As I recover from the situation with my ex, I become more accepting of seeing myself as a feminist. It was very easy to allow myself to view the world through his eyes, and define things through his filters rather than my own. Defining myself as a woman of strength, independence and power was fairly deeply set in my self-image – so I had blinded myself to the fact that I had allowed him to define me.
I will admit, my own view of the world that considered other women more of a threat to me than men, fit right in with many of his misogynistic notions.
It’s not that I can’t see the dangers of being a woman in our society, it’s that I have received more judgement, more bullying, more humiliation at the hands of women than I have at the hands of men. The humiliation at the hands of men came in only one aspect of my life – my romantic interactions with them. And that comes down more to rejection issues than to any form of active humiliation (except for my ex, of course).
If we, as feminists, truly want to be judged as people, rather than as a life support system for tits and a vagina, then it is important that we stand up against the hypocrisy and bullying that our fellow women do as well!
We have this view in our heads that the “real” man is aggressive, assertive, and dominant. Whether we set it up as the straw man to vilify, or as the role model we want men to live up to, really doesn’t matter. The issue is that as a society, we automatically assume that that is the role the man takes in the relationship. Even if the man more exhibits the behavior of a Caspar Milquetoast, when a woman accuses him of inappropriate behavior he is vilified because he has a penis.
Additionally, we have the assorted roles that women are expected to play: the Innocent Maiden, the Madonna, the Whore and the Mata Hari. These all seem to be fairly strict roles. No one expects the “Innocent Maiden” of having Mata Hari-like manipulative ambitions. No one thinks that the Madonna might be as gullible as the Innocent or the Mata Hari as honorable as the Innocent. And the Whore is always stuck out there on the edges, peeking in the windows while dying of the cold.
The problem is, beneath those strict masks, lies people who are taught from infancy that manipulation is the ONLY way to get ahead in this world. People who are told that men are easy to control, and that controlling men is the height of ambition for any woman.
Yes, even in this world of feminism.
Women are told that they are the ones who must police our own, so that women can be considered positive in this world. But, instead of focusing on ethical behaviors, we’re told to judge each other on shallow, superficial qualities. Women judge each other on body size, on clothing, on makeup, on acceptable stereotypical behavior. It’s not the MEN who are necessarily limiting us to certain roles (although, many men DO actively do so), but far more often it’s the women around us who want to keep us within strict boundaries of what is “acceptable.”
And when a woman is caught out as being a manipulative, abusive psychopath, women rush to her side to excuse her and protect her. Even if she gets punished for her unethical activities, women will still support her behavior saying that some man (her father, her brother(s), her lover, etc) forced her to do it by their own behavior and choices.
Sorry, ladies, not true.
If you choose to be a jealous, insecure schemer, it’s not the fault of the guy you’re so possessive about. Not unless you have active proof that he’s cheating on you (not gossip, not “I think,” but REAL evidence). If you want support and caring for YOUR emotional issues (and get them), but deny that your partner’s emotional issues are valid, YOU are the abuser – not him. If he tells you every little detail of his life, and you still think he’s hiding something – it’s YOU who needs the therapy.
Being equal means admitting when you are wrong, and making amends for it. It means taking accountability for your choices and behaviors. It means admitting that the men around you are human beings, and therefore likely to make mistakes (just like you let your girl friends make mistakes).
My ex was abusive. But that doesn’t mean I was a complete innocent in the situation. No, I did not deserve to be abused or manipulated, but I let it happen. I excused the behaviors even while dying inside from the abuse. I chose to stay there, knowing he was sick and knowing it wasn’t likely he’d ever get “better.” I was arrogant, and blind to my arrogance.
But, I’ve found myself again. I’m back on the road to being that strong, independent woman again. And it’s not in SPITE of his abuse, but because I am responsible for being the best “me” that I can be. It’s up to me to make better choices in the future. My failures aren’t his fault – even if some of the reasons for the failures are directly tied to him.
You want to be equal, ladies? I certainly do. But that means that we have to start paying attention to our OWN shit as much as we pay attention to anyone else’s shit.