Outright blatant feminism makes me a bit annoyed. Angry people are never taken seriously, and angry women even less so (more about that later). So being militant about anything isn’t going to help.
On the other hand, I really want to talk about this ultimate balancing act that women these days seem to have to do. I don’t know whether this is limited to certain cultures in general or to guys everywhere, but this article inspired this post, so I’m going to list out my Principles of Being Female:
1. Be pretty, but not too pretty.
There’s really no getting around the fact that women are expected to look good the way guys are expected to go to the gym. I’m not saying I don’t love the idea of looking good, but it annoys the hell out of me that, for instance, pretty South Asian brides are expected to suck it up and marry the ugliest men without any complaints. Hey, to-be-grandparents! Let me give you a little genetics lesson, okay? Your sweet little granchildren’s genes are determined both both your daughter and her hideous husband.
Anyway, digression aside, women are expected to look pretty. Men can somehow get away with being ugly but charismatic; looks are optional. But woe betide the woman who’s actually blessed with good genes — it’s now her lot in life to not be taken seriously because really, someone that good-looking can’t be intelligent into the bargain.
2. Be girly/emotional, but not too girly/emotional.
Women are expected to be, to a large extent, walking hormonal imbalances who can’t get over their emotions enough to think one coherent thought. Well yes, that’s a gross exaggeration, but I always seem to get the feeling that a sane, sensible girl is a sort of mythic creature — she defies the expectations of guys who expect women to be easily handled by manipulating their emotions.
On the other hand, if the lady does tend to get emotional — if it’s that time of the month again, etc — she’s dismissed because she’s just “being a girl”.
3. Date, but not too much.
The idea is that the woman must appear to be a normal, potentially attractive person. My theory is to do with my (very uncertain) knowledge of share prices — someone starts buying stock and the assumption grows that there’s something about that company that makes it impressive. Thus the dating: there must be some evidence of someone buying into her stock, so to speak.
And it also proves she’s not — terrifying thought here — lesbian or something.
Too much, however, and the usual derogatory terms for too-popular women start manifesting. Whatever else you might say about this enlightened era, a notch on the belt for a man is another scarlet letter for a woman.
I won’t claim that I haven’t assumed certain stereotypes about men myself. And in fact, full disclosure: I don’t know that many men. But on the occasional instances where I’ve felt that these principles apply, they’re a jarring reminder that in fact, feminism — not the militant kind that loudly calls for reverse discrimination, because no one should be allowed to do anything just because they’re not from the status quo — the quiet, confident assertion that women and men are fundamentally the same, you know, type of creature, is necessary.