This is a ridiculous fake-news story about feminism in 2007. This pic is photoshopped. None of this is real.
This is a real photograph and a part of a real newsworthy event about feminism in 2011. The leader is Hugo Schwyzer, Professor of Women’s Studies. All of this is real. To be fair, Hugo does appear to question this. Whatever.
When women cease to be defined by our sexual behavior and our appeal to men and can fully participate in public discourse without our gender being dismissively scrutinized, and when our experiences are considered human instead of strictly female and outside of the norm, there will be no such thing as a barfly. Until then…
Women who frequent bars by themselves do it for a number of reasons. (Just like men! Imagine that!) Sometimes it’s to get shitfaced drunk and forget about everything that stresses her out. Sometimes it’s as simple as wanting to be alone in public, or to be with those wacky bar friends who don’t judge her as harshly as everyone else does and don’t pretend to know her well enough to explain all the ways in which she’s not living up to her potential.
She does it to not be home alone. To not be home with someone she doesn’t want to be at home with. To feel attractive for the first time since the last time. She does it because dusk always reminds her of her mother and she doesn’t want to think about her mother. Or because she has a physical craving that she has to satisfy despite not really wanting to, sorta like taking a 1-minute smoke break by the dumpster in the rain with no coat on only because your body is demanding that you do so.
Imagine: Broken-hearted dude goes to the local tavern where everyone knows his name, sits at the bar for many hours chatting up the bartender, drinking whisky shots with PBR backs. Says stupid shit, accidentally cries a little, drunkenly sings along too loudly to Tiny Dancer, goes to a lady’s house late night, has stupid semi-hard drunk sex, does the 2-mile walk of shame home in the morning, passes out. Repeat. Goes on 3-year-long bender of public drunkenness and sleepovers in strange places.
You know what that is? A song with gravelly vocals and elementary guitar chords. Americana. The human experience. Crazy Heart.
Imagine: the broken-hearted is a woman who does all of those things. You think: So sad! Why isn’t she at home making dinner for someone, or painstakingly scrutinizing her appearance? Where does she get the ludicrous notion that she has the right to be in a bar by herself? Doesn’t she have ladylike things to do somewhere? Does she not know what people think of her? Why doesn’t she care what everyone thinks? For fuck’s sake!
According to Urban Dictionary, and seemingly the general public, a barfly is a woman whose purpose is debauchery and destruction. She has no motivation for being in that bar other than to manipulate and eventually destroy the men that are stupid or drunk enough to pay attention to her. She does not exist in and of herself and has no self-awareness or integrity. She’s a slut, a drunk, a terrible mother, a washed-up spinster, a ruined woman. She deserves to be treated like shit, and in fact expects and seeks it out.
The hours she spends on the bar stool would be tragic if anyone actually cared about her well-being. But they don’t, because she’s just a barfly.
The truth is, a barfly is nothing more than someone who, like everyone else, tries to create her own brand of temporary happiness in the way she knows works. She just happens to do it in a bar – which, if she were a man, would be hardly notable. Cheers was full of ‘em.
That woman that sits at the bar by herself is not who we think she is. Let’s stop being deafened by the standard-issue patriarchal white noise that makes us think we know her and get over our rickety judgments about her worthiness and tragedy level before my freaking brain explodes.
And really, feeling so sorry for that woman who sits alone because you just can’t imagine how horrible her life must be, simply because she’s there, at the bar, drinking and maybe flirting? That’s not a whole lot better than judging her according to her fuckability score and next-day-embarassment index. We don’t know shit about her life and thinking that her mere presence in that place is enough to understand her… well, that’s plain fucked up.
Egads! The sheer number of songs performed/written by men that address the age-old angst of that silent beautiful woman he saw that one time, well it’s enough to make me want to write a song about that guy I played pool with at the bar a few weeks ago that was really, really cute. Except, ya know, he was just a cute guy and not my savior, so I don’t know really what the song would be about other than “Hey, I liked your face and your clothes and your hair was passable although perhaps not ideal and you made some good shots.”
But see, men can sing those songs and I guess it’s supposed to be all meaningful and shit, because apparently the mere site of a pretty woman can change everything a man thinks about the world and then he leaves his wife! Men leave their wives over the silent beauty they saw in passing! It’s true! I hear about it all the time on the radio in my mom’s car!
To wit: Mr. James Blunt says,
My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel.
Of that I’m sure.
She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won’t lose no sleep on that,
‘Cause I’ve got a plan.
You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don’t know what to do,
‘Cause I’ll never be with you.
Your love is pure? Are you kidding me? Okay Blunt, just so you know, you’re completely fucked . This beautiful girl that you shared a moment with? I really doubt that she remembers it, much less thinks about you as the one who got away. Why’s that? Because pretty girls get looks like that ALL THE TIME from countless dudes hoping to gaffle a so-called moment with the pretty girl.
Trust me, as the frumpy BFF of a series of pretty girls for as long as I’ve been alive, with my hawk-like senses and protective insticts, I can tell you most assuredly that you did not share a moment. When a beautiful woman is as enrapturing as you describe, you can bet you weren’t the first guy that day to stare at her. At some point in pretty girl’s life, usually around age 12, such moments are just so damn commonplace they become non-moments.
