Monday, July 28, 2008

If patriarchy had a red button, I'd push the shit out of it

I admit that being conventionally attractive (although less so today than before, being that I stopped caring about what pant size I wear) and white severely benefits my social reception. It also helps that my French and South-eastern European background always give me a "knowledgeable" air by the nature of my sharp features and dark hair. Regardless, I absolutely notice the difference with how people treat me depending on what I wear. I used to be very self-conscious when I ran to the corner store in wrinkled shorts and sans makeup, but recently, I find myself forgetting to shave my legs for a week or more. I still do the "fat check" in the mirror, and I wish I could stop. I put on clothes, and then check to make sure, at various angles, that bits of untoned and flabby stomach, thighs, and back don't noticeably show. I hate this tendency in myself, but I have no idea how to stop it. Perhaps someone, someone blindingly stupid, might read this and think, "gee Jenn, lose some weight and you'll feel better about yourself!" And the fact of the matter is that no, I won't feel better about myself or lose weight, thanks ever so much. I feel better about myself when I am in shape and doing well in my social and school life. When I was the skinniest I ever have been in my life, a size two, and closely resembled Natalie Portman, I thought I was the ugliest and fattest girl in school. My negative body-thoughts now, at a size 12, are much less frequent. Still, they persist.

The fact is that I still wish I could change this in myself. Ha! I might as well submit myself to the illusion that I am a god, not a human, and that my perception of myself is not at all linked to society's judgement. Humans are inevitably social creatures. Every time I submit to patriarchal guidelines of dress my submission is rewarded with praise, attention, and sometimes, love. To think that anyone could erase that influence in their lifetime is beyond absurd. To even dream that my "fat check" ritual is a choice in the real sense of the word is shear idiocy. I know that this lack of choice and individuality bother the typical Western "master of my own destiny" philosophy, but we should all know by now what I think of the utter bullshit that taints mind of the average American.

I apologize for the digression, but it is relevant. I notice how people perceive me in public simply because a social organism, I am programmed by evolution to do so. For someone to come along and say "stick it up and stop caring what people think of you!" is just so utterly simplistic that I seriously question the validity of conventional wisdom. One day, I will write a critically acclaimed philosophical treatise on what utter nonsense conventional "wisdom" is, and how it serves the interests of those in power. Perhaps this is wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, when I venture out of the house bedecked in large trendy jewelry, clingy tops, matching shoes, and a tastefully made-up face, I definitely notice the difference between that and "normal mode": unshaven legs, no makeup, shorts, old faded tees, hair up, and sometimes, godforbid, glasses. My hygiene is always impeccable in either case. My hair, even when I don't do much to it, stays neat by the good care of my fantastic hair stylist and her shampoo recommendations. I never ever smell, even in the disgusting Arizona summers. But still, in "glamour mode" I find that men smile at me, clerks make small talk, my friends make more eye contact, women graciously let me cut in front of them if I have fewer items, kids grin at me, and my family talks more about my successes than failures. In "normal mode" I am completely invisible. I still can get stares by the nature of my disproportionately large breasts and lips, but it's in a "eww slutty homeless crack addict/hooker" way, not in a "where did you get that cute top?" way. Men ignore me. Clerks don't make small talk and get angry if I notice a mistake rather than apologize. Women look down on me and turn up their noses. Children stare at me, sometimes point out my hairy legs to their mothers. And my family, the worst of all, tells me how worried they are about how I don't have a boyfriend, how I seem depressed, and how I come off as cold and bitchy. All of this after I have taken painful introspective care to make sure that my mannerisms do not change at all regardless of how I am dressed.

And it is beyond stupid to ask myself to be angry because I am too shallow to let go of what others think about me. I simply cannot, and I submit that no other human on the face of this planet can either. We can bottle these feelings of inadequacy up as much as we want, but they will persist in things like depression, domestic disturbances, eating disorders, and various other widespread social ills. What makes me so incredibly angry is that I feel this way at all. I cannot defeat human nature. What humanity could do, and it chooses not to, is destroy these stupid gender expectations. Erase the taint of marketing. Ship everyone out who uses power to sell a product or idea on our inadequacies to some deserted island, and then wipe it off the face of the planet with those stockpiled missiles. I, personally, would push that little red button until it cracked in half under the strain of my fervor. Everything in me hates this violence humanity submits itself to, and then viciously defends regardless of social class, political alliances, or privileges. And the shear gall of those who would deny it! Humanity as we know it is terminally ill. The thought that my inclination to destroy those parts of our culture that I feel are responsible for most of our present ills would be reviled as insane rather than praised as enlightened is truly a testament to how far this madness has encroached on our mental territory.

