“Equality” means the right to be equally STUPID

by Natalie P.

April 2, 2007 | Filed Under Social idiocy, The Heartless Bitch Way | 5 Comments

I recently received a Rant submission from someone who was justifiably pissed off about the current media obsession with unobtainable beauty standards and the effect on women.  Then she went on to berate girls who go out doing the “drunk and stupid” thing on the weekend (and indiscriminately sleeping around), suggesting the behavior was  “masculine”.  She felt that women needed to “embrace their femininity” rather than try and keep up with the lads engaging in boneheaded behavior. I was right with her until that point.

Anytime someone uses the word “femininity” it just sends my spidey-sense a tingling… doubly so when they combine it with an expectation of female superiority.

You see, I have a REAL problem with people trying to apply ANY definition of “femininity” to women, especially as it applies to dictating appropriate behavior.  The problem with the word “femininity” is that it’s loaded. And we aren’t talking 9mm loaded, we are talking Cruise Missile loaded.  Everyone has their own definition, and way too many times, those people try to inflict that definition on other women. Some people don’t think it isn’t “feminine” for women to wear pants or low-heeled shoes. Some people think that a woman shouldn’t be a CEO, or a doctor, or an electrician, or fight in the military, or swing a hammer, because that’s “unfeminine”.  Hell, until just a few decades ago, it wasn’t considered “feminine” for women to be educated.  Some people feel that it is unfeminine to want to remain childless.   In some countries you aren’t feminine unless you have your genitals mutilated to make you ‘acceptable’ for marriage. The word is used far too often to dictate female behavior and put us into narrow and confining boxes, some of them dangerous and demeaning, and all of them dangerious to our freedom. 

Hell, I’ve even seen women who think we should “embrace our femininity” by celebrating our menstrual cycles.  Yeah, like I want to party with my period.  Ugh.  Celebrating my menses would be like saying, “but I love him” about an abusive boyfriend.

But I digress…

The woman who submitted the “Rant” believed that women going out every weekend, drinking heavily and sleeping around was somehow a rejection of their “femininity” – that the stupid behavior was somehow male, and women should rise above that.

I wholeheartedly agree that women today are getting messages from the media. Too many girls and young women seem to think that “empowerment” means dressing up like a sex object flaunting their sexuality in order to gain male attention.  It really undermines their credibility and misdirects them away from *real* empowerment. It’s a difficult subject to tackle because part of empowerment absolutely is having control over your own sexuality, and full control over those choices – even if they are bad ones.  But that’s a whole different thing than ascribing stupid behavior to masculinity.

It’s tough, because in the end, “equality” really is about the RIGHT to behave exactly as a man does – regardless of whether or not you agree with the behavior or think it is appropriate.  While heavy drinking (and having unprotected sex with total strangers while blind drunk) may be considered “masculine” behavior by some – in fact it has nothing to do with gender. It’s a STUPID behavior.  But remember the quote from Voltaire, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”¼br /> Accordingly, when we talk about equality, I may not think it is wise or reasonable for women to do stupid things that some people traditionally ascribe to men, but I won’t deny them the RIGHT.  Bad behavior – stupid behavior is not a gender-based thing.  It may be more socially “acceptable” (to some) for men to do stupid things (Movies like Jackass clearly glorify testosterone-poisoned acts of stupidity), but that doesn’t make inane behavior exclusively “masculine”.¼br /> If you only attack female promiscuity, you are taking us back to using our pussies as some kind of reward that has to be virginal to be acceptable (otherwise, she’s deemed a whore, right?).  Instead, we need to be critical of  drunken promiscious behavior as a WHOLE – amongst both men and women, not because sex is some sacred act, not because virginity some prize that must be held aloft for Mr./Ms. “Right”, but because it’s unhealthy behavior both physically and emotionally.  The risk of pregnancy and STDs when drunk is enormous.  And unfortunately, too many people think that by having sex with someone, it will somehow make that person more likely to want to form a relationship.  Under those mistaken circumstances, it really IS emotionally unhealthy.

