Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Identity crisis

I made a post that never got published about how I find femininity isolating b/c I never quite feel like I'm being a girl correctly. All around me, especially in this building, are these stylish, good-smelling, athletic-enough girls who care about their makeup and hair. I feel clunky, awkward, and smelly around them, and even though I have plenty of friends who don't give two shits about the fact that "shitty braid" is my new hairstyle, I still somehow feel... wrong. Like I'm not supposed to be clunky and awkward, I'm supposed to be stylish and graceful.

This, coupled with the fact that I don't think I'm over yet how writing seems to be lost to me because I have no interest in taking it up but I WANT to have the interest to take it up, and now there's feminism too. Vince gave logical advice when she said "you don't have to align with a movement, just be you" which is great except defining myself on my own terms is way harder and feminism kind of feels like one of the last few brushes I had to use to paint myself an identity.

I mean, there's still partner dancing, which is something that isn't terribly exciting for me. I mean, it's interesting enough, but anytime I try to dance with anybody but Ptarckas I get met with a sloppy frame (read: limp arms), sloppy steps, and poor timing. Obviously this isn't all the time, but it's way too common. I think of dance kind of like a video game: in order to get more skill points, I have to dance with someone at my level or above it. I think Ptarckas is at my level; since he's had karate training he knows about replicating movements and keeping them sharp, and since I took dance, I'm well aware that you have to focus on about 40,000 things while dancing because it's a performance. It's an art, and yes, it is a fucking sport, and if you don't agree I am going to go challenge you to take a ballet class. People who think ballet isn't a sport are crazy.

I mean, I'm a science student, so there's that, but I just feel like I barely do any activities outside of school and I don't go out and party and I'm not good at being a girl and so like what the hell am I supposed to do?

I'm really good at being offended and having opinions, which is probably a result of feminism, not gonna lie. Of course I can't seem to turn that off, so my whole family gets to bear the brunt of it at every family holiday.

Oh, and EPASS doesn't count. That project isn't even in my field, I feel like I can't contribute anything, and I desperately don't want to do it anymore but feel like I have no excuse to back out. Which is probably worse, since they deserve to have someone in the group who actually cares and will put in the effort, unlike me. But no, according to my parents, "we donated a lot of money to that fundraiser so you have to stay in it." Like great, but nobody asked you to do that much, and it'll still be helpful even if I leave the group?

Anyway. Maybe I'll try doing another thing next semester. Already looking at ballet classes, since they don't offer anything beyond basic jazz and I think I need to be challenged more than that.

yer pal,

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Men and Feminism

Get ready for another boring post, y'all

SO. I want men to have a piece of the gender equality pie, too. BUT. I have an issue with the way Men+Feminism gets brought up.

First off, I would like to state that making a statement- a tweet, an essay, a big ugly tumblr post- that talks about the issues faced by women and girls does not immediately imply that the poster does not care about the way gender norms and expectations affect men. I don't understand why this is, but I can't care about women in STEM fields anymore without being a horrible bigot because "what about men?" well, I don't know. Issues like women in STEM are personal to me, being a woman in STEM myself (who, thankfully, has faced almost none of those problems- so that clearly indicates progress!), so I'm more likely to care about them in a vocal way.

The issue is that this doesn't imply I don't care about men being underrepresented in other fields, like nursing or education (unless I'm backwards on those; I'm working with stereotypes here. Pls let me know if I'm wrong), but it does imply that I care about women being underrepresented in STEM fields (Altho- if I'm not wrong, it's mostly chemistry, math/stats, computer science, and physics that are missing a lot of women, while fields like psych, bio, and medical sciences are more equal at this point).

The same thing goes for caring about something like sexual assault against women or catcalls. Those are problems that women face every day, most often at the hands of men. Does this mean I think all men are evil? If you think that's what I imply by caring about those things, you've colossally missed the point.

Overall, the issue seems to be that unless your statement includes all the people in the world ever, you're apparently discriminating against someone. Heaven forbid that I should make a statement exclusively about the issues of women and girls. Heaven forbid I don't include men for 5 seconds. Really? It's ridiculous.

The same goes for those young feminists who try to use feminism as a way to give them a victim complex so that they don't have to be responsible for anything: people can talk about the issues men face re: gender equality without mentioning women. However, I've found that the opposite problem is true more often, but guess what? I'm stating this here both because it's true AND because if I fail to mention it, I'm a horrible misandrist feminazi!!

I'm not sorry for the exaggeration. I'm really getting tired of this shit.

