T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 95581
posted 04-16-2012 11:36 AM
Hi, I'm new and I just really needed to vent.
I feel like I can't take living on this planet. I can't take all the patriarchy, the sexism, pro-life people and all that crap. It may seem a tad hypocritical, since nothing that bad has happened to me, so what gives me the right to complain, right? But it just gets worse as I get older. When I open a book, the chances are it's full of heteronormativity and all the important characters are men. Or a book series is overflowing with rape like it's normal and inevitable, because sure you can change the geography and existing species in your fantasy world, but it HAS to be sexist because "REALISM!!11" (Yes, I'm looking at the beloved George R. R. Martin.) I'm sick of never being the default human being, but always the woman. It makes me nauseous to live in a world where certain people's trump in an election is to forbid abortion. I'm so tired of hearing that patriarchy is "natural" and bound to happen... because that sounds like the world is the way it is because women are weak and men are a-holes. How do you guys deal with it? How do you deal living in the world that's still so sexist, and chances are that equality won't be reached during your lifetime. Sometimes I just feel like there's no point in living because I will always be of the non-default, "weaker", "submissive" sex, simply because I don't have a penis.
Member # 90293
posted 04-16-2012 02:13 PM
Welcome to Scarleteen.
For me, personally and even professionally, it's finding the points of joy. That's pretty much how anyone deals with any of life's challenges, I think. There are plenty of empowering books, people, organizations, projects, etc out there. I think the basics of my approach to this whole idea is that I can't make the bad stuff go away, but I can add good stuff to it? What do you think? Also, what would make you feel more fulfilled, less bombarded by anti-woman rhetoric? (which , I agree, seems to permeate our world) For example, I imagine that many folks here could suggest sources of media (novels, music, movies, etc) with more of the themes that you're looking for? Many people also find that engaging in some sort of activism helps them feel less helpless and gloomy. Just a few thoughts for you....
Member # 85135
posted 04-16-2012 02:31 PM
Wow, you sound like me a year ago.
I think what really helped me accept and deal with it was finding friends who knew what I was talking about when I brought up feminist issues and could actually talk about those issues with me constructively. Now, I can bring up these issues when they affect me and my friends can help me out with them. You may not be able to change the world, but you can surround yourself with people who make you feel better about the state of things because they care too.
Member # 79774
posted 04-16-2012 04:50 PM
Athene, I really hear you on the frustration there.
Personally, I try to spend some time in feminist spaces, places where I can find a bit of respite from prejudices and the things you describe. I find encouragement and solace when I see projects and people who try to improve something or help someone in a way that's outside of those prejudices, whether the project/person is explicitly feminist or not. Sometimes, when I feel strong enough, I can find a lot of cheeky satisfaction in Not being what someone expects me to be, either because I'm a woman or because of the way I present as a woman; it's very cool to show I'm good at something when some prejudiced people didn't expect me to be. I hope to break some gender barriers in my field some day, and then hold the door open for some other people-who-aren't-men. Sometimes it's like-minded people, and sometimes it's perverse determination, which keeps me going.
moonlight bouncing off water
Member # 44338
posted 04-17-2012 06:56 AM
Welcome to Scarleteen Athene. I'm heading to school, so I don't habe time for a real reply, but I wanted to let you know. I'm sittinghere reading this with George R. R. Martin's 5th a song of Ice and Fire book as I surf the net on my phone and before I read the stuff in parentheses, I was kinda thinking, hmm could she be refering to Martin? I too feel you frustrations, in particular with novels such as the one sitting on my lap. It bother the hell out of me that rape is considered normal and run of the mill in that book and others, and not sure if you've actually read this series in particular or were refering to another book by him but the one time a character in the novel (Daenerys) prevents/ stops a rape, in the end the character she prevents the rape of is worse off. And it really bugs me, because, like you say, this is what you're going to get when you open most any book. And I love reading, and I'm not going to not read a really good book because of the fact that it isn't as inclusive or morally upright as would be ideal, but it would just be nice if there were good books in genres I enjoy that don't contain sexism and heteronormativity and rape and abuse as normal or to be expected. GAHHH.
Member # 95581
posted 04-17-2012 11:45 AM
Thank you all for the replies! Yeah, I suppose I should find more feminist-friendly media, but I don't know where to look. And I also have this silly thought that if I surround myself with stuff that's female-friendly, I'm encasing myself in an unrealistic bubble, lying to myself that things are better than they are. And I'm unable to do that; I'm unable to stop thinking about how things really are.
