Some times I get asked why I am a feminist or why I speak out about it often and I usually give them a nice neat, theoretical answer.
Today, however, I was given once again a messy, real world reason why I can’t conceive of being anything other than a feminist: because as a woman, I have to live with sexism everyday. Some days it’s like the aching throb of a bum knee that you’ve had ever since that injury way back when, its cold and distant and doesn’t really effect your day to day. Other days, though, it’s like a sharp jabbing pain that reminds you just how much that knee is holding you back.
I had to run into HEB today for toilet paper and some donuts. I wasn’t in there but 5 minutes and yet I had two different men decide to comment on my body, catcalls meant to be just loud enough for me to hear as I walked by them. It is so frustrating and infuriating to be forcefully reminded, whilst in the middle of your daily business, that as a woman your body, you self, is and should always be available for men to gaze, remark, and act upon. Make no mistake, that is exactly why men who catcall do so, they are attempting to remind women who are living their lives that they should never forget ‘their place’ in the world.
To top off those lovely encounters, I got back into the car just in time to hear our roommate explain to my partner (who thank god doesn’t share these views) that it’s so awesome to play female characters on MMO’s because no one takes female toons seriously because women gamers are inferior, that people give you gifts and presents and handouts because they think you need the help, and because you at least get to look at a good-looking ass while you’re playing the game. Again, female bodies are for male consumption, with a little does of sexist chivalry thrown in for good measure. Yes, I know its uncouth and makes me a feminazi (’cause remarking on sexism is totally like taking over Poland) to criticize chivalry, but that is what chivalry is! It’s a symbolic system of showing women that they can’t handle the outside world because they’re to frail too open doors on their own, too uncoordinated to scoot their chairs in, too dainty to walk through puddles, and god forbid they have any money that’s not theirs or their husbands so that they can pay for their half of the meal.
Okay, end rant. I have a feeling I’ll probably do more posts like this after days like this, so look out Poland, feminazi on a rampage!