Friday, May 16, 2008

Radical Feminist in Exile!

I am sure that many of you can commiserate. Being a feminist, especially an outspoken one, is akin to leprosy. With the dorms closed, I am forced to live with my mother and brother and face the fact that my mother thinks it is perfectly all right to call women bitches, whores, and cunts and lets my brother do so as he pleases.

How do you face the fact that your family hates a cause that is so dear to you? I punched my brother in the face today for calling me a bitch and a whore after I asked him not to. Par for the course for me, because asking him to not play the drums when I'm napping also gets a cunt accusation.

Being in my twenties and stupid, according to my mother, means that I do not get to question her parenting skills. Or lack thereof, when your younger son calls his sister a bitch and a cunt for daring to have a vagina and not doing what he wants you to. Her argument is that men hold the door open for her at work, so she gets to declare my brother a "nice sort of chap" with authorization to call his older sister a cunt whenever he finds it inconvenient to live in a house with people that do not to put up with his noise, bullshit, and foul odor.

I frown highly upon the Oppression Olympics, but I really doubt that a known civil rights activist is expected to keep his or her cool if his or her family members accuse him or her of being a nigger every time they get uppity. I really regret being open with the fact that I do Feminist Advocacy work with a family that feels it necessary to throw it back in my face every time they say something blatantly sexist. Ask me again, mother dear, what it feels like to know that your mother likes your "trustworthy" brother better because his genitals are outies.

Bitch is a slur. It is not the kind of slur "dick" is. Trying to convince my family of that, however, is like talking to a wall. A wall, of course, that you wish you did not love so they could not hurt you with their indifference. Bitch is a historical term that applies to women that act "unwomanly". She defies a man, is out spoken, and wears the pants in the family. She must be a bitch or a whore. "Dick" does not carry with it the same history of oppression. Equating bitch with dick is as absurd as equating nigger with yuppie.

It's called privelege. When you have it, you can't see it. You also cannot pretend that slurs leveled against you have the same sort of affect as someone who works tirelessly for the rights of a disenfranchised group. Someone who happens to be your sister that would never lift a finger against you otherwise.

And so this radical feminist in exile will nurse her bottle of cheap vodka on the couch of her friend's apartment, and try to figure out how to retrieve her toiletries from her mother's abode (yes, the same mother that called me a liar to my face when I tearfully confessed I was raped) without having to face her brother.

I really do not think I am strong enough to face anyone that shares my blood for a week or two without kicking some ass and taking some names. Alcohol and good friends dull the urge to bash faces in. Feminists take note!

Update: Mom called and we had the drunkest sappiest conversation known to human kind. It was sugary and deep and I just used all of my minutes. No word on reconciling with the brother yet. I guess I might have to wait a decade or two for him to get a clue. At least I know now that my mother has got my back, once I explaining myself sans anger and plus slightly slurred sugary declarations of mother-daughter love. I finally feel like she understands the feminism thing. This acceptance is an odd feeling. I need to buy cheap vodka more often.


Duncan said...

Hi Jennie! I just found this and decided that I should make you aware of it in some way. Just two notes:

1. Actually it's called privIlege (and you just know that I'd make that kind of correction).

2. "yes, the same mother that called me a liar to my face when I tearfully confessed I was raped"

...o.O I'm aware that I missed about a year of news from friends in Phoenix, but surely this cannot have passed me by...I'm fairly incredibly stunned.

Jen said...

Duncan! What the hell have you been up to? Yeah, you missed a lot. Along with my asshole ex. That's too bad, I missed him too. I wish I knew where he was now so I could introduce him to my fist, or a bat, or the pavement.