I’m a little new to the world of feminism, and only recently began to admit that I am one, and part of the reason for this is that I felt like being a feminist also meant that I had to jump on all of these buses immediately. Plot twist: you don’t. Oh, and, in the interest of full disclosure: The first point discusses in depth the harsh realities of periods. So, for the faint of heart, skip on down to number four.
5. Pretending periods are not gross.
A friend of mine recently shared an article on my Facebook wall about tampons being an instrument of the patriarchy.
I felt something deep inside me snap like a twig, which is saying something indeed because I actually hate using tampons anyway. Ladies, please. I know we all have different tolerances for what is “gross” and what is not, but can we just call a spade a spade? Let’s pretend that a person has a huge wound on a sweaty, possibly hair covered area of his body, like his armpit. Then, this person staunches the blood with a wadded up bit of stuff—cotton? Plastic? Who even knows what “sanitary” pads are made of—for six hours. And blood is not gushing out of the wound, but it’s just kind of…congealing, slowly, while this guy sweats into the bandage.
I don’t think anyone without a medical degree is going to go anywhere near that bandage at the end of the day. Has anyone here actually ever smelled a used pad before? And I don’t even mean have you ever stuck your nose in that shit and took a good long whiff, because like, let’s be real, the casual nasal inhale while I’m peeing or sometimes even when I’m fully clothed and you can kind of smell it (slash also taste it a little bit) and I get really self conscious because I feel like everyone can smell it, is plenty for me. That shit ain’t pretty. It’s kind of like pooping. And peeing. And farting. And bleeding from an armpit gash, whatever.
If you’re okay with it being paraded in front of you, that’s swell. If you groove on it, bully for you. If not, though, that should be okay too. I don’t think we’re at a place where we need to inflict on others’ rights as to what they do and do not feel comfortable sharing, talking about, or seeing. I know it comes out of us and it’s natural blah blah blah, but that doesn’t mean it’s fucking ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. It’s blood and clots and eggs and uterine wall and who knows what other nonsense that has sat inside of our bodies for 28 days, congealing and slowly deciding to ooze its way out, along with sweat and discharge and heaps of other super joyous shit.
Why do we have to pretend that this is pleasant? It’s not.
4. Discussing body hair as if it really matters.
But actually. Do you know how long it takes me to shave my pits? About 30 seconds.
Do you know how long it takes me to not shave them? Even less.
Why does this matter at all? Or rather, why does this have to be something up for public discussion? This should be between a person and his or her sexual partner(s), and the list kind of ends there. But wait, let’s back up a step here. I need to be clear: I do take issue with people making permanent changes to their bodies simply to please a partner (ie—piercings, tattoos, plastic surgery, etc), but changing body hair is kind of like deciding to buy a 15$ t shirt at Target. It shouldn’t have you hemming and hawing in front of a change room mirror for two fucking hours. Just buy the damn thing or toss it back on the rack.
I don’t see why my shaving or not shaving my pubes is any different from requesting that a person wear deodorant, suggesting she try some skinny jeans to flatter her long legs, or perhaps try a pixie cut. It doesn’t mean you think they’re unattractive, you’re both just exploring possibilities. And that other person? She’s a big girl. She can tell you to fuck off if she wants, or she can try it out. Like, “Hey girl, I love macking on you but would you consider an Altoid?” is not a question that anyone needs to freak out over. Body hair is just about the same.
Plenty of people like their sexual partners to be au natural, but that’s not for everyone, and that’s bloody well okay. You like what you like. And if you’re the shaver (or not shaver), you like what you like, and that’s okay too! If you love your brown curlies, and they feel a part of you, keep them, and don’t change that shit for anyone.You know what’s awesome, though? If you shave your pits because your partner likes it, and you regret it, the hair will literally grow back in like three days, unless of course you are my roommate who is a witch and only has to shave like once every fifteen years to be completely hairless.
If you personally don’t like shaving your legs or pits, it’s up to you and the person who has the privilege of seeing and touching your naked self to decide on some kind of compromise. I quite honestly don’t see why anyone else gives a shit. I barely give a shit about my own body hair, let alone anyone else’s.
3. Wanting to go shirtless in public because cis-men can do it.
This is going to be a hard one to discuss without jumping headlong into the gender vs sex thing but I’m going to do my best (only because that’s not what this article is about) by speaking about two categories of people on this earth: those with breasts and those without breasts.
Breasts are sex organs. They are different, fundamentally, than the sex organs of people who don’t have breasts. And tragically, in our society, we cover up our sex organs.
Why is this even up for debate? I could definitely get behind the no-one-should-have-to-cover-anything argument, but the tit-specific thing seems to be something else entirely.
It’s kind of luck of the genetic/plastic surgeon draw who ends up with breasts and who doesn’t. Our bodies are all different, people. Some people have dicks, some have va-jay-jays, some have both, and some, I assume, have neither. And guess what? All of these types of bodies are rad! Celebrate our differences!
My point isn’t that people should be ashamed of or hide their breasts. My point is that breasts are a different thing from non breasts, just like arms and legs are different, and a nose is different from a butthole. Like, biologically. It’s science. The real fact of the matter is that if you want to show your boobies, go for it! But do it for you, girlfriend, don’t do it just because those meanie boys can do it.
2. Continuing to categorize activities using patriarchal categories in an effort to combat patriarchy.
This one really gets my goat because I always feel like I lose vagina points or some shit because I like what I like.
I refuse to accept that I am hurting the cause every time I express my complete disdain for sports. Ladies, let’s get this straight: baking, sewing, ballet, The Notebook, knitting and wearing dresses are NOT degrading.
Doing them because someone tells you that’s all you’re allowed to do is degrading. This is a very important distinction that I fear many feminists have not yet made. The activities themselves are actually fairly arbitrary. I just really hate it when feminist chickies are all up in my grill like, “All men want is someone who’ll stay home and bake muffins,” as if “bake” was some kind of dirty word. It really hurts my feelings, in all seriousness, because I consider myself very pro-lady and anti-patriarchy. I also love baking, and knitting, and hair bows. But guess what, motherfuckers? I also love Halo and Call of Duty. I can’t stand The Notebook or any of those Jodi Piccoult books.
My argument here is that this is actually irrelevant information. It tells you nothing about my politics, my views, or my thoughts on our society. By continuing to dictate which activity is “feminist” and which is “anti-feminist” you are actually the one hurting the cause by tearing down other women and hating on what they might genuinely love to do just because some asshole decided that women should be the only ones who do that particular thing like, hundreds of years ago.
You’re also making it hard for men to transcend society’s gender borders. I just imagine some poor bastard with his crochet hook is thinking, “Oh man, if even women can’t do this shit anymore what the heck am I doing?” This perpetuates the idea that being a women is somehow less. PATRIARCH-CEPTION BITCHES.
1. Dissing other people’s expressions of feminism.