Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Posts tagged ‘feminism’

Meet the Family

Prompt: Since you’ve been going out for quite some time, your boyfriend/girlfriend arranges for you to meet his/her parents. When you get to his/her house and enter the front door, you hear him/her say “I’m sorry” as the door closes behind you.

You turn to face him, but he seems to have vanished.  Before you, you see an old living room with furniture dating back to the Victorian era or earlier.  There are an assortment of people sitting on the sofas and armchairs, as if frozen in time.  It was as if you have stepped into Madame Tussaud’s , to a moment forever preserved, like page from a Jane Austen novel.  You swallow, the blood slowing in your veins, turning cold as your heart beats faster.  Your breathing has become so shallow, you’re not even sure how your cells are getting enough oxygen.
“What is this?” you wonder to yourself.
Then the room springs to life.
“So you’re the new girl.”
“Pretty young thing, isn’t she?”
“Almost too young for our Thomas.”
“But he chose her.”
“Did he now?”
“She looks just like-”
“But doesn’t she?”
“Don’t say that.  Thomas won’t like it.”
“Oh, we mustn’t be rude.  Come in, come in child, welcome to our home.  Please, sit!”
You are immediately swarmed by six or seven women, ushering you towards the sofa.  As you sit, Thomas reappears with a tray of tea.
“Sorry about that…” he said sheepishly.
“Don’t ever do that to me again!”
“I didn’t mean to…well, when I mentioned that we had been dating and…well they all wanted to meet you.  I din’t know what to do but to bring you by…so this is my family…all of them.”
“You really scared me, you know, vanishing like that.”
“I’m sorry…”
You sigh, taking the final cup of tea from Thomas, as he joins you on the sofa.  One by one, he introduces you to each of his family members.  There are aunts and great aunts, cousins and second cousins, his mother, his sisters, and grandmother, but something is odd.  There are no men, no fathers, brother, uncles…
“This is your whole family?”
He nods.
You bite your tongue.  It might be rude to ask.  Whenever he had talked about his family, he had only mentioned his female relatives, but only now did it really sink in how strange that really was.  Maybe a few would make sense, but could all of them be unmarried, divorced, or widowed?  That seemed too much of a coincidence.
“Something troubling you, my dear?”
“No…I’m sorry.  I can be a little spacey at times.”
His mother smiled and the rest smiled in sync.
“Are you hungry, dear?  Thomas, why don’t you fetch the cakes?”
“Yes, mother.”
“Let me come with you,” you say, quickly following him to the kitchen.
“You didn’t have to.”
“I know, but I wanted to ask…”
“Why there are no men?”
You look away awkwardly, giving him the answer he needed.
“I’m the first male born in this family  in over four centuries…my family is…special.”
“But how…?”
“It cannot be explained by science or any manner of natural law.”
“Yes, but-”
“How are we making out in here?”
“Excellently, mother. ”
“Everything’s alright?”
“Yes, Elsie’s just a curious soul, that’s all.”
His mother smiles at you again, “Dear, what is it you want to know?  We have no secrets between us here.”
“I…just didn’t want to be rude.”
“Why-How can there be no males in the family, with the exception of Thomas?”
Each of his mother’s smiles grew more and more unsettling.
“Come, sit, and enjoy Thomas’ cakes.  We’ll tell you the story of our family.”
Reluctantly, you follow his mother back to the living room, with Thomas bringing up the rear.
“Elsie, do you love Thomas?”
“Enough to be with him forever?”
“Well…I-I would, if he’d have me.”
“I think he would.  Isn’t that so, Thomas?”
“Yes, Aunt Beryl.”
“Shall we tell her?  What you think, Grandma Edith?”
“Do you think she’ll react as badly as the last one?”
“What do you mean the last one?”
“Thomas’ previous girlfriend.”
“What happened?”
“Are you sure you want to know?”
“Alright then, but we must warn you, once you go forward, you cannot go back.”
“Logically, yes, that would be true…”
“Very well.  But before we proceed, we must know, how important it is for you to have a man in your life.”
You stare at them blankly, trying to understand what this has to do with anything.  On the one hand, this is a family consisting of only women…could that have something to do with everything?
“I…It’s not absolutely necessary, I suppose.  It’d be nice to be in a relationship with one before I have his child, but…there are other ways to have children.”
“True.  And what do you think about the roles men and women play in society, generally?”
“Well, I believe that a man and woman can be equal in skill and ability, if afforded the same opportunities.  There are, of course, physiological adaptations that have made men stronger than women, so in that instance, they would be better suited for the task.  So roles should be assigned based on what each individual can do best rather than by gender.”
“Well, I like you more than I liked his ex already.”
You laugh nervously, unsure what to expect next.
“We are the women of all time.  From past, present, and future.”
“What does that even mean?”
“We are not born, but created.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“It means, out of all the women in history, we were chosen, melded together into one family through interweaving our DNA with one another.”
“And Thomas?”
“An anomaly.”
“You see, Thomas didn’t fit into his role in life as a “man” in his time.  The first of many.  Thomas could have been any one of them, but the choosing is always random.”
“So…were each of you…conceived?”
“We were once and we are in the sense that we are born from a womb again into this life, but we are, as Grandma Edith said, created, not born.”
“So…your purpose is?”
“To show the world that these gender norms are outdated and need to change…but we’ve never been able to change the outside world…we are confined here.”
“Because we cannot step foot into a world that isn’t ours…we must be invited to.”
“Is that why I’m here?”
“Well…sort of.”
“What do you mean sort of?  Am I or am I not?”
“You’re here because Thomas loves you and wanted to introduce you to us.  He said you were strong and opinionated.  A breath of fresh air out in the stifled world.  That you would, if you could, bring about change.  And he thought maybe we could help each other.”
“What do you mean?
“You’re young and there are consequences to your actions.  How it will reflect on you, your family, and anyone affiliated with you, is something you constantly worry about.  Well, we thought, perhaps, together, we could come up with a safe platform and location to initiate change.  You are not the only one in the world who believes what they believe.  We want to help.”
You look at them hopefully.  For the first time, you see your dreams coming true.  Everything you worked so hard for coming to life.  You nod and smile.
Today is the beginning of everything.