To this day, I hate myself no matter how far or close to the patriarchal guidelines I find myself. The only thing that at all diminishes this relentless self-hatred is the knowledge that I never, not once, consented to this nonsense. I urge everyone else to stop thinking of themselves as the instruments of their own self-destruction and start recognizing how the system we inhabit is specifically designed to make us hate ourselves and destroy ourselves, and then fool each other into thinking that everything is alright, that the most oppressed is responsible for our suffering (racism anyone?), or that the individual who cries silently to themselves with the thought that they cannot overcome this madness is pathetic and weak.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those that are oppressed by the patriarchy, and those that think they are not.

But godammit, if you're going to try to push my hands away from that red button, at least understand my urge to claw your fucking face off.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You really need to work on being able to accept criticism.

Though, I've noticed that about a lot of so-called "radfems". You're so certain that everything you say, no matter what it is, is gospel truth, that you're deathly afraid of anyone actually countering your weak arguments.

Fact is, kiddo, humans like attractive humans. It has nothing to do with "patriarchy".

You'd be quite surprised, if you had your feminist ideal "matriarchy", that people wouldn't be all that different.

I know you think women are vastly superior in all ways to men, and that's your own failing, but thing is, women are the same as men.

Buggle said...

Oh dear, you got a troll. Ha. I like the way he "counters your weak arguments." Hee hee.

I do the fat check too, I hate it. But I can't stop!!

Anonymous said...
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Jen said...

If you're going to post on my personal space, have the decency to read my comment policy. I delete anything that is anti-feminist, anti-women, contains character attacks, and is generally offensive. If you don't like my words so much, you can have your own soap-box on your own blog. Have fun!

Your comment was not "criticism". For it to be that, it would have to be constructive and respectful of my personal space. The best way to show respect for my personal space here would be to read my comment policy clearly linked to above the little box you type your comments in. If you stare at a link for the five minutes it takes you to write a comment, and you don't click it, you obviously think that I am obligated to provide you with a stage for your asinine offensive rants and that you have no obligation to respectful discourse.

Now, to the actual body of your comment.

Don't philosophize about "so-called rad fems". I don't give a shit about anyone you've come across in the wide web. You've read my words and my thoughts. If you have to attribute opinions to me that I haven't personally expressed to make your point, and you don't have the decency to state your sources, I don't have to take you seriously.

Secondly, I delete your comments not only because they are disrespectful and in violation of my comment policy, but also because they are full of these "weak arguments" you seem to mistakenly see here. If your only point is that I might express a bad opinion that someone else stated, without saying who said it or what it was, and then you don't read my comment policy, then I am apt to assume you are full of shit. Unless you come back with something in a much different tone than what you've written before, I will continue to assume that you are full of shit.

Thirdly, don't fucking come to my personal space and use demeaning terms like "kiddo" to belittle me. If thinly-veiled statements of unearned superiority are the only real point you have, piss off and go express your meaningless distaste else where. I have no obligation to host your nonsense.

You will also find that your hatred of a potential matriarchy is mind-numbingly absurd. There has never been a matriarchy. Furthermore, every statistic I can find on violent crime in any country shows that, overwhelmingly, men are more likely to abuse, rape, kill, and beat than women.

Also, the idea that I want a matriarchy is laughable. You will not find any mention of a matriarchy here, except in jest, because I believe in true equality of the sexes. If you have to pull the whole "women oppressing men!" schtick out of your ass to make a point, there's many many other feminists that have countered your absurdities time and time again. I have no interest in restating the obvious or educating the willfully ignorant. In fact, I have no obligation to.

In conclusion: piss off, and come back if you have a point and you take five fucking seconds to read my actual words and my comment policy. Otherwise, have fun delivering your pedantic one-liners elsewhere, because I have no obligation to allow them here.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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D said...
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D said...
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Jen said...

Hey D, I didn't know you had a penis. Thanks for cluing me in. See, I deleted your comments, and will continue to do so, because you are a pedantic asshole.

Also, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for going out of your way to show how positive and nice and constructive men can be feminist spaces!

D said...
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