Dragonflies: The thing is, I don't really have friends anymore. Yeah, sounds pathetic, I know. My excuse is that I've never had many friends, and since I've moved around a lot we've got out of touch. And it seems so hard to find new friends at this age, especially the kind who'd support my views. Redskies: Sticking it to the gender norms is satisfying, I agree. I refuse to be "submissive" or "nice" because of my gender, and I'm quick to prove wrong any assumptions about how women are not aggressive or interest in leadership, et cetera. I'm told I'm a bit scary sometimes, as a woman, which is a blessing because it's partially saved me from being treated like some giggling girl... I guess I don't read that strongly as a woman, even to people who know me in real life. moonlight: Yes, that's the Martin I'm referring to. And I figured I'd get complains about my views on his books. It would take far longer than I have now to explain what bugs me, but here's a few links that sum it up pretty well: http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/08/26/enter-ye-myne-mystic-world-of-gayng-raype-what-the-r-stands-for-in-george-r-r-martin and http://opinionessoftheworld.com/2011/06/20/game-of-thrones-and-gender/ Actually, I tried to explain this shortly, and somehow it spawned, so I started another topic here. Way for me to get distracted But do take a look that topic, if you're interested, that's a subject I've personally wanted to discuss with people for a long time.
Jacob at Scarleteen
Member # 66249
posted 04-17-2012 06:23 PM
My experience of things is pretty different, so I'm hoping it might help some how. I think that for me understanding what's messed-up in the world, and in my life has actually helped me feel much better about it, not worse. I feel like unlocking some justification for why something upsets me or makes me feel crap for whatever reason releases so much energy... simply because my problems make sense again... I think it's really important to look at feminism as an understanding that is a tool, simply by understanding things better, no huge gestures necessarily, you take a lot of sting out of life's bull. It is so frustrating to read media that between the sugary lines still is telling people they're unattractive, and for there to be no improvement... but it is a much better position than not to notice that it's happening and digest those horrible feelings about yourself. I think that understanding gender crap etc, more and more is exactly what makes it more liveable. The more intricacies and of the complex mechanisms that reveal themselves the easier it is to navigate life and make small changes which make it better. I have no idea how I found myself writing such a perky post, I actually have a plenty of issues dealing with my everyday life, but this is one side of it, thankfully, that I am really thankful for.
Member # 32511
posted 05-17-2012 11:34 AM
quote: Originally posted by Athene: Yeah, I suppose I should find more feminist-friendly media, but I don't know where to look. And I also have this silly thought that if I surround myself with stuff that's female-friendly, I'm encasing myself in an unrealistic bubble, lying to myself that things are better than they are. And I'm unable to do that; I'm unable to stop thinking about how things really are. Protecting yourself from meltdown is not the same as hiding from the world.
It's good to figure out: 1) what stuff might be hard to look at, but important to be aware of (for example, news, blogs on issues that matter to you -- pick ones that you can generally count on to get you riled up about what's going on in the world, not the horrible quality of journalism/discourse), 2) what stuff is problematic, but has redeeming qualities that make it enjoyable to you in limited doses (for example, is George R.R. Martin's work on that list, or not? this is super individual), and 3) what stuff genuinely buoys your spirits? Definitely let yourself into spaces that offer an escape from heterowhitecismalesupremecistrapeculture on a regular basis. Spending time with utopic visions means you're focusing on improvement, not avoiding the world as it is. We have no way *out* without indulging our imaginations. Which is to say, we absolutely have a way out. If something doesn't fit into any of those three categories, screw it. It doesn't deserve your attention. In terms of finding feminist-friendly media in the genres you enjoy, I would ask around forums geared towards that kind of thing. I'm sure there are lots of other fantasy-loving feminists out there who would love to connect with somebody else who's on the hunt for the good stuff. This is why we have the internet, yes? [ 05-17-2012, 11:38 AM: Message edited by: plain milyeh ]
Member # 41657
posted 05-19-2012 09:06 AM
quote: Originally posted by plain milyeh: 1) what stuff might be hard to look at, but important to be aware of (for example, news, blogs on issues that matter to you -- pick ones that you can generally count on to get you riled up about what's going on in the world, not the horrible quality of journalism/discourse), 2) what stuff is problematic, but has redeeming qualities that make it enjoyable to you in limited doses (for example, is George R.R. Martin's work on that list, or not? this is super individual), and 3) what stuff genuinely buoys your spirits? Definitely let yourself into spaces that offer an escape from heterowhitecismalesupremecistrapeculture on a regular basis. Spending time with utopic visions means you're focusing on improvement, not avoiding the world as it is. We have no way *out* without indulging our imaginations. Which is to say, we absolutely have a way out. If something doesn't fit into any of those three categories, screw it. It doesn't deserve your attention. In terms of finding feminist-friendly media in the genres you enjoy, I would ask around forums geared towards that kind of thing. I'm sure there are lots of other fantasy-loving feminists out there who would love to connect with somebody else who's on the hunt for the good stuff. This is why we have the internet, yes? Sometimes I just can't bring myself to deal with the category 1 stuff, it just makes me feel depressed. I think there are some people out there who really can't deal with that stuff ever, though they are a small minority (I don't mean this in a "so let's institutionalise them" kind of way).
