A place for odds and ends that I want to share :)
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Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.
Look, I generally like having freshly shaven legs and armpits. It feels nice and smooth. But there is seriously nothing that makes me want to let my naturally robust and thick body hair run wild more than someone saying that I need to be hairless to be (attractive as) a woman — especially if that someone is a company that is looking to profit by stoking anxiety and shame about gendered beauty norms.
People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.
And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman wasn’t truly raped. Because she didn’t fight back, or yell loudly, or run, or kick, or punch. She let him into her room when it was obvious what he wanted. She flirted with him, she kissed him. She stopped saying no, after a while.
These rules for social interactions that women are taught to obey are more than grease for the patriarchy wheel. Women are taught both that these rules will protect them, and that disobeying these rules results in punishment.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.
Why does your partner react so strongly to your anger? One reason may be that he considers himself above reproach, as I discussed above. The second is that on some level he senses—though not necessarily consciously—that there is power in your anger. If you have space to feel and express your rage, you will be better able to hold on to your identity and to resist his suffocation of you. He tries to take your anger away in order to snuff out your capacity to resist his will. Finally, he perceives your anger as a challenge to his authority, to which he responds by overpowering you with anger that is greater than your own. In this way he ensures that he retains the exclusive right to be the one who shows anger.
She felt a sudden lump in her throat and she wanted to say something that would tell him how much it had meant to her, too. But she found no words.
If you have to treat me differently because you heard I’m a feminist, you subconsciously realize that there is something wrong with your normal behavior.
This is so true for a whole assortment of things but I’ve never been able to put it into words. Like when people find out I’m queer and they suddenly act less homophobic. I have relatives who magically stop showing their racist tendencies around people of color. Just because you don’t display your prejudice around the people you’re prejudiced against doesn’t make you a good person - it still means you’re shitty, but also extra shitty because you realize your behavior is offensive and you only display it around people who won’t be immediately harmed.
I was assistant-teaching last fall, and the main teacher confronted a girl about her constant use of the word “ret*rded” in place of words like stupid or lame. The teacher spoke of having worked with mentally disabled people and how that word causes them pain. The girl’s defense was “Well I would never say that word in front of actually retarded people!” She was clearly embarrassed at being called out in front of everyone so we let it go in that moment but I wanted to scream "That’s precisely the problem!!!"
1. Your place is in the kitchen. If you somehow manage to find work outside of the home, it is because you fucked the interviewer.
2. You cannot participate in sports because no one will want to watch you play. Unless your uniform is a sports bra and spandex.
3. ‘You are not like other girls’ is the best compliment you can receive. Other girls are your enemies because they are your competition. Not in landing a job, but in landing a husband.
4. Homosexuality is okay in pornography. Love and marriage with someone that is of the same sex as you is not.
5. You were asking for it. Despite the fact that he was your friend, despite the fact that you were too inebriated to say ‘yes’, despite the fact that you were passed out. You were asking for it.
6. Wearing revealing clothes makes you a slut.
7. Don’t have sex because everyone will think you’re a slut.
8. The worst thing you can possibly be is a slut.
9. But you still need to be sexually alluring and available. Just not a slut.
10. It is your responsibility not to get pregnant and your responsibility alone. However, if you do get pregnant, you cannot get an abortion because that’s just being selfish.
11. You don’t want to have children? That’s not how things are done. You’re not living up to your role as a woman.
12. Being upset and cognizant of your feelings is a sign of emotional and mental instability.
13. Lose weight.
14. But keep your curves. You’re not a real woman without them.
15. You don’t own the rights to your body.
16. If you notice any discrimination based on your sex or gender, it’s better to keep quiet because you don’t want to upset anyone. Silence is better than making someone uncomfortable.
17. It is your fault for being born a woman. And you should be ashamed.
I had a boyfriend not so long ago who, whenever we got into an argument, would accuse me of “going soap opera.” “Here comes Telemundo!” he would shout. His (clearly gendered and vaguely racist) insult was supposed to make me feel like my anger wasn’t valid—that it was frivolous and silly, that I was being overly dramatic. This was his not-so-subtle way of trying to shut me up—by accusing me of being emotional. (Unlike men, whose anger is always logical, of course.) Unfortunately, calling me out like this often worked. It felt immobilizing to be called dramatic. Even if you know you’re being reasonable, we’ve internalized sexism so much, sometimes we even begin to doubt ourselves.
from Jessica Valenti’s He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know.
I wish I had read this a couple years back because this was my life.
You make me feel a little dirty, she said, and I fucking love it.