As will probably become very obvious over the course of this essay, I don’t have an academic background in feminism or gender studies. In fact, I’ve taken exactly one women’s studies class, my freshman year of college, and while I enjoyed the reading list and some of the class discussions, the academic side of feminism didn’t appeal to me.
For me, feminism is more of a basic instinct than a complex thought process. I have always been a feminist because I feel feminism in my bones. Since I was very young, I knew that men and women should be equal, that it was wrong that we weren’t, and that I would do whatever I could to help achieve gender equality. Of course I was a feminist. Keep reading »
Someone call the waaaaaaambulance, we’ve got a whiner on our hands. Over at Thought Catalog, in a piece titled “Being Privileged In Not A Choice, So Stop Hating Me For It,” writer Kate Menendez says she is fed up with other people judging her for her privileged background. She’s sick of being self conscious that, thanks to her parents paying for college and grad school, she had no debt. She’s over pretending that the fancy suits she wears to her internship are hand-me-downs, when she bought them full price herself. She’s tired of getting dirty looks from her doorman when he hands her a delivery from J. Crew, dammit! Yes, doorman. She lives in an expensive high-rise building, get over it, poors, because Kate can’t help it! She writes:
So stop making me feel like I’ve done something wrong. Stop making me feel like I am less deserving. I didn’t ask to be born into this kind of circumstance and I’m tired of being judged for it.
In some ways, Menendez is right of course. It isn’t her “fault” that she was born to parents who “work hard and did much better than they ever expected in their careers.” There is certainly no reason to “hate” her for being lucky enough to have college and grad school paid for, to have the money to buy nice suits and get her hair highlighted. When it comes to accepting these opportunities and privileges, Menendez has done nothing wrong. But I am having a hard time believing that Menendez actually has experienced “backlash” for simply being privileged. Aside from her interpretation of the looks her doorman gives her, Menendez offers no actual examples of the hate she’s received, just blanket statements about people needing to “lay off.” Without any concrete examples, I’m inclined to believe that the “judgment” Menendez feels is actually youthful self absorption making larger conversations about privilege all about her. Keep reading »
A woman goes through life with a number of labels that she doesn’t have any control over, either by birth or by society’s imposition. But one label she should get to choose is whether she wants to be someone’s “wife” or not. This should be a right for all of us.
A recent piece on Salon.com by soon-to-be-married author Tracy Clark-Flory about the word “wife” really pissed me off. Clark-Flory wrote about going over the language of her wedding ceremony script with her fiancé and getting to the part that says “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
Husband? Wife? I could barely conceal my gagging sounds. He said something to the effect of, “Ew, gross.”
It makes me feel like Betty Draper, like I should be fetching his slippers and a scotch on the rocks — and remembering to get the roast bird out of the oven. (In reality, I’ve only just recently expanded my cooking repertoire beyond Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese and things you put in the microwave. He, however, will roast a chicken and make a rustic tart from scratch — all in one night.) I am a daughter, partner and friend — but a wife? I can’t help but imagine saying “I’m his wife” with heavy air quotes, a roll of the eyes or exaggerated feminine cheer.
Clark-Flory then expresses concern that the Middle English/Old English terms for “wife” and “husband” translate, roughly, to “vagina” and “householder.” It’s not that I don’t understand Clark-Flory’s discomfort with both words or their histories (although dredging up the Old English definition? really?). But I’m uneasy with how glib she was about that choice when so many people are scrambling to have the same one. Keep reading »