Feminism Ruins Everything
If you have been in four metre radius of me recently, or read my twitter feed/ facebook posts / listened in my conversations over a half chewed cheeseburger, you may be aware that I am currently fascinated with chivalry. It’s my MA topic du jour as I believe it’s a shortcutter’s insight right into sexism in the 21st century. I’ve been reading, talking and watching things all in the name of benevolent sexism. And oh my god, the research! the insight! the Marylin Frye!*: oy, it fucking ruins everything.
It’s kind of ruined my love life, for starters. The entire rigmarole is so deeply encoded with chair pulling and cutesy arguments over who pays (or what I like to call The Wallet Dance™) it’s enough to send a feminist slut to a nunnery.
It’s not like I ever actively enjoyed those faux-shows of masculinity before, but at least I didn’t know any better than to appreciate them. Now, with all this extended troublesome knowledge of benevolent sexism (a fantastic term – does anyone have a link to its origin?) I’m a big hot mess of “I can open the door myself thank you” and “Look, pal, I didn’t bring sandwiches into work for three days running just so you can try to persuade me to put the £20 note back in my purse. Now let me pay for myself”.
This added to the occasional “well if you’re feminist, does that mean you’re buying my drinks too?” type of man. To which I am forced to reply that I thought I had already established that I spend all of my money on lunch.
It enrages me that I am supposed to pretend to be a certain type of person in these “events” (I say “events” because can you really call two overpriced gin and tonics and a “my friend is ill”-style getaway an event?) These “events” are supposed to help me find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, the person with whom I hope to never have to pretend.
Well actually, I suppose that’s what being a feminist has un-ruined. It has opened my eyes to the behavior I expect from potential partners, and from myself. I most frequently give myself a good talking to when a man rushes past me to get the last seat on the tube. “Why should he let you sit down?” I ask myself. “Because I’m a wo-“ I start. “Aha so you think you should be allowed to sit down because you’re a woman and therefore the weaker sex and therefore maybe shouldn’t receive equal pay?” I retort. And at this point I remember that feminism ruins everything until our daughters grow up and live in such an equal society that they are not even aware that women were supposed to be allowed to have the seat and are blithely receiving equal pay to men and can therefore legitimately buy their own drinks and even buy their own chairs if they want to as well.
See, you knew I was never going to let this end on a low.
So basically, what I’m saying is that I am now a nicer person and I should really stop spending so much on lunch.
*”The gallant genstures have no practical meaning. Their meaning is symbolic. The door-opening and similar services which are needed by people who are for one reason or another incapacitated — unwell, burdened with parcels, etc. So the message is that women are incapable. The detachment of the acts from the concrete realities of what women need and do not need is a vehicle for the message that women’s actual needs and interests are unimportant or irrelevant. Finally, these gestures initiate the behavior of servants toward masters and thus mock women, who are in most respects the servants and caretakers of men. The message of the false helpfulness of male gallantry is female dependence, the invisibility or insignificance of women, and contempt for women.”
from the 1983 essay, Oppression
Quote linked from http://www.unapologeticallyfemale.com/2009/04/question-of-chivalry.html