Things That Annoy Me, Part the Millionth
November 21, 2008
So I was reading this blog, and I was really getting into it because it was smart and funny and—as the kids like to say—“hip,” and then I hit a wee bit of a snag. See, the authoress in question was talking about some issue, and she brought up the “I’m not a feminist, but” line. Only in this case, it was the bastard child of “I’m not a feminist, but”: “I have a hard time embracing feminism, because I think women cause more problems for other women than men do.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of smart women who reject the label “feminist” because they don’t like the baggage that goes with it. Because they’re tired of putting up with the racist and classist shit that has unfortunately plagued the movement ever since Susan B. Anthony threw black women under the bus in an attempt to woo Southern white women. Because they’re sick of having to fight to be seen as equals within the very movement that is supposed to be about equality. I get that. It saddens me because I feel like feminism is losing out on a lot of cool people that way, but that’s feminism’s own fucking fault, frankly. That’s a failure within the movement itself, and I can’t say I blame people for rejecting the label “feminist” when they’re expected to do all the same work and get none of the same benefits. So I can’t say that I’m a “Yes, you are” feminist, because although I get where that author is coming from, I think it’s unfair to insist that every pro-woman progressive identify as a feminist when feminism hasn’t done enough to embrace everyone who has a “right” to wear the label.
All that being said? Women who rail against women’s inhumanity to women really test my patience.
Women can, of course, do a lot of rotten things to other women. I don’t believe in universal sisterhood, and anyone who does after having spent some time in a middle school classroom is frankly deluded. I got teased and hazed the same as everyone else, and I haven’t assumed that all girls are my friends since I was about ten or so. But that’s not what feminism is about. Feminism isn’t about thinking that every woman’s got your back, or that women never do wrong to other women. It is not about the girl who pulled your hair in the second grade or even about the guy who called you cunt in the tenth grade. It is about the word “cunt,” and the fact that it’s a synonym for “vagina,” and the fact that calling someone a “Cunt” is such a very bad thing. It’s about the cultural weight we put behind that word, a weight that words like “Dick” and “prick” simply do not have.
Call someone a prick, and they might be mad—or they might laugh. Call someone a “cunt,” though, and unless you are very close friends, you’d better start running.
Feminism is not about individuals. It’s not. Feminism isn’t about individual people who have done other individuals wrong. Feminism is about systems of power, and guess what? Those systems of power rarely ultimately benefit women as a group. Saying that women are cruel to other women is just the tip of the fucking iceberg, people. It’s like saying that your breast augmentation was “merely” an individual choice. Sure, it was—but do you really, honestly think that you would have wanted to have bags of silicone inserted into your body if your culture didn’t A.) consider large breasts attractive; and also B.) tell women that if they aren’t attractive, then they aren’t anything? Somehow, I doubt it.
So yes. If other ladies are mean to you, then I’m sorry–but I also invite you to ponder the ways in which they are cruel. Calling you a whore? Throwing you under the bus if it looks like they have an opportunity for advancement? Ask yourself why they are doing what they are doing, and if all you can come up with is, “Women are just cruel to other women,” then I can pretty much guarantee that you’re not thinking hard enough, or looking deep enough. You are seeing the symptoms, not the disease itself.
I’m trying not to fall into the trap of being too choosy about what I will and will not do re: freelancing. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff that I know people do is just…it’s not only that it’s not appealing, it’s also that I honestly think I’d suck at it. It’s one thing to do something you’re not crazy about: it’s another thing to do something you’re not crazy about and that you’re pretty sure you’d fuck up. So.
In all honesty, having wracked your brains for HOURS (or, you know, seconds)–what kind of writing do y’all think I would be good at? Other than the type that allows me to post pictures of my cats, hobvs.
Sorry for the posts about “What should I do with my LIIIIIIIFE!” but unfortunately, you guys are really smart and insightful and give good advice. You bring it on yourselves, I swear.
ETA: Who’s the worst saleswoman in the entire world? I AM! Have an e-book!
With all the news about Toyota going belly-up and killing people through epic incompetence, I have to admit—I’m a little worried about my parents. They were stalwart Ford owners for decades, largely because they kept buying used cars, and for some unknown reason a lot of people were unloading Fords. Now, though, they’ve switched their brand loyalty to Toyota. They bought a Prius and gave my brother their pickup truck, complete with gun rack and dead raccoons, and when someone turned left into my dad’s mini-SUV, they replaced it with a Yaris.
Yes, my parents owned an SUV (“A MINI-SUV!” my mother protested) and a Prius. Simultaneously. The irony level in their driveway was enough to kill a man, I tell you.
So they’ve switched to Toyota and Toyota’s having massive recalls and really guys, I just don’t feel good about this. We owned a 1991 Ford Aerostar when I was a kid, the one that got recalled for having a faulty middle seat that would fall out of the van if it got T-boned. Mom and dad knew about the problem, they even told us about it, but did they ever get that shit fixed? Of course not! Ten years later, that van was a rusted-out hulk in our driveway, seats still proudly intact and completely defective.
