas to air my thoughts as a verbal Pollack painting.
edit on 3/16/2007 to tie some points together

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