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June 20, 2016

The Day I Didn’t Singlehandedly Dismantle the Patriarchy.

feminism

Warning: Naughty language ahead!
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I may or may not have engaged in a feminist rant recently.

I was having a moment. It was a long day, and I was tired. I’ve been besieged by headlines shoving gender inequity in my face for weeks. The Brock Turner sentence. Hillary Clinton’s historic run for office. The fight for equal pay for women’s soccer. On top of that, an acquaintance of mine had used derogatory words for female genitalia as slurs.

It was one of those days where I’d just had enough of the disrespect. So out it all came, my frustration over these news headlines dovetailing into the same double standard that women have to deal with every day. It’s this “good ol’ boy” mentality that keeps sexism alive and well.

And as for those derogatory terms? Want to use pussy as an insult? Well, I’ve managed to push a baby out of my genitalia. What have you done with yours lately?

Let me just say that I am not the type of person to regularly engage in feminist rants in public. Actually, I’m a live and let live kind of person most of the time, much more tolerant of other people’s opinions than they often are of mine. But I just had one comment too many, and I broke under the weight of it.

I got angry—not just a teensy bit angry—but throat-stompy, throat-punchy, ready-to-dismantle-the-patriarchy-single-handedly angry.

Because enough is enough.

I’m a divorced single mom doing the best I can for my children. I go to work and pay my bills. And I live in a society that legitimately thinks we’re “not ready” for a female leader, even though other countries seemed to have been able to handle a female leader without concerns for PMS or whatever other bullshit excuse that I have to hear in conjunction for why this should never happen. Regardless of whether you’re voting for Hillary Clinton or not, the fact that I have to hear people say that a woman should not lead purely based on her gender is enough to make me see red. And as I’m working my ass off to make a better life for myself and my kids, I have to hear justification for why men should be paid more than women.

It makes me tired. And frustrated. And sad that my daughter will have to face the same struggles because we don’t seem to be moving forward quite as much as we should. And sad that I’ll have to struggle to teach my son how to respect women when the society around him doesn’t. Sometimes I wonder if I’m strong enough for this… and then I realize that I am, because this is the life I was given.

I don’t expect to turn a chauvinist into a feminist or for any person to read this and suddenly embrace the feminist cause.

Instead, this is my plea that we find a way to create the type of society where we don’t have to fear for our daughters being raped by men who will get to walk away from it. I want a society where those same daughters can grow up without worrying they’ll hit their heads on a glass ceiling that will never go away, and where our sons can be elected for a public office based on integrity and hard work and not purely on the basis of gender. It’s a society where those same sons can respect women enough not to use our genitalia as a way of deriding their friends, but instead show respect for the opposite sex not because we’re the “fairer sex” but because we’re human, too, and deserve the respect that should be accorded to all human beings.

Today I’m too tired to dismantle the patriarchy singlehandedly. Instead, I’d just like to send out a wish for a little more kindness, a little more consideration in the world. And I’m sending out a hope that we’ll start building a better world for our children—one of kindness, one choice at a time.

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Author: Crystal Jackson

Image: _Lehook/Flickr

Editors: Caitlin Oriel; Renee Picard

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