No, when she saw you and smiled she was most likely thinking about that kid Manny on Modern Family.
It’s also possible that she thought you were cute and was kinda flirting with you. But not likely. And she certainly didn’t go home and write a freaking song about it.
So why do you do this to yourself Blunt? She was beaitiful and smiled at you and now you’re all you’re ‘my angel’ and ‘I know we’ll never be together’ and blah blah blah. You know nothing about her whatsoever and all the sudden you’re in existential turmoil.
I think that Blunts of the world really don’t want the pretty girl to speak because if she did she would be a real living breathing person and not a lovely fragile thing that stands there smiling at you, making you think about how you are not all the glorious things you wish you were but maybe, just maybe, if she never spoke or had an opinion about anything, this girl might just save you from yourself.
Women: If silent, angelic and catalysts to mens’ personal growth. If speaking, cause of all problems, personal and global.
As I go out and tonight mentally prepared (though perhaps not emotionally) for most women I come across to be clad in a Sexy ___ getup, and for the regrettfully harsh judgments I will inevitably pass on their taste and lack of ingenuity, I will remember my disturbing trip to the Halloween costume store a couple of weeks ago.
I will remember that these were not in the “Sexy” aisle of the costume store. No, they were all around me. Everywhere. There were no non-sexy options. The dude section was full of fully clothed doctors, cowboys, folktale heroes. What was the lady alternative was to those? I don’t even have to answer that. You know what I’m saying.
I have a friend that waited too long to get her costume together and ended up at the Halloween store. She wanted something funny and cool. She got Sexy Robin Hood. She hates it. Even though she had no intention of going sexy, she didn’t have much of a choice once she was there and in a hurry.
So I will remember all of that as I head out into the craziness tonight, and I will only blame the patriarchy for demanding that women are sex, even on the one day a year we’re supposed to get to be something else.
As a response to the tragic story of the drunk driver who was responsible for the deaths of 8 people on a New York freeway, the AP published an article about how women are drinking, DUI’ing, and child endangering more these days. Unsurprisingly, feminism was highlighted in paragraph 4 as the real culprit.
“Younger women feel more empowered, more equal to men, and have been beginning to exhibit the same uninhibited behaviors as men,” said Chris Cochran of the California Office of.
Because, you see, when women start thinking that they have the same basic human rights as men, all hell breaks loose. People die. Equality Kills.
Interesting also that criminal, reckless endangerment is akin to the “uninhibited behaviors” that men regularly exhibit and that we expect from them. This troubles me.
So buried at the way bottom of the story we get a couple of paragraphs citing some relatively legitimate reasons why women might be drinking more now:
“Our society has taught us that women have an extra burden to be the perfect mothers and perfect wives and perfect daughters and perfect everything,” Levounis said. “They tend to go to great lengths to keep everything intact from an external viewpoint while internally, they are in ruins.”
In the current recession, women’s incomes have become more important because so many men have lost their jobs, experts say. Men are helping out more at home, but working mothers still have the bulk of the child rearing responsibilities.
“Because of that, they have a bigger burden then most men do,” said clinical psychologist Carol Goldman. “We have to look at the pressures on women these days. They have to be the supermom.”
All valid points (disregarding the notion that woman = wife and mother) and much more likely than the empowered women crap that keeps getting top-billed blame for any gender-specific “pattern” that hits the news wire.
I’ll be honest, I love saying douchebag. I love the way it sounds, the way it stings. I love that there’s a punchy insulting word for a completely self-unaware fool who doesn’t know shit about what he’s talking about but tries REALLY HARD to seem like he does. It’s about freakin time.
I had long refused to go anywhere near that word for obvious reasons, but then I noticed feminists were using it in their blogs. Some commenters responded with genuine confusion about it, to which supporters posited the following argument (as I understood it): a real vagina-cleansing douchebag is a literal, physical patriarchical tool, so calling a dude a douchebag is really the same as calling him a tool except with loads more ironic feminist derision.
There were some words about reclaiming and such that I willfully didn’t grok, but that didn’t matter cuz I was sold. Douchebag had been feminist-sanctioned! I could say it and not feel like a total hypocrite! W000t!
So after work one night I was with a group of my cool co-workers at a pizza place talking about this guy who had gotten fired that day for essentially being a complete effin tool. Seriously, if ever there was a human that deserved to be called a douchebag, this guy was it.
And I did it. For the first time since my feminist awakening I called someone a douchebag. Out loud. In mixed company. I felt pretty cool for a second as I felt it out – the word came out with confidence and power and at exactly the right moment – but then I got a little sick to my stomach and I felt my face get red. What did I just do? The woman next to me gave me an odd look - one that I have since interpreted as disapproving and confused.
I immediately wanted to explain why it was okay for me to say it, as in “No, no, it’s okay, I’m a feminist! I’m allowed!” but I realized that would require a dinner monologue about dirty vaginas and the patriarchy. No one was in the mood for that, not even me. I just wanted to tell funny stories about the dude that got fired.
