Thursday, October 21, 2010

Misogyny and the American Male

"I think that the modern feminist movement has been a big party in destroying modern dating and the family and it's not so bad for women to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, you know what I mean? Cause that's their choice. I mean, don't you feel your biological clock ticking? Tick tick tick..."

The students in my course (the whole 14 of us) often go out for a drink at a pub after class once a week, and in an attempt to find a new time, we went later on a Thursday. Which meant that the group was very small, but I live close to the pub that was picked, so I figured why not. I like to be social.

I get into a one on one and make the comment that the hardest thing I find about reading non-modern sources of political theory is the rampant misogyny. All of them use the term 'like a woman' to be derogatory, and while I'm aware that it was a different time, it still always pings me in the back of my head going 'this guy is completely dismissing the value of half the population' -- and even more, if you want to get into ideas of citizenship in the polis and women and children and slaves, etc.

So he's all 'so you're feminist' and I reply 'yes' because I have no shame in that. I think that women should have control of their own destiny and be able to make their own choices about jobs, reproduction, education, dress, livihood. Just as man gets to make his choice, choices for women should not be artificially constrained by society.

So he comes back with the above statement.

... WTF?

I have NEVER in my life had someone 'tick tick tick' at me. Number one, my biological clock is none of your damn business. Number two, the modern feminist movement destroyed dating and you want to back to the barefoot and pregnant model?

Seriously? A boy (because I can't call you a man right now) like you actually exists in the modern 21st century? Modern feminism means that I get to pick my mate just as much as you do, and that I get the choices to study just like you, and get to express my mind just as much as you do.

I was actually struck dumb when he said that, and as much as I hate it, could only just roll my eyes instead of hauling off and hitting him. He then had the nerve to say 'I mean, don't go burning bras or anything' to which all I can say is 'no, I like my bras, but thank you'.

He then lectured me on pieces that I need to read talking about 'manliness' and how women can be manly and that's a good thing but it's essentially a male characteristic, and one on courtship because it's interesting to see how modern feminists have destroyed the sanctity of dating like they had in the 50s and now women are just sluts. I'll read your articles, if only to refute them to your face. Because I can guarantee you this, nothing in your articles (written by men) of course, are going to make me change my mind. My mind's been opened -- there's no reason to close it again.

I then get the talk on how there are fundamental differences between the sexes, and I say 'there may be differences, but the value of feminism is in bringing different voices of experience to the table'.

He asks 'well, if women's voices are actually different than men's, why are there no women philosophers'?

You want to know why there are no popular and well read female philosophers? Seriously, you are so blind to privilege that I have to spell this out for you? Okay, there are no widely read female philosophers because men have controlled access to education, men have controlled the publishing industry, men have controlled the political sphere, men have decided who the men they should listen to are. Men did this. You know why there are no widely read female philosophers? Because men for centuries have declared that women say nothing worth listening to -- not because they haven't had anything to say, or because they weren't trying to say it. They were drowned out by boys like you who insisted that women have nothing of importance to say.

There are so few women studying International Relations (the largest concentration are in Peace & Conflict Studies) because we are discouraged from joining into the international debate because voices have been traditionally men. And it's discouraging when you don't see your own experience valued. We are discouraged by boys like this. Boys who think that it's cute to say things like 'barefoot and pregnant' or using the argument that there are no female philosophers so the female experience is inherently either the same or less valuable than the male.

Well guess what? I didn't hit you this time. I gave you a pass to be polite. But I'm done being polite. I came to Scotland to try and expand my horizons, and instead I just get the same old American man trying to explain to the silly little woman why he's right and she's just cute.

No comments:

Post a Comment