Yesterday evening I came across a quote that resonated very strongly with me. The quote is from an interview with former Guns & Roses & current Sixx A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba. Ashba grew up with an extremely abusive father & when asked what advice he would give to kids growing up in difficult situations, he responded:
“No matter what you’ve been through in life, you must remind yourself that this is YOUR life. There’s nothing in life you can’t have if you want it bad enough. You just have to be willing to work as hard as it takes to get it.
You have two choices. You can sit around & feel sorry for yourself, or you can get up, dust yourself off, & never lose focus on your goals. Don’t ever let anyone discourage you & stand in your way. Use the negativity as motivation to fuel the fire inside you. Follow your heart, never doubt yourself, & always remember, the hardest part about reaching your dreams is never giving up.”
(You can read more of that interview here.)
Now the rest of this post might be a little controversial but I’m going forward with it anyway because it’s something I’ve been needing to get off my chest lately.
Yes, I am a feminist in the sense that I absolutely support women having equal rights under the law & generally being treated as the capable human beings that we are. As long as there are places in the world like Saudi Arabia where women are treated basically like cattle I absolutely believe that feminism is still a needed cause.
HOWEVER, I must go on record to say that there have been very few times in my life that I have ever felt that I have suffered or been mistreated because of my gender. I read all the time how girls suffer in American schools, particularly in the STEM fields, & how we women make less money than men, etc, etc. I am not denying that there are some cases in which girls & women still face discrimination (particularly women who are also a racial/ethnic minority, which, to be clear, I am not). However, I must say that from my own experience in school, all the way from kindergarten through high school, it was BOYS who I felt suffered. I don’t know about the rest of y’all but when I was a kid it wasn’t exactly cool to be smart or get good grades. But it was ok for girls. To be clear, you weren’t going to win any popularity contests for being a nerdy girl but at the same time you could excel academically & not be sneered by most of your classmates. On the other hand boys who excelled in the classroom, regardless of subject, were frequently subject to intense teasing & general disregard by other students, both male & female alike. In my school there were very few males in any of the advanced learning programs. I fail to believe this was because of a dearth of academically advanced boys. Rather I think it was a symptom of the greater problem that being smart was considered especially uncool for boys so many male students chose to suppress their abilities in order to “save face.”
I am not so naive as to think that my experience alone represents that of all women, even of my own age & demographic. However, having spoken to many women of my generation from a great variety of areas throughout the US it seems to me that for the most part we have not faced a great deal of serious systematic discrimination, especially in the academic world. Hell, women have been attending & graduating college at a greater rate than men for years now. I’ve also read multiple times that women of my generation are, on average, actually making MORE money than our male counterparts. In light of this, I think it’s time we dropped the victimhood game.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Are there ways in which our society could improve to further help women? Certainly. Greater maternity leave would be a great one. But so would greater paternity leave. On that subject, fathers in this country have been systematically demeaned for decades now, & it’s obvious to me that we are now suffering the consequences. Do a quick Google search & you will quickly find that children, regardless of gender, who grow up without a father are much more likely to suffer from pretty much every bad outcome (more likely to become teen parents, drop out of school, have behavioral issues, end up in jail or using drugs, etc).
All you have to do is turn on the TV to see that our society does not value fathers. Fathers are consistently depicted, both in TV shows/movies & commercials, as bumbling idiots who are basically oversized children. Maybe this is true for some men . . . But then one wonders if some men are like that because that’s the image that’s been shown to them for so many years now. Don’t feminists often argue that women typically pursue more traditionally feminine careers such as nursing & teaching because those are the kinds of roles in which they see women depicted? Feminists have argued for years that we need more female doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers, etc so that little girls will see that they can become anything they want. In theory I completely agree with this statement. However, I find it interesting that no one seems to be arguing that we need more male teachers & nurses & other such traditionally feminine roles. It’s my opinion that all fields could benefit from a more balanced gender ratio. But it’s intriguing to me that it’s so easy to find scholarships for women seeking to enter traditionally masculine fields whereas you are hard pressed to find scholarships for men seeking to enter traditionally feminine fields, even if they face similar challenges in so doing.
At the same time, I understand that there may never be as many female lawyers, politicians, or CEOs because most women simply don’t want to do that kind of work. Or at least they don’t want to deal with the long hours & high demands of such careers, especially if they are also moms. And I for one don’t see anything wrong with that. Just as I don’t see anything wrong with the fact that we will probably never see as many stay at home dads as we see stay at home moms.
Call me insensitive, brainwashed, or stupid, but I for one think all of the recent focus on women’s rights in the US would be better spent focusing on parts of the world where women truly do not have basic human rights. And just to be clear, having the government pay for your birth control is NOT a basic human right. After all if we women are as strong & independent as men, why do we need the government to take care of us? And if we’re truly such equals, why aren’t we eligible for the draft? Funny how most feminists love to dodge that subject! [To be clear, I’m not saying men are superior to women. But I’m also not ignoring basic biology that makes it obvious that women are less suited to combat & thus shouldn’t be eligible for the draft (& probably shouldn’t be involved in combat at all, in my opinion).] There are parts of the world where female babies are routinely aborted for being the “wrong” gender. There are parts of the world where female rape victims are stoned or otherwise killed because of what a man forced on them. And yet modern American feminists are bitching about men sitting on the subway with their legs spread too widely? Get a damn life, y’all!
I wrote all that to say this: yes, there have been a few times in my life when I wished I were male because I knew it would have made my life easier. But those times have been few & far between. Maybe I’ve just been lucky. But my instinct tells me that most women, of my generation & in the US anyway, have had similar experiences. At the end of the day I do not feel like a victim because I’m a woman. I simply do not see myself that way, nor do I view my fellow females as such. And I for one will not be raising my daughter to view herself as a victim. I will be raising her to pursue her dreams, just as DJ Ashba encouraged us to do in the quote that started this post.
To end this post I’d like to share some quotes that I believe are relevant to this vicious cycle of victimhood that modern feminism seeks to perpetrate.
“The rest of us have never embraced your victim mentality; we are not victims. We are people, the same way that men are. We are equal, yet different. We, unlike you, realize that is not mutually exclusive.” ~ Lori Ziganto
“Stop bitching about everybody else & what they’ve done to you & start cleaning up your own shit yourself. The only person who can make you a victim is you.” ~ Max Patrick
“You cannot be happy if your primary identity is that of a victim, even if you really are one.” ~ Dennis Prager
“Women’s liberation fought for the right of women to leave the home & become involved in the public sphere; feminists now want to convert this realm into a series of safe spaces & censored zones. If you don’t like what someone says to you on the street, say something back, put your headphones on, or just laugh – it’s really not that bad.” ~ Ella Whelan
Can I get an AMEN?!