To some men, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how strong you are, or what you’ve done, you’ll never be good enough, because you’ll always be a woman. They’ll always view you condescendingly, and objectify you physically, and think your opinion doesn’t really matter. And should you ever decide that you don’t like this treatment, and don’t think you deserve it, and decide not to take it anymore, then they’ll tell you what a bitch you are. How ugly. How fat. They’ll call you a whore. This is because you not being weak is an affront to their sense of superiority, and they can’t accept it, so they will do everything in their power to tear you down.
I’m a 29-year-old intelligent adult female human being. I have a job. I have a bank account. I pay my own bills. I paid for every shoe and every article of clothing in my closet, but I only bought any of those things after the bills were paid. I’ve never been pregnant, so I don’t have any children. I consider myself pretty responsible. There is no reason for any man to ever condescend to me like I’m some kind of child. He might be able to bench press more than I can, but in any other way that counts, there is not a man alive who is better than I am.
I love my boyfriend. He’s a good man. He’s a good person, in general. Saint-like, nearly. He would probably be easy to take advantage of, but I don’t. He makes twice as much money as I do, and we still split all of our joint bills fifty/fifty. He works hard for his money. Lots of overtime. I want him to be able to spend it on whatever he wants, not feel like he’s beholden to pay a larger share of anything because he has more money than I do. It’s not his fault, and I know for a fact that if he could choose between having more money and working less overtime, he’d rather be at home with me, a little less full in the pocket.
All of this is to illustrate a simple fact. I’m not a feminist because I hate men. I don’t. I’ve loved more than one man in my life, and the men I did grow to hate, it wasn’t because I thought they did what they did because they were men. They did what they did because they were bad people. So why is it okay to act like all feminists are man-haters with extreme cases of PTSD, when most feminists are well-adjusted women who just don’t like the way some men treat them, the way a patriarchal society treats them? And if it’s okay to characterize feminists that way, then why not, conversely, MRAs? Are they all just men who went through really bad breakups and can’t get over it?
Yesterday, my boyfriend and I got into an argument, in which he mumbled something about how you can’t do anything to please a women, because a woman is never pleased. To which I replied, this is a thing that men say to let themselves off the hook. If you can’t please a woman no matter how hard you try, then you don’t have to try, so you never have to do anything. And if everything you’re doing is wrong, because you can never do anything right, then it doesn’t matter what you do, there is no right or wrong, therefore, no moral consequences for anything. So, far from being the sad sob story of men wronged by women everywhere, the “you can’t please a woman” bullshit is just that. Bullshit. An excuse masquerading as a complaint. “If I am always at fault for everything, then I am never actually at fault for anything, because if any action always generates a generic outcome, what difference does the actual action make?”
I can be pleased. There are lots of things that please me. Very few of them are monetary or require that much effort. I can be displeased. The things that displease me, I generally try to explain, so as not to seem like I’m just arbitrarily upset. A problem that a couple refuses to discuss is a problem that will recur again and again. I have no illusions that I am the easiest person to live with, and when Rasool is justifiably angry with me, I try to give him his space and let him be angry. We’ve been together for almost eleven years. We have strong personalities. We’re going to disagree about things. It’s natural. I just don’t want to be made to feel like the reason why we’re fighting is because I’m an irrational woman and he’s a put upon man. As much as your gender informs your identity and how you feel about yourself, framing interpersonal arguments as battles between the sexes is counterproductive and a completely lame way to circumvent having to judge your own behavior and decide if you were wrong and maybe you need to change something. Again, adopting the attitude that a certain chromosome makes a person incapable of acting any differently is just another way to dodge responsibility.
I just want to be evaluated as an individual. Not as a woman, but as an individual. I’m smart, I’m creative, I work hard, I try to do the right thing and be helpful to other people if they need it. Judge me on that. Not the size of my chest or how well I conform to whatever role society has told you I should want to fill.