Monday, December 3, 2007

Introspective Blog-O-Drama

I learned two things about myself today:

1. I am rude.
2. I quickly go into defensive mode.

Ok so the first is not actually true. I am not really rude, just perceived as rude. This, like many other personality traits, work as a dichotomy for men and women. When men fervently express their opinions or stick up for their political beliefs, they are considered intellectual and passionate. However, when women express their opinions in the same manner, it is perceived as either a. rude or b. overly emotional. I tend to take on a lot of male personality traits, (not on purpose, it’s just who I am) and am constantly bombarded with messages of how to act more feminine. People think I am bitchy or standoffish based on my strength and candor whereas I would wager bets that if men acted in the same manner, they would never be perceived this way because it is normal and expected for men to be strong and blunt. On a less personal level, this is frustrating especially when examining critiques of Hillary Clinton. I will refrain from saying who I support in this election for now, but I will say that I am getting exceedingly annoyed by people saying that Clinton is too masculine and not sensitive enough when just a few months ago the problem was that a female president would be too emotional. I mean, Holy Shit, what if she decides to go to war because she is PMSing! Give me a fucking break. Same thing goes for the whole Obama isn’t “black enough” bull shit. People who spew this nonsense need to start focusing on the real issues.

Back to blog-o-drama, #2: quickly going into defensive mode. This statement is actually pretty accurate. I, like a lot of feminists I know, quickly go into defensive mode as soon as our point of view is threatened. I can’t speak for other feminists but with me this is all part of a great big “my whole family is conservative and loud” problem that I need to start working on. I grew up in a Republican, immigrant, family who literally lived the “from rags to riches story” (a-whole-nother blog in itself…) My first women’s studies lecture in college opened my eyes to a world of knowledge where for once in my life I felt like I politically belonged. (for those of you who don’t know me, embrace this emotional gal because it is a rare form to see me in...) Needless to say, coming home for my first visit post WS was an interesting slew of arguments and debates. Long story short, I have always needed to defend my views, thus myself. I have become so much a part of the things I stand for that first instinct is always to jump in with a defense. Not only because (if) I feel threatened but also because I see it as an opportunity for education. I know not everyone wants to be “taught” and most who already have their minds set up don’t even consider it a lesson, still, my instinct is to take the chance and show the other side, the brighter side, the more progressive side, the EQUAL side, etc. We have one life on this planet, why not make the best of it for ourselves AND for our brothers and sisters? Maybe I am taking this all too personally? Truth is, I don’t think that’s the case because


~JennaBella~ said...

hear hear!! It was like you took the words right out of my mouth! I am actually having a 'rude' issue at work right now and have been told 'just don't share your opinions' because I'm too assertive.
As for going into defensive mode- i'm still feeling around for that mark. Most people cannot comprehend the difference between a debate and an argument - i'll have to check in later to see if there are any good points commented : )

Smirking Cat said...

I don't feel defensive so much as disappointed to my core that these archaic, ridiculous stereotypes and sexist attitudes still exist. Especially if I'm talking with a friend or someone I expected more from, someone I thought "knew better". I will enter debate, just with a sinking feeling of "is everyone a damn idiot?" and feeling discouraged that the world will ever gain the enlightenment it needs to be a better place.

As for being perceived as "rude", ha ha...I have been told I scare people, for the simple fact that I am direct and honest. I've also heard the "too assertive" spew. My attitude has simply become, learn to deal with it, eh?

your semi- feminist cousin by marriage said...

People's opinions are the product by in large of their experiences so acting defensive is completely rational - you and your family are "defending" your own lived experiences, not just some abstract notions.

That said, I think what sometimes makes feminists an easy target is a tendancy by "feminists" (and any other group of people with strong opinions) to be so black and white on such complex issues.

Feminist Gal said...

Jenna, What a bummer that you were asked to just not share your opinions at work because you're too assertive. Do you think they would have said that same comment to a man who was being just as assertive as you?
Anyway, give me some names and i'll kick their butts for ya :)
<3 g

Gary said...

Oh come on, it wasn't that bad! All you had to do was walk the party line during family dinners, but noooo, you had to be the rebel. Typical leftie, pinko traits. And to think, your parents left Russia to give you a better life...
-big bro (and not in the spying sense)

Male Rights Network said...

"Same thing goes for the whole Obama isn’t “black enough” bull shit."

It's not bullshit. Obama is not at all representative of the average American black man. There's no point applauding the "arrival of the American black male" when in truth, he is more fucked-over and intentionally neglected than ever before.

Black men have suffered immensely from federal support for the Matriarchal family unit of a single-mother and no father. Just under 2 million black men are incarcereated, and black women hold degrees at a rate of 3 times that black men do.

Obama is not black enough. He has not suffered. He is not even qualified to play the race card. Amidst all the enthusiasm for him individually, the situation of black men collectively should not be forgotten. And what's more Obama will do nothing to highlight this because he has not experienced it himself.

Indeed his rhetorical support for using men as breeding stop and waling wallets (child support) means he will continue to support the anti-black man status quo.

Feminist Gal said...

MRN, wrote "Obama is not black enough. He has not suffered. He is not even qualified to play the race card."

I do not believe you have to have "suffered" in order to show support for a cause or to raise awareness for a group of individuals. Firstly, what you are saying is that he isn't black enough BECAUSE he hasn't suffered, not all black individuals come from the projects and to assert this is just ignorant. Also, what the hell is being "black enough"? Are you not "black enough" until you get shot? until you're incarcerated? until you're addicted to crack, come on MRN, that's just so unbelievably racist i don't know where to go with it. A race isn't owned by how much an individual has suffered for his/her people. Obama doesn’t have to be black to raise awareness for "black issues" but the fact that he IS may or may not help his cause.

Also, you wrote that, "He is not even qualified to play the race card." The thing that many people miss is that he isn't "playing the race card." He IS black, he can't stop that, it's who he isn't, not a character that he's playing. When people say he is "playing the black card" it is just like me saying you're playing the "male card" and that wouldn't make any sense because you ARE a male...

The stats you threw up on the site are important as well. If those stats are true, and i haven't done the research to support or deny your argument, that's even more reason to get a black president into office. Those issues NEED to be brought up because incarcerating our black male youth is such a problem in this country and the fact that black men and women are unequal is also problematic, regardless of the direction of inequality. Don't you see, feminism ISN'T about achieving more rights for WOMEN, it's about creating equality for ALL PEOPLE.

Dave said...

Wow, this "Male Rights Network" fellow is...interesting. I'm so glad that as a 19 year old Irish male you have the American Black Man Experience so succintly understood. So as I understand it, being black means having suffered? Or does a black male mean, according to your post, someone who is in jail, abandons his family, and/or unable to pursue a college degree? Did you get your information from television? The media? Episodes of Law and Order? From my perspective, your caustic opinions seem little based on reality and more like frothing at the mouth. Where did you get access to all this information you seem to know so much about? I'm guessing that you think feminists are out to destroy the world by keeping the man down. Maybe you think feminists are still burning bras in the privacy of their homes and neferiously plotting how to reset to credit agencies of America. I am a feminist because the ideal is in equality and a healthy balance of power amongst everyone. I would love to hear a cogent argument explaining why the status quo is better, but debate doesn't seem to be your strongest attribute. So, in closing, Mr. Male Rights Network, remember its always better to keep quiet and remain a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.