I remember, last year sometime, reading an article about "bad blacks" and being one. The author explained that, often, black people are perfectly liked by white people, providing, when they open their mouths, a white person's voice comes out.
They vote DA, they're anti Affirmative Action, and they are 'over' the apartheid. They're "good blacks".
But the moment a black person says something a white person disagrees with, something that suggests white people can be and are, in many ways, still guilty of racism today, and that that's a problem, they are "bad blacks" and written off as stupid, angry, aggressive and ignorant, no matter how calm and rational and thoughtful they are when they present their opinions.
It made me really open my eyes to the thoughtless racism I was guilty of, because so often I "approved" of a black person if they voted DA or was against AA or were, basically, a "good black".
I wasn't interested in hearing a black person's opinion. I was interested in hearing a black person parrot my opinion.
On a small scale, I think women sometimes have the same problem.
Being a "good girl"
I've avoided making this comparison out loud for a long time, because I don't want to become one of those people who aligns my cause to something far worse that I have never experienced due to being privileged.
I am not saying I suffer the level of prejudice that people of colour have had to face both today and throughout history. Of course I don't. I just think that, on a small scale, you do also get your "good girls" and your "bad girls".
I spent a lot of my life being a "good girl". Before my family members spit out their drinks, no, I don't mean I was good in the generic, sweet and nice, never rebelled, always did my work, focused on studies and cleaning my room, etc sort of way.
I mean I was the sort of girl that guys approved of, because I would open my mouth and a guy's voice would come out. Some of my quotes:
"I'm no feminazi."
"This is why people hate feminists."
"I get why men don't understand women. I'm a woman, and I don't understand women.
"Most of my friends are guys, I get on better with them. Women are bitchy and full of shit. Men are easygoing."
"I don't find that sexist, and I'm a girl."
And you know what? I never, ever experienced sexism. Men were always nice to me.* Oh, they made sexist jokes, but it was a given that those jokes weren't aimed at me, because I was, well I was an honorary guy.
It's hard to explain how my views changed, but over time, they did. I suppose I have people who challenged my presuppositions to thank for that. Sometimes I would make a statement, and a person would disagree, and I would be completely unable to back it up, and I would have to, horror of horrors, think about my subtle, thoughtless prejudices.
All I can tell you is, one day, I realized just how fucked up it is that I hated my own gender, and that I, in a way, considered myself to be almost male.
Girls were full of shit. Not me. I wasn't really a girl.I was an honorary guy. The loss of my gender and assuming of the male gender was an honour. How fucked up is that?
Seeing things differently
Since then, I started saying different things. Things like, "I find that a bit unnecessarily sexist" and "I am a feminist", and my god, have I discovered all the sexism that "those feminazis" complained about. When you don't parrot the point of view people want to hear, they're less nice to you.
Which is a bit understandable, since few people really like a person who completely disagrees with them. People don't always like what I say, and they will often argue with me about it, and I'm OK with that.
Not all people. Not all men either. When the discussion is sexism, I rarely find myself on a side of women fighting against a side of men. Personal gender seems to have very little to do with whether or not you're anti-feminist.
And a great deal of women are guilty of sexism, not just towards men, but towards women. Often they're women similar to past me.
They don't identify with the generic stereotypical females the media pushes, (Why would they? They're shit stereotypes) and so they don't identify with women. They don't like women.
They're "mostly friends with guys". Because "women are full of shit." Except them of course. They're the exception, the one exception.
I mean, come on. Must you? This is not helping our reputation for being illogical.
And you know what?
I'm not a feminazi, but I have been called one for getting upset at a guy saying a woman in a short skirt can't be upset when "a brother has a feel", and for getting upset when my friends are thoughtlessly and unnecessarily sexist.
I understand why people hate feminists. It's because, like all groups, feminists have a lunatic fringe, but, unlike with all groups, it's 100% socially acceptable to judge and dismiss all of feminism on the basis of it's worst representatives.
I do think women are hard to understand. I think people are hard to understand, because I think people are not naturally logical, rational animals. Only a human being would watch Honey Boo Boo.
Only a human being would get upset with another human being for having different taste in music. Only a human being would think having tattoos or piercings means you're absolutely incapable of being a decent person.
Only a human being would want to stop other human beings from getting married because sky fairy. Only a human being would actually believe half of the gender stereotypes because genitals. People. Are. Incomprehensible.
Most of my friends were guys. Until I conscientiously looked at that statement, "most of my friends are guys, women are bitchy and full of shit", and challenged it. Now I have a great many female friends.
Yes, there are bitchy females, but not so many that the decent girls are impossible to find. Before, I didn't have many female friends because I was prejudice against females - I expected them to be bitchy. The moment I took my preconceived prejudice out of the picture, I made some truly awesome friends.
Sometimes, I don't find something sexist, and I'm a girl. But my gender does not mean I am an authority on sexism. Sexism, like any 'ism', is a deeply complicated issue, and genitals don't come with pre-loaded data.
I still don't fully understand sexism. I am still unthinkingly sexist myself. It's hard to shake the prejudices you grew up with.
Even identifying as a feminist doesn't make me an authority on sexism. Sometimes, I don't find something sexist, but it still is. Even girls can be too stupid or thoughtless or ignorant to recognize or understand sexism.
So to the women who Don't Find That Sexist: before you hurry to tell the world that, consider giving the complaints a genuine, open-minded, proper listen.
If you're still certain it's not sexist, give your intellectual, rational reasons why. "I am a girl and" is not a good basis for an argument.
To the girls who are only friends with guys, consider making friends with some girls.
To the girls who aren't feminists, consider looking up the word and the benefits you enjoy as the result of feminism.
You might be surprised, because I was one of you, and I was.
And if that's too much to ask, could you at least stop actively promoting sexism? When a woman defends rape jokes, or dismisses feminists as feminazis, or claims women are irrational bitches, or calls another woman a slut, or tries to silence anyone who's talking about sexism, she simply makes it ok for guys to do it.
You're helping to kick your own gender in the face, which is, well, so stupid it's no wonder some guys think we're idiots.
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