Friday, October 31, 2014

The problem with being a feminist.

Have you ever been told that you have an "alpha" personality?

Yeah, me too.

Two words that are usually associated with an alpha personality are dominant and aggressive. Sometimes these can be considered good things, sometimes bad things.

In my case, I feel like 90% of the time it's not good when people refer to me as aggressive or dominant.

I tout my opinion as facts (this restaurant is better than another, instead of "I like this place better than that one."), I often dismiss opponents in opinion as irrelevant.

How does this have anything to do with being a feminist, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Feminism has a pretty bad rap. When you are woman who has strong opinions about equality between men and women, some people automatically assume that you're a man hating, "fem-nazi" who wants women to have better treatment than men, or who believe that ALL men are at fault for the inequality between the sexes.

Let me explain something to you.

I adore men. I date one. I was raised by one. (Of course, I don't adore men who are assholes, but I also don't adore women who are assholes.)

Men and women are different. There's no denying that. But just because that we are different doesn't mean that women shouldn't have the same chances as men.

That also means that men who fall outside the typical spectrum of masculinity because of their body types, the things they like, what they wear, etc, doesn't mean that they should be punished for that . I have a big problem with words that are associated with femininity/women (pussy, sissy, girly) are considered insults. 

Being a woman isn't something to use as an insult against someone. 

Feminism doesn't mean that women have more rights than men. It means that women have the SAME rights as men, and men do not lose the rights that they already have. 

(Feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.)

Anyone who thinks that there are things that men should be barred from simply because they are men, or blame men as a whole for the fact that women are not equals, is not really a feminist, as far as I'm concerned.

Men and women must be allies in equality. That's the only real way to get anything done and to make real changes in our society.

Men and women both need equality, I believe. Women need it so that we can have the same opportunities as our male counterparts, to be paid the same for the same work. Men need it so that it isn't considered taboo or wrong or unmanly to express emotion, to wear makeup if they want to, to be into fashion if they want to be.

We all must stand for each other. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sometimes being "one of the guys" is terrible.

I admit it.

I was one of "those" women. The type who always has a bunch of male friends and doesn't see anything wrong with that. The type who says that she has problems "getting along with" or understanding other women. Let me tell you something about women like me.

It's not you. It's us.

Sorry, sisters who hang out with the guys and always say it's because there is no drama. I'm blowing up your spot.

The reality is, (at least for me) the harsh terrain of high school social hierarchy left a really foul taste in my mouth and I never wanted to deal with it again.

Little did I realize that I dug my own hole for the longest time. That "I don't give a fuck" image that I was presenting to the world was a problem. It made me standoffish. (Ever heard that line: "when I first met you I thought you were a huge bitch". Yeah. Can't always blame it on the RBF.)

People thought I was a bitch because I WAS one. Or I didn't bother correcting them at all.

I had friends. Sure they were dudes and would never really get what being a girl/woman was all about, but hey, I had friends.

What I didn't understand then, that I truly understand now, is that I was at fault for perpetuating stereotypes against my own sex. "Bitches be crazy" or some nonsense that guys would say, I would agree with, because I thought I was just being one of the guys.

News flash younger me: you aren't one of the guys, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Sure. I have trained in Muay Thai for the last 8 years or so (off and on). I like video games. I like cars. I like a lot of "guy" things. I'm not really into makeup. I shop when I need stuff, not for fun. I paint my nails occasionally but it's not that big of a deal. I'm not huge into stereotypical "girl" things.

That isn't a valid excuse to say that I can't relate to other women. It's a cop out. It's laziness.

I used to make the same excuse. I didn't value my fellow women for who they were. I reduced them to their femininity. I turned them into flat characters instead of the brilliant, strong, multifaceted, complex human beings that they are. I was not a voice for women, or men who fall outside the typical male stereotype. I was a straight up asshole.

I'm not saying that you can't have guy friends. I still have many of the same guy friends that I had back then. We hang out. We also talk about their relationships, their careers, and their lives.

For a long time, I was giving my male friends better treatment than those women who I could have been friends with. I was treating my male friends like complex human beings, but was not extending that same courtesy to the women around me.

That's not okay.

I'm 26 now. I've learned much and have much to learn. I have female friends. I ask them about their lives, their jobs, their boyfriends/husbands/girlfriends/wives, their living situations, their troubles. The women around me have morphed from flat, 2-D characters, to complex emotional and wonderful human beings.

I'm sure that in my young and stupid days, I ruined some good chances of having a few good female friends. (All the regrets.)

But I think that without that time, and without the learning curve, I wouldn't appreciate my female friends like I do now.

Being one of the guys doesn't mean that you can't have female friends. It also doesn't mean that you can't be feminine.

Being a woman doesn't mean that you can't be tough. It doesn't mean that you can't be strong. It doesn't mean that you can't do the "manly" things, like drink beer and watch football.

Being a human means liking what you like, doing what you do, and finding people along the way that appreciate you for who you are.

Let's get this party started!

I'm Amanda. I'm 26.

That's me.

I'll be straight with you right off the bat. There will be opinions here. Lots of opinions and crap I will tout as advice. You don't always have to follow it.

I'm also foul-mouthed, emotional, and expressive, so I have no problem shooting off at the mouth and letting the chips fall where they may from time to time.

I'm also honest, somewhat amusing, and open to debate, talk, and sharing thoughts.

Welcome! We're all in for a wild ride.