So the moment had to pass without context or explanation. None of them were ever the wiser about the tool argument. They just thought I was someone who, like most of the world, feminizes as insult.
I’m not. Today a woman at work asked this guy if he was a girl because he wanted paper towels to clean barbeque sauce off his pork ribbed fingers. I kicked her in the back of the shin out of reflex. Hard. She yelped and I felt bad for resorting to violence. But whatever.
When someone around me calls someone else a pussy or a bitch or they make some tired old gender generalization, they very often look at me right away to see how I’m gonna react and then either apologize to me before or after I say
Hey!” or ask why they shouldn’t say that. Which is weird to me, really, but I am truly comforted that my presence, at the very least, makes people (those that know me at all, anyway) recognize sexist language when they hear it.
So much of the world’s mysogny is expressed so very non-chalantly in modern language. Recognizing and not using the words that ultimately hurt women is a small thing we can do to fight this ugly bloody battle against us. The words we choose to use when we talk to each other is the very easiest thing we can change about ourselves as we get prepped for smashing this shit up.
All of us here know what a douchebag represents. Yes, it’s a tool of the patriarchy in every sense of the word. But getting comfortable with the douche insult and its derivatives in the feminist sphere inevitably results in comfort with it in the non-feminist world, and people generally aren’t privy to the whole feminist take on the term. Calling an Australian politician a douchebag in the comments of IBTP is one thing, but out-feminists calling people douchebags in the company of folks who haven’t come around yet isn’t exactly going to do anything to bring the world closer to treating women as the human beings that we are.
I would bet that it makes those folks think that, holy crap, even feminists don’t have a problem with insulting someone by connecting them to a soiled vagina. Unless the feminist name-caller can fully stop and explain the douchebag-tool connection and why other feminists have embraced it - which is, let’s face it, not typically an appropriate turn to a conversation – then she has only further contributed, perhaps even more significantly, to the mysgony that we battle against.
So I’m done with that word, and that’s that.
There are approximately 452 cop shows on American TV at any given moment of the day. My new roommate, I’ve discovered, loves cop dramas like I love reality competition shows on Bravo. And cheese.
GAWD I hate cop dramas, but sharing my space with someone else means compromising a bit. I demand the TV when Top Chef is on and I begrudgingly accept cop shows playing on my television sometimes.
The troubling aspects of cop dramas are worth a whole feminist blog series, a book even, but at the moment I’m caught up on clothes.
Female cops all wear the same outfit on every one of the 452 cop shows: A tight solid color t-shirt, most often a scoop or v-neck, tucked into belted, form-fitting dark slacks or blue jeans if they’re off-duty or a promiscuous alcoholic. They complete the outfit with a cute matching jacket; leather if they play the “sexy” cop. To wit:
No colorful patterns, no linen, no turtlenecks, no sweaters. Please feel free to submit your theories on this phenomenon.
I’ve been away for a while now. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because one night in October this sick dude who was pissed that I refused his ill advised attempts at wooing me into bed (I’m just looking for something casual…fooling around is fun…not into a relationship right now….you flirted with me once…I haven’t been laid in a really long time…) decided to pour beer on my laptop before he left. He promptly followed that up with a text message that said “So are handjobs and blowjobs out of the question too?” Ugh.
If ever a person needed (more) proof that we’re living in a patriarchy, I posit that International Women’s Day is the final argument.
Doesn’t it seem odd that women, at least half of the human population, are given a special day of recognition? Can you imagine a day that honored the achievements of men? What about a Men’s History month?
From a local newspaper article about a IWD parade: “We celebrate all of our accomplishments from early on until now and teach all of our young girls to know how important it is to feel you can do anything you want”
Yeah well, it’s more important to actually make it possible. And you know what else? If a girl could truly do whatever she wanted to do, if she could ever be anything more to the world than just a girl, she wouldn’t need a freaking parade to convince her of it.
Again, imagine a special day once a year where boys are rah-rahed into believing that when they grow up they can do great things just like other men have done. I mean, it’s kind of a given, right? Just as it should be for girls, yes?
Personally, I would rather be acknowledged as a fully realized human being on a daily basis than “celebrated” once a year. The patriarchy will be dead when there no longer exists a need to recognize with parades and banners that the billions of people with vaginas are human too.
I saw some good friends the other day, a married couple that I adore and haven’t seen in a while. They introduced me to their parents/in-laws and announced to the mother that I was also a feminist. Mother explained that she was active in the early stages of the movement, I gave her the fight-the-man fist salute and joked about the non-existent special handshake of the feminist club. It was all very light-hearted and perfectly fine, these people are absolutely lovely, but it did get me thinking.
It’s not like this woman and I both went to Cornell or are from the same small Idaho town. No, we just both believe that women are not the sexy supporting characters that leave the real business of life to men or that child-rearing is the sole reason for our existence.
I think I have a hard time understanding why any sane and humane person out there wouldn’t be a feminist, so it’s always weird to be singled out as one by people that I consider sane and humane.
I’ve decided that the next time I get introduced as a feminist to a group of strangers, I’m gonna ask the introducer why they’re not. Should be interesting. Hope I don’t get beat up.