Feminist Friday: Myths that need to die

Via DailyLife, by way of Kimberly Chapman: “Five myths about women that need to die in 2013.” Let’s take a look at them, shall we? (But go and read the full text; the snark is brilliant.)

1. Women are waiting for Prince Charming to marry them and put a bun in it.
There’s a persistently irritating idea that careers, travel and an interest in the wider world are just the things a woman does to fill her time while waiting for her real life to happen – being proposed to in a restaurant, marrying in front of 200 of her nearest and dearest and giving (natural) birth to a baby called Ingenue.

Good thing I got married young instead of wasting my life on a silly career! Ha! ….But…wait…I still have a career…..In fact, I love the work I do, so…Good thing I live in an era where I can pursue a career I love. And hey, good thing I live in an era where getting married didn’t close job opportunities off to me. Women still face a lot of obstacles, but I’m still glad I live now and not fifty years ago.

2. Women choosing things – anything – is a feminist act and can’t be criticised.
Yes, choice is very important. It is, in fact, vital when it comes to things like child-rearing, abortion, sex, work, life, the universe and everything in between. But ‘choice’ and the ability to exercise it in and of itself is not a feminist act; rather, it’s the result of demanding women be entitled to autonomy the same way men are. More importantly, defending women’s right to choose whatever they like doesn’t mean other women have a duty to agree with those choices or even respect them.

One thing I will always be thankful for is the fact that I have critical thinking skills. I’m sure the Republican Party would prefer I didn’t, but as yet, they have yet to sufficiently lobotomize the population. Collusion is tricky business, and what is and is not feminist is not always clear cut, as much as I’d like it to be. But the fact is that making choices is a thing all adults do. Women making choices is not feminist. Women making choices is just something people do.

3. Women are all jealous of each other.

[T]he idea that women engage solely with the world from an established position of envy and competition isn’t just ludicrous, it’s damaging. It assumes that our judgment is illegitimate from the get-go, because its only goal is to tear down another woman and thus take her spot at the table where the best crumbs fall. And while this kind of thing doeshappen, it’s part of a whole ‘nother problem with the limited paths to power that are available to women in our society. Reinforcing it with a casual, ‘what can you do?’ shrug of the shoulders undermines the efforts of women to break out of that mould. Sometimes – often, in fact – women are legitimately critical of other women because we are able to intellectually disagree with something a woman has said or done. It doesn’t make us jealous, or bitchy, or juvenile – it makes us fully formed human beings with the ability to make critical assessments of the world around us. You know. Kind of like men.

Again: critical thinking is good! And critical thinking =/= jealousy. It’s pretty tough to be a human and not get jealous sometimes. I get jealous of people who don’t have student loan debt. Or who can drop a couple hundred dollars on new electronics without thinking about it. Or who got their first books published at a younger age than mine. But these jealousies don’t make up my life. I don’t try to tear down already-published writers. I don’t hate my friends who have paid off their debt (or are lucky enough to have not had any in the first place). And maybe I live in a special bubble, but the women I know don’t exhibit these nasty behaviors, either.

4. Women lose their shit over cleaning products, yoghurt and K-Mart.
I swear to dog, if I have to see another advertisement of a woman wearing pearls smiling while cleaning her toilet, or talking about how fat free lemon cheesecake yoghurt is kind of the same thing as not hating yourself, or gesticulating wildly about how the new Schticky appliance has made mopping really, really fun then I am going to bulldoze my way down to the Mart-of-K to round up all the Stepford Wives that apparently live there and deactivate the bullshit chip that lives in their brains. Except that there won’t be any, because no one likes cleaning, yoghurt is dumb and even though K-Mart is a good low-cost option, no one ever rode a bike through its aisles as if this were what life had been building up to.

I mean, I think Greek yogurt is amazing, but I don’t equate it with my self-image. I don’t do a dance of joy when I approach the dairy case at HEB. And I’m never going to like cleaning. Heck, I don’t even like shopping, K-Mart or otherwise. I suppose I could be defective, but….I’m pretty sure I’m okay, actually.

5. Women aren’t visual.

An article was published recently to coincide with the release of a new book exploring the most popular forms of internet pornography. In it, the authors blithely reiterated (‘scientifically’, of course) the oft repeated myth that women are more invested in storylines rather than visuals; they’d much rather read a romantic novel with established characters than spend a quick two minutes cruising You Porn.

Funny, because other casually offered stereotypes pillory women as being obsessed with shoes, constantly comparing their bodies to other women’s and looking at engagement rings from Tiffany – all fairly visual activities.

So the idea that women don’t get into sexual voyeurism ‘because they’re just not visual’ is pretty lazy. Could it be that, rather than being unable to get a blazing hot lady boner over some filthy-as-f–k home videos, they just find it harder to get off on the predictable denouement that shows the only woman in the room being penetrated?

And not only that, but, having been an editor of romance novels that ran the entire heat spectrum, I will say that women have very diverse tastes.

So if anyone out there believes these myths…take it from a bunch of women: they’re not really true.

5 thoughts on “Feminist Friday: Myths that need to die

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