Even Feminists. Ha! Got you, didn’t I? Bet you thought this was going to be a post all teh menz! And about how isn’t-it-terrible-how-patriarchy-hurts-men-as well. Well it is and it does, but this isn’t about that. This instead is an article about how when we talk about women internalising patriarchy, this can, and often does, include Feminists. Or at least me.
Basically, we don’t have to be perfect all the time. There is no need to beat yourself up for feeling shit about your body after seeing some bullshit crap magazine about the perfect bikini body when you’re halfway through a McChicken Sandwich. It’s okay for you to cry in a changing room because your body type isn’t the regulatory shape and size demanded of high fashion. You’re allowed to feel intimidated when some utter twat thinks it’s hilarious to sexually harass you, rather than reeling off some splendidly witty speech, referencing the perceived size of his penis. It’s okay for you to buy a shit ton of make up even though you know that we are only conforming to society’s standards of beauty which we tear down on a regular basis. Society is already causing us enough grief, if you get down on yourself for every non-feminist thought you have your brain might explode.
It’s okay for these things to get to you, as long as we remember who the real enemy is. It is not our own bodies, it is not ourselves and it is not each other. It is the bullshit, patriarchal system that we live in. We are not immune to it. Look, I know we would all love to be bad ass patriarchy-smashers for every single moment of our living, breathing lives, who never let it get to us. I know I would. I’d love to get in the face of every arsewipe who thinks my time is theirs when I’m trying to get on with my day. I’d love to tell the fashion industry to go take a running jump when they make me feel like my body is the problem. I know I’d probably be a lot happier for it. I think we all would. But it is our experiences that bind us together. It connects us with other brilliant, amazing women who have experienced the same feelings of worthlessness. We can talk about it, get angry about it, do something about it. It allows us to get involved with smashing patriarchy, because patriarchy has made this shit personal.
If it didn’t hit us where it hurts now and again, if it didn’t affect us on a personal level, we would not be fighting so bloody hard.
Do you remember that moment, when you’re little, and whining to your parent about the umpteenth product on a TV advert that you want? And they say, “Sweetie, you know they’re just trying to make you want it so that we’ll have to buy it for you?” And then you realise exactly how they’re trying to manipulate you, and you hate it. And every time for the rest of your life when an advert may entice you, you might re-examine that thought. You get a little stronger. A little more resistant.
This is what patriarchy does. It tries to manipulate us into thinking we’re worthless in order to sell us shit we don’t need, or to go on crappy and unnecessary diets or to generally remind us that we should sit down and shut up. But as long as we force ourselves to keep examining and questioning it, it will lose a little more power. We’ll get a little stronger. A little more resistant. And eventually, together, we might even take the bugger out.
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Cross posted at feministdating.wordpress.com