I’m not some Dr. Laura prude. In fact, I think people should definitely have some base of varied sexual experience prior to settling down with another person for the long haul. So what defines sexual promiscuity in my books? When it is like any other addiction – the person engaging in it is generally depressed, doesn’t like themselves,  often regrets the behavior after-the-fact, and yet goes out and does it again the next night.  It is really no different than any other addiction like drugs, or religious fanaticism – what you are doing is giving up control of yourself to something or someone else.  Making matters worse of late, is the mix of media messages that bombard our youth, suggesting to young girls that “empowerment” is somehow all about sexuality.  With the girls so busy trying to achieve some impossible beauty standard, and seek out male attention for it, they can’t pay much attention to developing their brains.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say that mainstream media is part of some evil patriarchal plot to subvert feminism and drive us back to the dark ages.

But getting back to the topic of equality and stupidity…

If you only berate women for stupid behavior that manifests itself in BOTH genders – particularly by suggesting that women shouldn’t behave “like men”, you are implying that somehow women should be “above” men, and once you start down that slippery slope you are heavy into the Goddess-vs-Whore duality where women are not allowed to be human.  Accordingly, you are implicitly condoning bad behavior in men – the old “boys will be boys” mentality, and not holding THEM to the same standard to which you are holding women.¼br /> Pedestals are narrow and confining places.  We humans tend to fall off of them.

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5 comments so far
  1. Louisa April 2, 2007 5:28 pm

    This is exactly what has been plaguing my mind for the longest time. Britain makes a big deal of its “ladette” culture, although the focus is more on the binge drinking than on the sex. However, I also live in a student busy city and see it all the time – couples hooking up on the dance floor and heading home together, blind drunk. I’ve had flatmates who do it on a regular basis.

    It’s nothing to do with the sex itself. I’ve never been puritanical about it and ultimately, someone else’s sex life, how often they have it and who with is absolutely nothing to do with me. But going home with or taking home a complete stranger (while drunk or high, or both) is not only stupid, it’s downright DANGEROUS. Aside from pregnancy and STDs, you’re leaving yourself open to be raped, beaten, stolen from or even killed if you don’t know who you’re leaving yourself alone with – and especially if your judgement is impaired. This is not to say that I think any of these things are deserved, or punishment for sleeping with strangers. Oh HELL no. But god, girls should at least accept the fact that these things DO happen, and exercise some sense in keeping themselves SAFE.

  2. Sarah April 3, 2007 5:21 pm

    Amen to that. Though from what I recall hearing, Dr. Laura was in a big tiff awhile back because there were naked pictures of her on the internet…

    So apparently she thinks it’s okay if you don’t get caught? Feh. I’ll take honest and gutsy over demure and “feminine” anyday. If that means people assume I’m the wrong gender, that’s their dysfunction and not mine.

    Once again, massive applause for both this post and the others you’ve created.

  3. Melissa April 4, 2007 4:15 pm

    Every time I read articles posted to this site, it’s like déjà vu all over again. A must read for women and men alike.

  4. Momo June 2, 2007 10:24 am

    You know how a pinball machine will get such a high score that it’ll go back to zero? Sometimes feminism is the same way. We go from people telling us that we should stay in the home, be subservient to our husbands, and raise children to people telling us that we should work out of the home and that housewives/SAHMs are lazy, hedonistic gold-diggers who insult feminism. Both attitudes are misogynistic due to the fact that they are telling women what they “should” do. I agree, feminism is about CHOICE.

  5. Ivana November 6, 2007 9:40 pm

    I’ve just came upon this article
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=491929&in_page_id=1879&in_page_id=1879
    Funny how the author wasn’t interested in why women in her examples lost their sexual desire – only thing that matters, it seems, is that sex is, yet again, a woman’s duty no relationship for (selfish and bad)her.


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