December 25, 2014
Keep on keepin’ on
Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday. I’m presently relaxing in my flannel jammies, munching on biscotti and sipping on some yummy wine. While waiting for dinner to be ready (in the grand tradition of Christmas Eve my mom dismissed me from the kitchen pretty early in the evening) I was scrolling through Facebook and found this cool list of lady comedians commenting on feminism. The last one was my absolute favorite and it made me think of a lot of conversations I’ve had in the last year.
By now I know it’s clear to everyone that I am an outspoken person, and I suck at biting my tongue. Depending on the context of the situation, I will absolutely throw in my two cents on things. Whether it is being outspoken and assertive when someone at one of my jobs drops a racial slur, or a friend makes a thoughtless comment shaming a woman her reproductive decisions, you best believe I give NO fucks about saying something. *Yes, those are things that have really happened in the last couple weeks.
I’ve noticed a little pattern that takes place when I’ve called some people out for their racism/sexism. First, they’ll deny that racism/sexism is a thing. When faced with evidence of either of those, they eventually admit that those are things that exist, but that hey, that’s the way it is so we should just accept it.
I can’t even believe I typed that.
The thing is, in some ways, I see the point. Inequality of all forms is so fucking pervasive in so many facets of our society that how can we ever make it better, really? The heartbreaking realities of institutionalized racism. The fact that rape is an issue that isn’t being addressed properly at most universities, and in general. The fact that so many experience sexual assault and rape and that the vast majority of our rapists will never see a day in prison *but if they’re black, they’re FAR more likely to. Women having to fight for their rights to have autonomy over their bodies. Hell, women having to qualify to others WHY they need/deserve contraception to be covered. In many states gays can get married, and then get fired the next day at work for being gay and out, 100% legally.
Not all of it is tangible, so much of it is just cultural norms. Women policing each other; “Attention, ladies, no guy will want to date you if you wear this/do this/etc.” Pushing people into boxes of gay, straight, bisexual, etc. The gender binary. The idea that what we as women look like and how we present each others matters so much, because we are taught that is where our prominent worth is from. Masculinity being equated with physical strength and dominance. Aging being treated as a disease by advertisers rather than a natural process.
That was really just scratching the surface; a quick brain storm of the things I know are wrong with the world.
We can’t fix everything. Some things are better no than they were years ago, and it will never be perfect. But why continue to fight this Sisyphean battle?
When I get to that point in conversations when people say there will always be inequality somewhere so why do anything , I think of a song from my favorite band, Say Anything; “People Like You Are Why People Like Me Exist.” The title sums it up.
Where would the world be if we didn’t try to fight inequality? If we didn’t question the way things are? We’d still have slavery in the US. It would still be legal to beat/rape your wife. Women would still be dying from unsafe abortions. I wouldn’t be allowed to have a bank account without my husband. I wouldn’t be allowed to vote.
I don’t understand people who can accept things as they are. I can’t relate to that. Perhaps we just aren’t made of the same stuff.
What I do know is how enriched I feel my life is since I became a socially aware, feminist person. I’ve demanded more from myself and want higher quality people in my life. I can’t even imagine being someone who doesn’t think about these issues.
I so often have thought about the world and my place in it from the context of what it will be like for the little girl I will have someday. In fact, almost a year ago exactly I donated what ended up being 34 eggs to a couple who couldn’t be pregnant. For the daughter I may have someday, and for the biological child/children have somewhere else right now, I can’t fix the world. I will never be able to eradicate all the inequality and injustice that exists. I am in a constant existential crisis because I feel I’m not doing enough. But, I feel at peace mostly, because I know I’m making some type of effort to make the world better the people who will be born into it.
That being said, I’m so thankful that I’m an agitator rather than someone who simply accepts things as they are. And I’m especially thankful for the people that continue to inspire me to do so more frequently and thoughtfully, every day 🙂