Friday, May 19, 2017

The Feminist Reality - Taking Charge of Emotion, and Princess of Mars

Taxes, done. Exams, done. Car, registered. I'm going to sleep for three days.

Ah! If only that were possible. We all know it's not. Things happen, like birthday parties and art installations two hours away and family dinners and track practice. What happened to my week? Never-mind, I know what happened. I have a family.

Do you love the cover? Courtesy of Goodreads. 

My latest finished book would be A Princess of Mars by Edgar Burroughs. It was interesting to read for several reasons. One, it was probably the original sci-fi book of the century. Two, the book is well written and incredibly imaginative. Three, I could go over this with a fine-toothed feminist comb and make it look bad, but that's not my intent. We all know that things were different in 1912. Ready to change? Sure. But a strong patriarchal society prevailed. It's pretty obvious throughout the book. Especially when John Carter is constantly calling Dejah Thoris a "little woman," as well as building himself up as some kind of amazing god. There are good things too. You can read my complete (yet brief) review of the book on Goodreads.
Speaking of which, I recently had an epiphany while contemplating modern feminism. While I am a feminist, I'm not the ultra, wear-pants-everywhere, I-hate-guys kind of a feminist. In fact, I noticed that in the past I often contributed my overly emotional reactions to being a woman. Instead of having a rational conversation with someone, I allowed myself to cry uncontrollably and blame it on being a woman.

Wow. What the heck was I thinking?

The more I thought about this, the more I understood that both men and women use their gender to excuse behaviors that are less than savory. Son being a bully? It's just boys being boys. Woman screeching at her husband for not picking up milk from the store? She's just acting like a girl. Right?


Yes, the 21st century has been the most open century yet, allowing women many privileges we didn't have before. We've had the right to vote for almost a hundred years! We can get almost any job we want now and we can go to college. There are as many female news anchors as there are male. My problem lies with the backward thinking that still seems to rear its ugly head every once in a while that is centered on the English language and how it still leans heavily toward patriarchy. I'm not saying this is always bad; if I'm reading something from an earlier century and the word "men" is used to refer to all mankind, I don't get offended. Some people might, and that's okay too. I get it. I'm talking about language that creeps into television and movies, music, literature, and other pop culture. Sprint recently came under fire for portraying women as "shrill" or stupid, and when Lara Croft got a "reboot" in 2012 she donned a more realistic body but ended up crying a lot (Cracked). Huffington Post recently posted an article on the difference in clothing for girls and boys, where girls' clothes said things like "I Need a Hero" and the boys' clothes responded with "Hero in Training" (What You Wear). And this... horrifying. Funny, I guess. Some people see it that way. But this is still the way our society talks. If you're a girl and you're pretty, you don't have to be smart. This doesn't just do damage to girls:

Yes, males get it too. They need to be "tough guys," and it's okay if they are "little terrors," as long as they are boys and not girls. And...can you see those two in the middle?..."Smart like dad, pretty like mom." That troubles me. Deeply. (Thank you to Huffington!)

Anyway, I don't want to spend all day on this. Because I could. And that could get ugly and/or boring. But I want to make a point. Pay attention to the way you treat those around you. What goes through your head when you see a man crying or when you see a woman being tough? News flash: we are tough. As a mom, college student, and artist's side-kick, I am tough. I need to be tough. That doesn't mean I don't celebrate my femininity, because I do. I am a woman, who is different than a man. I believe that I'm beautiful, but...and this is's not because a T-shirt told me I was.

Something to chew on.

Works Cited: 

Samakow, Jessica. "You Are What You Wear
The Dangerous Lessons Kids Learn From Sexist T-Shirts." The Huffington Post., 03 Dec. 2014. Web. 19 May 2017.

Quercia, Jacopo Della, Evan V. Symon, K. Montagne, Dagmar Baer, David Wong, Josh Daws, Federico Cruz, and Miles Bacchus. "19 Surprisingly Sexist Messages in Modern Pop Culture." Cracked, 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 May 2017.