Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Facebook, feminism, and a very long rant.

A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook (which is a rarity in and of itself - I almost never post anything onto Facebook) a link and comment about how upset I was over the situation with Elliott Rodgers and the shooting in California. I mentioned how women and men have the right to turn down someone they are not attracted to and that rejection crosses gender lines and sexuality. Everyone, at some point, has probably been rejected or turned down - I have been attracted to people who haven't felt that towards me, and I have declined dates with people I'm not interested in.

After I posted it, which I thought was just me exercising Facebook to bring awareness to something that really impacted me, I was not prepared for the amount of private messages sent to me by males on my friends list. (None of the people I received messages from are truly friends, just people I knew from college or along the way - my true male friends were very supportive). 

The messages were not positive - in them, I was called a "feminist bitch," or "one of the women who would turn someone down and make them feel like shit," or "probably an angry lesbian." I couldn't believe it - I could not believe that the point of what I posted was being so disoriented, or that people were lashing out at me for voicing my opinion on something that was really hurting me. Not once did I bash men, or say that all men hold these opinions - I said that it was very dangerous that there actually was support or understanding for the actions of Rodgers.

Even my own cousin lashed out at me, and spoke of how "little I know about rejection and how harmful that can be and what it can drive someone to do when women constantly try to get the upper hand by belittling men."

Here's the thing - that's not the point.

I don't care if Rodgers felt rejected - his views were that women are subservient, less then men, and OWED it to men to sleep with them, etc. because as inferior beings, it should be an honor that a man would actually pay us any mind. If a woman held those views about men and then went out with the intention of killing men who had rejected her, my feelings would be the same.

Why are some people so afraid of equality? Where does this fear come from that if a woman is confident, or wants to further her career, or looks a certain way, that she's a bitch, slut, tease, etc?

I've been equally aware of how there are people out there who feel like women should feel good about any attention they get, and then respond to or "show appreciation" for that attention.

Tonya and I went out together on Saturday night to a local bar that we frequent often. She and I sat at the bar, perfectly content in enjoying the company of one another. As we were finishing up and getting ready to leave, two guys waved us over and asked if we wanted to sit with them and talk about the World Cup. As an avid fan of the World Cup, I nodded, and we joined them - not for a drink, not for anything, simply to discuss the game.

As the conversation went on, and they asked if we wanted drinks, which we declined, they became increasingly obnoxious. One of them actually said to us, "So did it make your night better that we asked you to come over here? How did it make you feel to know that we wanted you here?" Uhm, it made me feel nothing. I legitimately wanted to just talk about the World Cup. That was when Tonya and I both started to feel uncomfortable and got up to leave, which was met with comments of, "Oh yeah right, two girls like you wouldn't come to a bar if you're not looking for attention from guys. Don't be such teases, you should be happy we called you over here."

Are you kidding me? I could not believe that was even happening, and that these drunk, MARRIED, assholes were there criticizing us when they didn't even know us. Newsflash, two girls can go out together because they are best friends and enjoy one another's company. Two men calling us over to join them is not a highlight of the evening - it didn't make me feel any better about myself and didn't boost my self esteem in any such way. I went to the bar to hang out with my girlfriend, not be harassed.

I felt sad that night. I felt sad for the wives of these men, I felt sad for Tonya and I, and I felt sad for any female who has been put in the same position, who has been made to feel as if she owes someone something, for absolutely no reason.

I've been so aware lately of the categorization of people (male and female, though for the sake of this post, I'm going to be speaking mostly about how females are classified). Even my male friends, who I absolutely adore, are notorious for labeling women who they don't know, or making (hopefully) unintentional misogynistic comments about women. Just because a woman is beautiful and knows it, doesn't make her a "stuck up bitch," or mean that she "must have a stick up her ass." It means that she's beautiful and confident in herself shouldn't we celebrate that instead of crucify her for that? 

As women, we're guilty of it as well. Envy and insecurity can cause us to trash each other - bitch, slut, trash, etc. have become such a part of our vocabularies when we're talking about other women, and that is also part of the problem, and something I am guilty of myself.

The other night, I was out with a mixed group - I was one of two girls, and there were three guys. From the second we sat at dinner, I was listening to stories of "the bitch who wouldn't give me her number at the gym - she was probably hooking up with half the people there, slut" or "that fat girl by the bar." Really? 

The worst part, was that the girl who I was with, who I had just met that night (friend of a kind of friend), was clearly into one of the guys out with us. At one point, he went inside to use the bathroom and when he came back out, he mentioned that a few girls inside had stopped him to talk about his Portugal t-shirt (we had just been to the Portugal/Ireland friendly match).

When the female that was part of our group heard this, she said, "Ew, really? Those ugly ass fat girls? Why would you talk to them?" Right there, we're knocking each other down. Why does it matter if they're fat? The only thing comments like that show is your own insecurities - and this girl was very pretty, so it was even more surprising. 

Lately, I've been trying to cut myself some slack - I may not be the prettiest or the skinniest, or the richest, or fittest - but I'm pretty great in my own way. I have a big heart, I love deeply and care about people in my life unconditionally, and I work on improving myself. We need to stop competing with one another and just focus on bettering ourselves so that we feel good inside.

