So, I’ve been MIA. Welcome to college. You wanted to do something other than go to class, go to work, and do your homework? Well, bub, you chose the wrong thing to do after high school, didn’t you?
Update on my life, I had to, for a couple of reasons, drop my German minor. That isn’t to say that German is no longer part of my life, I just am not getting academic credit for it anymore. C’est la vie. Uhh, I dunno how much of my personal life I shared before, but since I’ve last posted I have broken up with my then-boyfriend and now have a new one. This one’s long-distance. It sucks. Don’t do it. Kidding, he’s totally worth it, I just miss him constantly. And now we’ve gotten mushy. Uhh, I sorta inadvertently came out as an atheist to my family, so that’s a thing. Kinda awkward. And I think I’m gonna try to write a novel, which should be interesting.
Anyway, for this post, I have a rant. What else is new?
Below lies proof that it is possible to be a devout feminist and also defy so many of the stereotypes of feminism that people wonder whether you’re actually a serious feminist.
DISCLAIMER: Below also lies some unpopular opinions which very well may offend some people. Know that my intention is not to offend, but rather to present my point of view. I may come across as abrasive and rude while writing about other points of view, which is not really my intention, and know that I do respect others’ rights to feel differently than I do, but that doesn’t mean that I will shy away from expressing my thoughts on those views. Nothing is stopping you from expressing your thoughts on my views as well. Equality and whatnot.
Hi. I’m a serious, legitimate, strong feminist. I think a lot of our social norms are really stupid. I think it’s dumb that I’ve literally heard a man say that he feels emasculated when a woman holds the door for him (oh, get over yourself). If you look back in my blog a bit, I talk about rape and how it’s a huge societal issue. And I think many, if not most, rape jokes and such things are in poor taste. I want equal pay for men and women for equal work. I want equality of the sexes, genders, races, etc. I am feminist, hear me roar.
The stereotype that feminists can’t take a joke is a bit ridiculous. I’m a student manager at one of the dining services locations on my university’s campus. I make “woman in the kitchen” jokes about myself all the damn time. That is an industrial kitchen where we prepare massive amounts of food at once, and things get heavy. No, I don’t want one of my male coworkers to assume that I can’t handle carrying things on my own, but I am not opposed to asking for help and joking about being of the “weaker sex”. Yeah, sure, I’m speaking from a privileged platform on the racial side of things, but I say this with the approval of many of my more ethnically underprivileged friends, racial jokes can be funny.
My stance, and the stance of many others with whom I’ve spoken, is this: as long as I know you’re joking, as long as I know there’s not a hint of belief behind the joke that you’re telling me, I’ll probably find it funny. I used to joke that I was a failure as a woman, because I didn’t know how to cook, clean, sew, raise children, I don’t wear skirts and dresses much, I don’t wear makeup all that often… I’m not opposed to laughing at myself. I’m not opposed to laughing at society through jokes about me. I joked with my current boyfriend, because he was not my first, that he didn’t get to “deflower” me, and that society had already labeled me as a slut.
When I was younger and just getting into the feminist movement, my way of thinking very closely mirrored the way of thinking of feminists who have the idea that no jokes about potentially offensive topics should be told ever under any circumstances. Pretty much everything that could be construed as offensive would offend me. Since I’ve sort of grown up, I’ve been able to distinguish the subtleties of offensive jokes between what is okay and what crosses the line. Of course the line is different for everyone and it differs according to the situation as well, but there are basic guidelines. With rape jokes, it’s always best to joke about the rapist rather than the victim. With sexist jokes, the line is a bit more vague, but for me it’s all about who’s telling the joke. If I don’t know you at all and/or I can’t read whether you’re kidding or not, don’t tell it. When I’m in a bad mood, air on the side of caution and don’t say it. There’s also always the option, which I even use a lot, of saying something like “I’m trying so hard not to make the obvious offensive joke here,” and waiting for the other person to give you the go-ahead to tell it. The deal here is that, like all comedians, you have to know your audience. Personally, I think censorship is stupid, especially when laughter and happiness can be had. Also, satire has been known throughout history to help bring about change. Take Jonathan Swift, for example. Gulliver’s Travels, a novel about the way that Irish society, specifically economics, was run. Believe me, that’s not the only thing that brought about reform, but it certainly helped bring awareness to the issue.
The other problem with feminists and other activist groups getting upset by words is that it makes the entire movement seem weak. It makes us look like we’re just out to yell at people for every single word they say. It makes us look like we have soft skin and can’t focus on actual issues. If you can’t handle yourself around an offensive joke, grow some thicker skin. I’m being blunt here, but seriously. If every time someone makes a joke, you have to stop in your tracks and chew them out for saying such a thing, you need to re-evaluate yourself. Get mad about the fact that there are women for whom it is illegal for them to get an education. Get mad about the fact that there are women who are forced into Female Genital Mutilation. Get mad about the fact that there are women who aren’t even recognized as such because they have male genitalia. Get mad about the fact that there are men, who knows how many, who haven’t reported their rape because of the shame. Get mad about the fact that male rape victims aren’t taken seriously. Get mad about abuse. Don’t get mad about a silly joke. You don’t have to find it funny. You don’t have to laugh. But please. Even if you were able to stop people from saying things like that, it’s still a societal attitude. Why? Because women and men are still treated differently in society. When we get women and men to be treated equally, I’m guessing that sexist jokes will decrease in frequency. When we actually get the races to be treated equally, I’m sure racist jokes will decrease in frequency. Or, at the very least, the jokes will honestly be just taken as jokes. Humor is a valid way of dealing with things. Please don’t invalidate it with your social justice warrioring.