I have also been told that western feminism focusing on western problems instead of the problems faced by women elsewhere in the world is super lame, like "oh we don't have real problems, they have real problems." For that, I offer the following:
1) I agree that the work of non-western feminist activists should be talked about, and their voices amplified. That's important work, and they deserve to be heard.
2) I am not an expert on the problems women face in other parts of the world. I don't want to pretend that I am by offering solutions or advice to people from other parts of the world.
3) It is not my place to go and "save the poor oppressed women" in other parts of the world. That makes me a white savior, and trust me, that is not a good thing. My job is to listen to the women and men there that are helping to improve the lives of women, to offer help when I am asked and when I can help, and to share their stories and activist work.
4) No matter how much I learn about what the life of women in other countries is like, I will never be an expert. It is not my place to have an opinion on how to solve problems women face elsewhere. Like I said, it is my job to support women there who are doing that work, and to pay attention to it. I do agree that in the western world, we often get blinded by what's going on here so we don't see what's happening elsewhere. I agree that that needs to change.
5) This isn't to say that all women not in North America are suffering, either. The statement of "We must make everywhere else like the western world, where women have it soooo good!" is again, indicative of the whole white savior thing.

This is why I focus on the problems faced by western women. Yes, those still exist- and not just common "people" problems, but problems based on gender.

"But don't you care that men face problems too??!??!"

Did you even read the post??? Of course I fucking do. I have lots of men in my life whom I love deeply, and I want them to get a piece of the gender equality pie, same as me.

Overall: I think the "YOU FORGOT ABOUT MEN" is a way to shut down important discussions of the problems of women and girls by accusing them of not including everyone ever in the world. Wow, sorry my statement wasn't universal enough for you.

It's like caring about one endangered species. It doesn't automatically mean that I think other endangered species aren't important, and I don't have to talk about every single endangered species in the world every single time I say something.

yer pal,

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Do you ever just have one of those problems

where you make an idiotic blog post about it and then delete it later when you realize how silly it is?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

There's this kind of girl at school

I don't know why I'm throwing people into groups here, but I am.

But there's these girls at school, and I've noticed they all dress... the same. Like not exactly the same, but they all have the same style of coat and the same style of leggings and the same pattern on their knit sweaters... the same overloaded backpack, and the same lululemon shopping bag repurposed as a lunch bag.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being this way, I've just noticed that a lot of girls tend to do this. And their hair is always fashionably messy, and their makeup is always done but they never use a lot, and they're always really smiley and just... everywhere. Why. Why are there so many.

And they're always in sciences, too. I see them in my science classes, I see them in my building complaining about the difficulty of the ochem course that I'm also taking. (To be fair, ochem is actually really hard). They're just so.. perfect. Put together. Like their life is busy, but they still find time to look artfully busy.

Those are actually the girls that scare me, because if they have the same course load as me and they still have time to put themselves together and do SOME kind of physical activity (I've noticed that people who have those lululemon bags tend to shop there (der), and thus tend to be physically active in some way), then they're the ones I have to be worried about. They're ambitious, their parents are probably also helping them out a little, and when they study, they go hard. They're the ones I'll be competing against someday, and for them, "taking it easy for like 5 minutes" doesn't seem to be an option.

In my mind, these are the girls who get really really good grades on all of their midterms and make it look like it's easy to study as much as they do. They show up on test day or on the day of the final still looking artfully messy and stressed. Oh, and they always smell really good, or at the very least, they never smell bad. And they all have the same kinds of lunches- water and lots of fruit or a salad packed into a tiny little container. and then like, some health granola bar. And they eat it all neatly with their perfectly painted fingernails and I'm over here scraping spaghetti out of a kid's thermos (not that i stole one, just that the one my mom bought me was designed for kids) with a metal fork, trying not to cringe at the noise with my stress-acne and my slightly-too-small pink ski jacket.

I'm just so confused. How do they do it? How do they all have the same messy topknot and the same black backpack with all the zippers and the same green jacket that everyone has and the same fucking lululemon shopping bag repurposed as a lunch bag???? Is this a thing? Is it popular to dress this way and have your eyeliner always looking fucking awesome even though you're not wearing a lot of it? Just... how? HOW?? HOW??

And their writing. they all use colourful pens and have the same big round letters, and they take SCADS of notes, way more than i do with my one black pen and crappy 5% cursive. and their stuff is always neatly organized in those half-binder-half-notebook things from 5 star. one per subject. and there's no mess anywhere. I just shove things in a clipboard.

I just... I don't know if this is a common thing, or if I'm just seeing the same 10 girls around campus all the time b/c they have a lot of the same classes as me, and then i'm also seeing them in my building again later.

I'm probably just making this all up in my head, but I mean, what else would you expect from someone described as "the girl scraping spaghetti out of a children's thermos with a metal fork in her slightly-too-small pink ski jacket"?

yer pal,