I totally agree with you about category C, one of my favourite things ever is Cardcaptor Sakura, which is just so lovely and sweet and one of my comfort things. I also love Pump Up the Volume (which I think is really cathartic and inspiring). Have you heard of Castle Waiting by Linda Medley? It's a historical (possibly fantasy) comic series that is, according to it's general reception, pretty feminist, I've bought the first volume (it's a hardback with a lot of pages, it's probably effectively an omnibus), I haven't read it yet, but I can get back to you and let you know what I think if you're interested.
Member # 32511
posted 05-19-2012 10:02 AM
I'm not much of a fantasy fan, which is why I didn't give any specific recommendations. But for general fiction, I recommend the book Sister Mischief, by Laura Goode. It's the most refreshingly, unabashedly feminist thing for young adults I've read in a long time.
Finding a balance between being informed and going insane is not easy, for sure. I'm one of those people who gets very depressed and ineffectual if I overload on bad news. I think it's a particular risk when you're getting all your news online, where you tend to link-jump between a bunch of very similar stories. In a newspaper situation, you're more likely to read a couple of articles about different terrible things, and then find yourself in the lifestyle section or whatever, so things balance out. So trying to recreate that experience for yourself when you're online can keep you sane. (For example, interspersing news/heavy blogs with webcomics or goofy tumblrs, or whatevs...also, I find it especially nice to follow a couple of sites that do a balance of both.) I also find that I get less bogged down when I have the opportunity to discuss the news items that are freaking me the freck out. Most comments sections are hotbeds of idiocy and cruelty, so I find the best strategy is to post things on facebook. When my friends comment on things it reminds me that there are so many reasonable, wonderful people in my world, and that we are all angry about things together. Even when we come at things with different perspectives, it's a space where people are attached to their real names and for the most part know each other IRL, and therefore generally remember to treat each other like human beings. And then sometimes you just need to sit around in your underwear eating alphabet pretzels and watching clips of Bert and Ernie on youtube until you believe in love again. No judgement. Oh, also, if you want like, statistical proof that we should *all* be careful about what messages we're giving implicit permission to enter our souls: http://www.upworthy.com/what-happens-to-3-out-of-4-girls-after-leafing-through-a-fashion-mag-for-3-minut?c=mrp1&g=3 [ 05-19-2012, 10:04 AM: Message edited by: plain milyeh ]
Member # 41657
posted 05-19-2012 04:00 PM
Cool. Though I guess I'm wary of the "boycott harmful media" thing in that video, because I probably have significant disagreement with them about what constitutes harmful media. I mean, I'm watching this show called Sekirei, and it's about a bunch of women with big breasts and this guy who they all kiss to get FIGHTING POWAH, and it has like, nudey bouncy boobies (I'm sorry, I like phrasing things in silly ways) and just generally is kind of silly, but you know what? I'm bisexual and I like breasts, and I think the romance is cute and the show is entertaining (production values are good too), and the women don't make me feel insecure about the way I look, and so to me, this is fun comfort stuff. I really couldn't care less if somebody's going to tell me I'm a bad feminist for watching it, except in as much as I fear them trying to ban it (it was passed uncut with a 15 certificate by the BBFC BTW). I've done the whole "purify your thoughts and genitals" school of feminism before, I hung out on I Blame the Patriarchy a lot and I'm really glad I got away from there because the people there are horrible and completely out of touch with reality (they actually believe that sexual fantasies are innately harmful). If someone wants to boycott something, of course that's their choice, but I don't like being lectured on how I shouldn't watch this or buy that when I've gone through a lot of very painful stuff around that (I actually got kicked out of my parents' house because my dad's girlfriend had a breakdown and prior to this she had gotten very very angry at me when she asked me prior to their wedding if I would be willing to eat non-fairtraded cake at it and I said no, because at the time I was sticking strictly to only eating fairtrade (and mostly organic) dessert, which I did for a year or so). Not to mention that, simply because I never read magazines or newspapers (except for the page that's visible when I see them in the shops, and I often don't even bother with that) and I buy only minimal toiletries, I'm already effectively boycotting a huge bunch of harmful stuff.