We attach to those of our ilk, beyond rationality. And few of us have enough self-awareness to overcome it. The law and our systems were designed to counteract this; ‘the law is reason free from passion’. The very concept of the American electoral system is based on a fundamental belief that some people are able to be more objective than others and will vote for the benefit of all. And yet because of the strength of their own self-interest, the strength of their own reptilian instincts, they will naturally fail to do so.
Because I went. I saw Tarzan. I objectified, and thoroughly enjoyed doing so, thinking it at best harmless fun and at worst a sort of inconsequential revenge for all the years that my sisters and I have been objectified. This is what the men go on about, I thought. Yes, it’s fun. Besides, surely the price of a cinema ticket makes no difference in the grand scheme of things…. does it?
To learn on one hand that I have perpetuated systemic oppressive behaviours, and on the other having to face those who have been oppressed and who are angry at me for doing so makes me want to shield myself from the onslaught which risks triggering the terror I felt as a child.
But if I truly want to be an ally, I cannot ignore it.
At first, I felt guilty about not feeling angry. What had happened? Wasn’t anger a healthy expression at the outrage in the world? I should be feeling it!
“Feminists,” I told myself sternly, “should be angry. There’s a lot to be angry about.”
I couldn’t be a selfish lover and attend to my own needs, because that wasn’t good for the relationship. It was the need for me to be sexually available on at least a semi-regular basis with all its accompanying baggage. Sex wasn’t fun and my position became a default ‘no’. Until having sex became more and more infrequent and after a while, the emotional weight of the ‘yes’ became so excruciatingly heavy that our intimate relationship ceased… and we broke up.
It might be traditional, but it’s certainly not about empowering women. And neither, by any stretch of the imagination is the Miss World competition which puts impossible ideals of beauty on a pedestal notwithstanding the charitable acts of its contestants.
Don’t take cunt as a personal insult, because it says far more about the person saying it than the person receiving it. What it says is that the person saying it cannot disassociate the word cunt from something shameful.
Personally I like to measure my success in this life by how content I am with my circumstances, how happy my children are and how much opportunity I create for me and those around me (and not only in professional terms). I am no saint, but I have realised that it is impossible for me to be happy at the expense of others. And it is impossible for me to be happy by working 12 hours a day in the corporate sphere. But I am not everyone, and cannot make that call for others (unlike Ms Sandberg who seems to speak on behalf on all women).
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