Alright, so everyone is different and that’s great. But you know when someone starts asking you about your “thing” and then that person clearly disagrees with everything you start saying? Yeah, we all know you disagree and as the conversation continues it just becomes even more clear that person is an unintentional bigot.
I know, I know those are fighting words, but seriously. When asked about feminism I am typically good natured, knowledgeable, and try my best to be friendly despite recognizing the fact that many people fear the word or label “feminist”. When a person begins asking questions and I start answering to the best of my ability, and their responses turn into “yeah, but that happens to men too” or “but as a guy, I mean, I’m discriminated against and whatever” or “I’m not a feminist cause I would never think of myself above my boyfriend/future husband”. My first response is, what the fuck? My actual response is typically, “Well, it’s not really that women are trying “take over” or that women are the only group being pigeonholed. It’s a problem for everyone when men and women are expected to take certain roles.”
Usually I get worn out pretty quick when these conversations start because, unfortunately I am used to being on the defensive and a lot of times I am just unwilling to go there again. But I just want to throw out a question to our readers who maybe haven’t yet identified as a feminist, or maybe friends that are reading because you’re one of our friends, but maybe still refer to feminism as “that feminist thing” (usually implying we’ll grow out of it) . . . when you aren’t dating someone and you hang out with someone that you don’t talk to everyday, what are the odds they’ll ask you who your dating? If you’re female, how often do people get excited for you to be single? How excited do people get when you say you are indeed dating someone? Males, how often are you asked about who you’re dating? How often do you get the pity card when you say you’re not in a relationship?
Alright so those were quite a few questions, but what I’m trying to get at is yes, everyone is subjected to expectations that they don’t like, but there are certain things where women are expected to be doing things that not only can affect their self-worth (being valued higher because of a relationship, for example) but it also affects men, children, teenagers, young adults, and especially women.
Ultimately what I’m trying to get across is that we’re all fucked into these small roles if we don’t change. I’m more than a relationship; someday I might meet the man of my dreams and get married and maybe adopt a kid or two, but until then, I am going to live my life and stop asking if I’m dating someone, ask how my internship is, what I’m planning to do after I graduate, what books I’m reading, or how I feel about what’s going on in Iowa politics. Do you see what I mean?
Also I am going to get better at talking about feminism with people that disagree from the get-go.