Did Somebody Steal Feminism - Or Did We Leave It Behind?
Mar 5, 2007
I was mulling the past over today and had to admit that I have
definitely been guilty of leaving feminism behind in the not-so-distant
past. Yet, at that time. I was under the misguided idea that I was
wholeheartedly a feminist. In actual fact I was allowing men and the
world in general to treat me terribly while patting me patronisingly on
the back and coughing "sucker" under their breath.
However, after experiencing and finally escaping, my last (and I mean my
last) majorly messed up relationship with enough emotional scars to
cover a 6ft tall 20 stone body-builder (no mean feat for a 5ft 3"
Scottish lassie!) and a bitter streak to rival Bette Davis in Whatever
Happened to Baby Jane, I am no longer willing to compromise myself and
have now achieved the no BS policy I always coveted from afar.
I realised that in finally refusing to adapt myself, or compromise on
what I want from life and what I feel is an acceptable way to treat a
human being, that I was starting to understand what feminism really was.
However that did lead to my eyes being opened as to how few examples and
role models of this exist in my fellow females. Many of those who really
are feminists have only truly learned how from suffering years in the
school of hard knocks or, thankfully, have had strong women to guide
them through their tentative teenage years.
The pre-feminist part of me allowed my ex to cheat and let myself
believe his lies and forgive the betrayal no less than 8 times because,
laughably, he had confessed his sins to me! I allowed him to put me down
in subtle, and once he had me down-trodden enough,
as-subtle-as-a-sledgehammer, ways. No matter what he did, no matter his
attempts at manipulation, no matter that I would argue and point out
what he was doing, no matter that I could already see what he was (a
lying, unfeeling, not at all smart or attractive, toad - the N
realisation didn't come until much much later) I would still cave and
allow him yet another chance to do it to me all over again.
My inner voice went from little whispers of "there's something not right
here" to "FOR GOD'S SAKE WOMAN, GET A GRIP!" over the last few months
until finally, after yet another promise made, not really meant, then
swiftly broken with almost indecent haste, I eventually listened and
ordered him to leave.
Despite all that, I'm not a man-hater. I don't think they are all self-serving,
selfish, greedy, using, abusive arseholes who all have hidden agendas to
demean and destroy the female species - but neither do I think there is
anything wrong with a healthy in-built BS sensor and a hefty dose of
cynicism when dealing with men or in fact the world in general.
After freeing myself from my victim role I seem to be seeing examples of
eyebrow raising behaviours in so many people, even those I believed for
years were strong women.
I must point out that I accept that an adult relationship will involve
some level of give and take so I'm not being totally idealistic and
black and white in the views I hold BUT I simply must ask the following
- When did things get manipulated back to the way they were in
the 1950s with so many women so pleased and grateful if their partner so
much as puts the toilet seat down once a week?
- When did it suddenly become acceptable to stay in a relationship, as
does my best friend, where the money she earns is spent on the child,
house and food and her master - ..ooops sorry, "partner" - pays her only
£150 a month from his £1000+ monthly earnings then squanders the rest on
god knows what?
- Why does Cosmo now print articles on "Pleasing Your Man", pole-dancing,
"erotic" dressing, anal sex and Brazilian bikini waxes when it used to
relate articles about respecting yourself, getting what you want and
need and would teach women that if a man dared to suggest you change
anything about you for him then he should be shown the door faster than
you can say, "You don't like me as I am? Your loss mate!"
- Why are we suddenly back to outdated opinions that we need to conform
with what is believed to be the weight, size, hairstyle, shoe-size, yada
yada, to truly be defined as "attractive"?
- And the big question -- When did feminism suddenly become a dirty word? Why are there so many women who take it as a criticism?
When I woke up from my attempt to convince myself that I was a feminist
by refusing the condone my ex's behaviour and my illusion that I should
attempt to change him ... I finally realised 4 important things
that I now live by...
- Once a cheat, always a cheat - simply because so many of us
give them another chance or 10 just because they say "sorry".
- If a dog refused to be housetrained and refrain from something that
is upsetting you he would be quickly shown the door. The same rule
should apply to the person you are with. It's all about setting and sticking to your boundaries.
- If a man starts trying to manipulate you into changing something
about yourself then there is a simple message behind this, however
upsetting this may be at the time - He is NOT the one for you! He is not
that into you and still won't be when you have changed yourself
completely - except he will now have got the message that he can pretty
much do anything the hell he wants to you.
- Alarm bells should definitely ring if a man you have been seeing
for anything less than 3 months suddenly declares undying love for you.
Love, other than that of direct blood relations, takes time to grow and
develop. Anything else reeks of lust, obsession and worst of all,
I, and many others, may have glimpsed the hell of an unhealthy,
abusive or Narcissistic relationship and our scars may be obvious and
upsetting to those with no understanding of it, but I myself feel that
it has taught me a very valuable lesson.
I used to be scared to be alone, so scared that it didn't matter how much
I went through with my ex as long as I was still with him.....I could
blame him until I'm blue in the face but by avoiding the fact that it
was MY fault for allowing him to do the things he did would mean I would
never move on.
Now I've realised that I'm pretty damn great, I love spending time alone with myself.
Suffering and martyrdom brings no reward, no gratitude and no happy ending.
It takes time to realise and amounts to truly loving yourself.
That, I think, is the real essence of Feminism.