I had mentioned earlier that in the last few months I have been doing a great deal of reading about feminism. After several disconcerting run-ins occurred in my daily life and after being on the sidelines and frontlines of internet battles, I wanted to explore my own life from the ground up and regain a sense of self that wasn't defined by a preconceived perception that I had gained through society's dictates and the incessant need to be popular.
So I read and read.
My conclusion is simple. Feminism is not the throbbing, living system of empowerment that our foremothers had laid the foundation for. We are not fighting for our right to vote or the right to have a job. We aren't praying for the ability to not be ruled by a tyrant husband or trying to focus on raising a family to better the generations that come after us.
We are too busy fighting about sex in all it's forms.
There is a great divide in feminism. The cracks first appeared in the 1970's when a group of women came forward with the "sex is power argument". There was dissent from another group of women who felt that sex was a sacred, private thing that was used for its original intention of populating the earth. Sex wasn't meant for public consumption but for the greater good.
Needless to say, these ladies couldn't agree. This has led to a splintering of the feminist core value. There are those women who think that feminism is being empowered by their right to hit a strip club, get a lap dance, drink whiskey, and smoke a cigar, while still being unfettered by the need for a man yet still receiving validation from said male. The other extreme of womankind hates the "nakedness" and titillation of society and is calling for a return to a more Victorian time.
Who is right and will we ever agree? That is the one billion dollar question.
Somewhere in the middle, most of us reside in a truce of sorts. While not a strip club patron, or a highly sexualized person, I still like to believe that my private life and sexual doings are my own choice, and a right I have, regardless of what other folks think. As a non-prude but a mostly modest woman, I spend a great deal of time battling my place in the feminist pecking order. It is through the realization that being true to myself if the only possible answer to my self doubt, I have achieved a sense of self and a kind of freedom that I can enjoy. Screw it if you don't like me. That is the bottom line.
Seeing the women online going through a change of sorts during this time has been a bit ironic. We have the ladies who have been blogging for a longtime staking their claim to supremacy while the younger, brasher model begs to differ. It is sad in many ways, but also shows that the many facets of feminism will never allow women to truly band together in a unified manner.
That isn't to say that men are exempt. God knows I have dealt with more types of men then I can shake a stick at. I work with "macho men" who are country bred and proud. They want to be the breadwinner and take care of their wife. They want to have a whiskey, cuss, and tell dirty stories before retiring to bed. Then there is the extreme I see at the gaming shop. Mostly minimum wage earners who would love to find a "sugar mama" so they can continue to fund their habit, these are the guys who wouldn't talk to me when I was single but can't seem to shut up now. Don't even get me started on all the types of guys I see at the gym.
Do these men agree with each other? Do they interact? It seems that they do, but then they do what we all do. They make fun of each other behind their backs. I have seen many a cowboy laugh at a guy on the street wearing a pink shirt after slapping his back and wishing him the best. Men are certainly not exempt from this whole mess, they just have their own set of problems, whether it is worrying about hair loss, the flabby belly, or how to make a living worthy of their father's era. That is a whole other subject, and one that I don't want to delve into here.
Where am I going with this? The conclusion I have come to is that we are all unique but are all grasping to find our place in this world. Whether it be as a feminist who goes to the extreme to show her comfort in a strip club or a gaming guy who professes to not care about having a girlfriend, we are simply trying to find our niche. That is why I am not surprised that we can't find a unity.
My attempt at putting a positive spin on things is this: find a cause you are passionate about it and support it until the end. Even if there are those who don't agree with you, stand your ground. God knows it is the hardest thing to do, and I freely proclaim that I have had a tough time with it as well. It is all about doing what you think is right. While we as women may not be able to agree on what is sexist, the best thing we can do is at least hear each other out.