Ok, so not all men are not pigs, after all. This article couldn’t come at a worse time, given the political atmosphere, but if were to put the Election 2016 completely aside…I had thought up until today that the way hetero men talk about women was just sexist, despicable and plain misogynist, for lack of a better word. But, that is the point. We lack a better word or concept. Misogyny has gotten the same emotional impact as…well, anti-whatever-ism. Point is that it has, unfortunately, become a powerful rhetorical trope: big man vs. little man. Rhetoric that the anti-whatever people deride because we women have turned it into a rallying call. Natural laws ensue. War starts.
My point? I discovered my “warrior” amazon side was not very strong after all. That men admire women the way they will. We can be whatever version of female that comes naturally to us once we set ourselves free of pretensions. I am also allowed to admire men the way I do. I also allow myself to admire myself.
I discovered the B-average I keep scoring on “life exams” is OK. I don’t have to be ashamed of any trace of or whatever full-on femininity I possess. And that, no, I don’t have to act masculine in order to gain respect and therefore be happy. There can be no happiness when you’re not whom you naturally are, whatever that means for you. You can’t be happy if you don’t like yourself as you are.
What does that translate into for me? I have to get to know myself better, admit that I have tendencies towards femininity. That is a huge one for me. I’ve never been lesbian, but I’ve been fighting this feminist war for far too long. I’ve made myself almost chronically unhappy. You don’t have to fight someone to be happy with yourself, but, you do have to be honest and in tune with yourself. You don’t need to fight others to be happy with your identity. And in the event that someone encroaches your boundaries, it is worthy to declare those boundaries and cut others off if they don’t stop. But, that should reflect more on them and not so much on you.
Why pretend to be what you’re not? Peer pressure and shaming are among a few. When I was in my junior year at high school, it was the era of “The Superwoman”, complete with the power suit and power hair, ready to take on anything her career and family threw at her. Anything stereotypically feminine was seen as deviant. So, being ashamed of my looks and my predilection for the colour pink, I tried hard to be strong. Yet, however strong my pretensions portrayed me to be then, it was nothing to what came later.
Thirty years later, I just burnt out. I had to admit I like men. I had to admit too that I like myself when I am free to like stuff that seem inanely feminine to some, as if femininity were a disease or curse word. There’s no escaping who you are. Learn to like yourself before you lose your youth to a futile struggle – against yourself. ~V
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