Guess who always sat in the middle seat? Yeah, that would be me. THANKS, MOM AND DAD, FOR NOT LOVING ME ENOUGH TO GET THAT TAKEN CARE OF.
I can’t really blame them, though—it’s not that they didn’t love me (although they clearly didn’t), it’s just that they are seemingly incapable of returning items to the store. I was fully eighteen years old before I even saw someone I knew return something that hadn’t worked out. My first college roommate was all, “I don’t need these binder clips after all, give me back my seven bucks. Wah-bam!” And lo, they gave her back her seven bucks. It was like magic. I didn’t even know you could do that.
Compare that to my parents’ approach when the printer they bought me for college turned out to be a complete lemon. “We’ll just have to buy you another one during Fall Break,” my dad sighed over the phone when I told him that tech services, prayer, and an exorcism had all failed to take care of the issue. I frowned, because A.) Fall Break was a month away, and I had many papers due between then and now; and B.) My roommate’s triumph with the binder clips was still fresh in my memory.
“Daddy, can’t we just, I don’t know, return it?”
“We don’t have the receipt!”
“Hmmmm…” my roommate said when I mentioned this conversation to her. Jessica (child of the 1980s, of COURSE her name was Jessica) was not easily daunted by things like receipts, angry store managers, or my parents. More fool her on the last one, but that’s neither here nor there. “Bring it with you when we got to my house for Labor Day,” she said, “and we’ll see.”
What happened over that Labor Day Weekend will forever live in my memory: not only was that the year Madonna and Britney locked lips (this was before Britney had two babies in two years and lost her “teen sweetheart” status), it was also the year Jessica got me a new printer. Neither one of us had a Sam’s club membership, we were several hundred miles away from the branch that sold my parents the lemon—Jess lived close to Charlotte, they live on the coast—and we had no receipt. Ignoring all of these very crucial and very damning factors, Jess basically just walked in, found a guy, shoved the printer box into his arms and said, “This doesn’t work. We’d like a new one.”
And he gave her one.
I don’t know if it was because his store was also running a deal on that particular printer, so he could be reasonably sure that my printer came from a sister branch. I don’t know if it was because Jessica was tall and blond with a cute Southern twang. I don’t know if it was because she also had the aura of a really nice, very Christian pitbull: friendly enough, but willing to hold on to the death if necessary. It was probably a combination of all three things. Whatever the reason, he gave her the printer and we stopped having to use the communal one that was always “mysteriously” out of toner. AFTER THAT DAY, SHE WAS AS UNTO A GOD TO ME.
With her as an example, I learned how to return shit I don’t need; usually I don’t bother if it’s under five dollars, for I am very lazy, but like HELL will I buy something expensive twice just because I don’t want to go through the “trouble” of returning an item! My parents, though, have never learned this lesson. Their garage is a nest of failed power cords and broken dreams. Their “solution” to a DVD player that didn’t work was to buy a backup DVD player that also didn’t work and hope that when one refused to do its job, the other would step up. In short, I have reason to be worried about this recall thing. Because if my parents have their way, they won’t take those cars in until it’s time to sell them for scrap.
…anyone willing to go steal their cars? For their own good. SERIOUSLY.
Oliver is a big cat, but like many a Tom, his voice? Yeah, it doesn’t exactly fit his large and beefy exterior.
I actually didn’t hear Oliver meow before we took him home. He chirped, he purred, he stared down the other cats when they tried to swat him in the face, but he didn’t speak. Until we put him in a carrier and then put him in the car and then drove the fifteen minutes home. During the course of that fifteen minutes, he shat himself and revealed his tinny, high-pitched little girl mew.
I still don’t know which was worse: the violent diarrhea, or the his wittle giwl voice.
Eeeeeeeeeeeebook (yeah, I forgot during the last few posts. FORGIVE ME)
Thanks to everyone who responded to my last entry in comments or by email—you guys have been a HUGE help. Keep being awesome!
Kathy Griffin, Official Book Club Selection
Griffin’s memoir, which describes her childhood and her career thus far.
I hate to say it, but I liked this. Griffin is HUGELY problematic as both a writer and a comedian, but goddamn is she funny. And weirdly inspiring. She skipped college and lived with her parents until she was 28, all in an effort to make it as an entertainer—although which kind of entertainer took her forever to figure out! Dude, Kathy Griffin went to the Lee Strasberg Institute.
Okay, please stop laughing, you’re going to choke.
Used bookstore in Richmond, VA. Why is it called “Chop Suey”? Why did I file it under “Project Vadge”? God only knows. Also, that lady is thinking HARD about her potential book purchases, isn’t she? Lady, if it’s on the outside rack, it’s not worth it. Promise.