Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Things I Know Nothing About: Feminist Issues

I'm kind of a girly girl who wears pretty dresses, curls my hair on occasion, and is usually wearing at least a thin layer of tinted goo somewhere on my face. I was born in the late 80s when women were handling their shit pretty well and wearing a lot of power suits. My version of feminism is a general attitude that basically says "I can do any job a man can do and any man who says otherwise is just trying to save his job". I know that there are alot of very nuanced feminist issues that I don't really understand because I've never had to deal with them first hand so I try not participate in too much feminist discourse. Also I don't want anyone to ask me complicated math questions to prove that women are just as good at men at math. Some women are, but not me. The last thing I would want to do is undermine the cause because I don't know what I'm talking about. That being said, I am going to touch on a few issues in this blog that have been bugging me lately and to hell with my reservations. Ovaries engage!

In Elementary school all of the smartest kids in class were girls. I could run faster than all of the boys and I was the only kid in my class to be on an elite sports team. This doesn't mean much because my school was tiny but these conditions generally delayed my direct understanding of feminist issues. When I got older I knew that independent success was both a goal and an expectation and my gender never really factored into my interpretation of society at large. In High School it became clear that most boys either truly believe or just enjoy saying that they are empirically superior to girls both physically and intellectually. However, I always detected an underlying desperation to assert their masculinity that undermined pretty much anything they had to say on the matter. Furthermore while the boys were going out of their way to put girls down, many of the girls were buying into it and crumbling into hysterics with embarrassing ease and frequency. I believe that at this point in history we should accept that each gender's shortcomings pretty much cancel each other out and what we are left with is the cruel reality that the human brain (of both genders) has evolved past practical application. All of our emotions and everything we "believe" is just a load of crap that gets in the way of the success of our species. Then again, seeing as the success of our species means that the environment we live in will inevitably turn to shit, it is a matter that I have a hard time getting too worked up about. For whatever reason though I've been thinking a lot today about some lady issues and why we can't seem to sort it out and move on already.

I want to begin by talking about Yoko Ono. I recently read the book "Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording The Beatles" by Geoff Emerick, who was The Beatles' sound engineer or an engineering assistant on most of their albums including their very first and very last sessions. This was really a book about Emerick's life and about innovations in recording but there is a lot of incidental insight into The Beatles' dynamic. Rather than going into too much detail I would suggest that anyone who likes The Beatles read this book. What was clear from Emerick's account of The Beatles' later albums is that Yoko Ono's influence on the course of the bands history was a symptom, not a cause. Lennon thought that "Revolution 9" was the direction the band should be headed in. Harrison couldn't get off of India's dick and also harbored resentment towards his more respected band mates as he came into his own as a song writer. McCartney had some serious control issues. All of them, Lennon especially, were on altogether too many drugs a lot of the time. It wasn't exactly a stable environment in which a complicated four way relationship should be expected to thrive. So why does everyone love to blame Yoko for breaking up the Beatles? It's all so...biblical. Four men create something great. Four men fuck it up. Let's blame a woman.

Don't get me wrong, Yoko is pretty much the worst but as bad as she was John Lennon was right there with her holding the sack that she was singing in. I don't know exactly why The Beatles broke up but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Yoko's master plan. John Lennon enabled her insane sense of entitlement but that, I think, is on him. The fact that it is so widely accepted that she did break up The Beatles is indicative of just how eager we all are to blame women for man's mistakes. Women do this to because it has been such a normalized concept through so much of history. Also women can be jealous bitches and we do sometimes jump at the chance to tear another woman down. Both genders are terrible and we're all responsible for everything that sucks in society. Men did have a lot more power for a really long time and still have a disproportionate amount of political clout so I think it's safe to say that men are a little bit more responsible than women. Not to say that women would have done a better job but it is what it is. New topic.

Recently the male dominated federal government has acknowledged that woman are not a special interest group. Although I'm glad we're saying it out loud it's a little upsetting that we need to say it at all. (No disrespect to my parents' generation but I think we are going to get a lot more done when no men who were alive in the 50s or 60s have any say in political issues regarding women.) What I'm hoping is that more people will realize how silly it is that we let a room full of old men decide things that impact womens health. What baffles me is the fact that birth control is approached as a matter of womens health in the first place. Birth control is a widespread social issue. Last time I checked babies can be either gender and everyone benefits if there are less of them. I don't want to go into this too much further because it makes me really mad for reasons that actually don't necessarily have anything to do with feminism and which I have already addressed in my previous post "Things I Know Nothing About:Christianity". I would like to put forth an addendum to any bills which restrict a woman's access to abortions that states that any man who votes in favor of said bill is volunteering for a vasectomy. And a vote for the restriction of birth control is a vote for castration.

The last thing I would like to discuss is to point out that there is a big push right now to keep people from using tanning beds or laying out in the sun because of the accelerating skin cancer rates in young women but then most ads still feature some deeply tanned giraffe lady with no indication that the tan is artificial. Actually I don't really want to discuss that I just think it sucks. This is something I noticed while reading just one issue of Teen Vogue. Don't ask why I was reading it in the first place.

OK I think that's enough. I need to go watch Glee and be mad about autotuning.

If you are interested in a more well rounded and entertaining take on Feminist issues I would suggest that you read Bossy Pants by Tina Fey if you haven't already. She's a smart lady who can actually put her money where her mouth is.

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