At a party recently, I was talking to one of my real-life friends who is/claims to be an avid reader of can be bitter. A few beers down at this stage, he commented to me that it’s more like usually bitter, can be normal sometimes and that my writing is unnecessarily ‘reactionary’. My response was, as one would expect, a perfectly witty, almost Churchillian, retort which both acknowledged and deflected his concern.
Oh wait, no. It was ‘Uh, I guess’, followed by a long sip of gin (Churchillian in its own way).
My friend then went on to explain that he thought I should be more proactive. Something about standing in a field and being articulate (have I mentioned that we’d been drinking?).
So (because I value the opinion of my friends and readers), in my typically reactionary way, I thought I would take a break from looking back on things that I read/see/otherwise encounter, and look forward to what would possibly change can be bitter to never bitter, because life is a feminist utopia.
Let’s skip over the obvious, heavy stuff and assume that every person (man, woman, child and everyone else in between) has basic human rights. (Gay marriage would be cool too.) Babies aren’t sex-selected (and don’t kill their mothers during childbirth) and domestic violence isn’t the leading cause of death for women aged between 15 and 44, etc. Human trafficking and sex tourism aren’t a thing. Assume all of that.
Things I would like to see:
- Children’s toys are just that, for children. Not for ‘girls’ and ‘boys’, not in pink and blue, just for kids.
- Parliaments, boards, etc. basically reflect the make up of the population
- Good female newsreaders can stay on the air past the age of 40, even when their hair is greying
- Science has found a cure for the common period (I know some women like them, and you can keep having them if you want, but I don’t like my uterus dictating my life when I’m not actively trying to have children)
- Women featuring in the Hottest 100 of All Time, because they are equally respected as musicians
- Good quality, body-positive and respectful porn (with the labels ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ replaced with more descriptive, less male-dominated ones)
- More leading women, on tv and film, intended to appeal to a broad audience (not just chicks)
- Women in the front line, women in the mines, women’s sport on tv … women going boldly where no(t many, relatively) women have gone before
- Impossible standards of beauty: out. Variety of beautiful shapes and sizes: in. Even sexier: being yourself.
Ok, I know I promised not to reflect on things that I’ve seen/read/etc in this post, but I think my position can be better summed up by two texts.
Text #1: this ‘fairy tale’ that I found via Lip Mag.
The unnecessary snark towards dudes at the end aside, I think this fairy tale rocks. How awesome would it be if women were able to do whatever they chose, and people thought they were cool, instead of calling them ‘selfish’ for not having children, ‘spinster’ for not being married, or ‘slut’ for having sex before marriage? Answer: Pretty awesome. And equal pay! That would be SWEET.
Text #2: this exchange from 30 Rock S01E16, ‘The Source Awards’ (source).
Liz: Steven, listen to me, ok? And please believe what I’m saying. I truly don’t like you… as a person. Can’t one human being not like another human being? Can’t we all just not get along?
Steven: I wish it could be like that. And maybe someday our children’s children will hate each other like that. But it just doesn’t work that way today.
Because really, isn’t the ‘endgame of feminism’ (also from 30 Rock) being able to genuinely dislike someone else because of who they are as a person, and not because they represent, or fail to live up to the conventions assigned to, a particular sex? Hate me because I’m a terrible/annoying/self-centred/left-wing/messy person, not because I’m a mouthy, outspoken, bisexual feminazi. That’s the dream.
RESULT: While I appreciate having the vote and being legally allowed to drive (and write a blog), we’ve got a long way to go. Also I should probably try not to write about everything every slightly tipsy dude says to me.
Up next: Bitterness by request: How ‘Brave’ is Pixar’s latest outing?