Find a way to feel good about you - and stop labeling other women that you don't know. We all do it - I look enviously at women in hot yoga and think, "God, I wish my body could look like that," but you know what? My body is okay. It looks the way it does because of the effort that I put into it - so instead of hating on the person on the mat next to me, I'm going to work harder on myself so that I can feel more confident. Because confidence radiates.

We all need to work on being more accepting and less critical of one another - and that's something that crosses gender lines. We need to stop building ourselves up by tearing other people down. We need to stop feeling entitled - you are NEVER entitled to someone's body or attention if they don't want to give it to you. We need to stop labeling people - the fat girl, skinny guy, lesbian, whatever. Just stop.

Let's all try to love ourselves and each other a little bit more.

(I promise next post will be about Paris!).
Have you ever felt harassed or disrespected because of your gender? Do you see this as a growing problem where you live? (or are you thinking, "Shut the hell up, Allison) ;)



Nicole Linette said...

No, I actually wanted to throw my hands in the air yelling, "Thank god someone has said something!" Ally, I can't commend you enough for the courage it takes to say something Facebook. I've vented via Tumblr and Twitter, but FB is a whole other war zone. Not that even what you said was incendiary, but because I know platforms like that are prime territory for cowardly backlash. Thank you for speaking up.

I feel the same way you do. I am/try to be extremely conscious of the way I'm identifying people against myself, others--it's all based on difference. But usually difference is portrayed negatively, and that's hard to overcome.

I wish I could have conversations like these more openly in my life. Even with my most Feminist friends, I can't tread into body-image because that's ANOTHER zone of self-consciousness they've internalized. Not that I'm any better; but I really appreciate your thoughts and love.

I'm sorry for those terrible men at the bar ruined your evening, and resurfaced these unavoidable patriarchal expectations. Your intelligence and conscientiousness are an endless inspiration. And I can't wait to hear about France!!

xo, nicole.

Your Beauty Fix said...

I absolutely loved this post. I've been called REALLY cruel things for turning someone down and have never understood how some men think its me trying to belittle them. The picture of the man holding the sign that reads "women don't owe you shit" is PERFECT! Thanks for sharing <3

Kristen @ Your Beauty Fix

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

What a great post! It's written well and by no means are you saying anything offensive here - or on facebook - that would warrant anyone attacking you! I legit believe people use fb to pick fights and get out aggression that they can't in real-life situations.

You are such an amazing woman and people should strive to be like you! If there were more loving, supportive women out there, it'd be a better world!

Kizzy Von Doll said...

Sadly there are men everywhere that truly believe women want their attention, that they can't live without it. That it is the very reason we get up in the morning and get all dressed up for. They have been rasied or influenced by other things that have made them believe this shite. I often find it's ones that have always gotten their way or ones that have been picked on either by men or women who then turn and become angry inside and go around treating others this way or they were just born assholes really. I'm a feminist and it angers me that the women of the world are treated the way they are & some women themselves turn on other women to seem cool in front of men, just to get a date or whatever else. Not only do we need equality amongst men, we need it amongst ourselves. We, as women do not treat each other equally, e don't lift each other up - we compete and tear each other down and it's revolting. We need to teach children that no one owes anyone anything. If someone likes you, cool. But, they have every right not to like you and that's ok too because it doesn't mean someone won't like you. I was an ugly duckling growing up, so I know what constant rejection feels like, now I feel like I get the flipside, looking very uch different than how I did growing up. People think you are out there looking for compliments, even when your dressed in sweat pants, gym shoes and messy hair. And your a bitch if your not interested. The world is not equal. Some parents are forgetting to raise respectful children. And the world is giving out too many messages that it's ok to talk or treat women like this and that Men are indeed men when they behave like this. That influence has to change. It has to begin on both sides if it's going to become better. There has been too many rapes and other bad stuff going on lately and there has to be some end to this!! Super post doll, am rambling here, haha. It's just something I feel very strongly about!! I hope your week is going well!?! Xxx

Kathy @ Vodka and Soda said...

i don't use labels for anything - empowerment, feminism etc...what it comes down to is treating everyone - male/female/animals - with respect. that's it.

there are some legit assholes out there who feel the need to tear others down to make themselves feel better but i pay no mind to them; we have the power to let people affect us or not. if someone rejects you, it is up to you to shake it off and move on or let it eat you up. people forget that they always have a choice to move on or not.

great post.

Elle Sees said...

i'm just in shock and shaking my head over this!! i echo the sentiments of the commenters above me. i could write my own rant on this, but am so glad you wrote this! awesome post.

HiFashion said...

This is amazingly written and so true. It's ridiculous how casual sexism is such a common thing. And it's not fair that we should feel bad for turning down someone we're not interested in. I'm currently in a situation where a guy I'm not into keeps trying it on and he makes me feel so horrible to keep saying no.
It's also awful that girls bitch about other girls like that - it's just so petty and unnecessary!

You should see me after a few drinks - that's when the real feminism comes out in me. I could literally go on about this forever.

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

First of all, I cannot believe people would say something like that to you - honestly I am shocked. I hope you know they are just mean internet trolls and I hope you didn't let their stupid comments affect you. I'm glad you posted about this and I think that everyone in this world needs to learn a little bit more respect. Hopefully change will come.