The Damage of the Patriarchy

Prompt: pick a social issue you’re passionate about

Where do I begin?  I know that as I’m sitting here trying to think of a social issue I’m passionate about, nothing comes to mind, so hopefully, you’ll bear with me as I sift through my thoughts.

No, it’s not that I don’t have a social issue that I’m passionate about, but it’s just like that scenario when people ask you what is your favourite book or movie and every book or movie you’ve ever read or watched just vanishes from your mind.

I don’t want to be stereotypical, but I feel like feminism, in particular, the patriarchy, is something that I feel myself explaining over and over again.  Maybe feminism is no longer the right term for it because of the negative connotation it’s garnered in years, but at the moment there is no term that has been suggested, to my knowledge, that can replace it.

I can’t count how many times it comes up in discussions that feminism is only for females, that the patriarchy is only damaging to females.  But that’s not the case.  The main thing I want to focus on (because if I don’t focus on one thing we’ll be here all day), is the construct of the feminine and the masculine.  The idea of a woman being a nurturer, of being gentle and graceful and all that, I want to say is BS.  A woman can be all those things if she wants, but she doesn’t have to be.  I strongly believe that women can be anything they want to be.  Men too, but we’ll get to them in a minute.  The idea that a woman must be one thing or another is absurd.  As the quote goes, “everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  Same thing applies here, some are fish, some monkeys, some are snakes.  Just like an animal isn’t wrong for being born as a fish, monkey or snake and doing what’s natural to them, a female isn’t wrong for doing what is natural to her.  And natural is doing what feels right to her, not what society dictates or feels is the right way for her to act.

What society thinks is the right way to act, of course, isn’t limited to restricting females into a certain framework, it does the same to males.  Males are not supposed to cry, to show emotion or weakness, to always protect a woman, provide for his family.  We expect this from males.  We expect them to be dependable and be a rock for his family, but what if that’s not natural for him either?  What if he likes to watch rom-coms?  What if he cries while watching them?  So what?  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t make him any less of a person.

Why do we judge people based on their gender/sex (yes, I know those are two different things, but I’m not getting into that right now)?  Why do we immediately form opinions about how one gender/sex ought to act?  Why can’t we just get to know somebody before we form opinions because what really matters is the content of their hearts, the development of their souls, not what they look like.

This is clearly a shorter version of my usual spiel, but I suddenly forgot how to words, so forgive me.

Paradox of Human Nature

As I’ve grown older, I see more and more of Justice Lawrence Wargrave within myself. For those who do not know, Justice Wargrave is a character out of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. His confession found in a bottle sums up how I’ve been feeling as of late. It is a contradiction within myself that I’ve known about for a long time, but now the conflict has become more apparent. This contradiction has always been of great interest to me. Like Wargrave, I have come to question my beliefs on a philosophical level and in particular to more closely examine my morality. My primary concern is with the morality of acting on my belief especially when it is contrary to what society condones. However, unlike Wargrave, my actions are not projections of violent fantasies to exact justice, mine are far more mild but no less important.

As a child I lived a very sheltered life. Even now I can call the life I lead sheltered. Education was the most highly valued institution in my house. But despite its importance, there were aspects of education that were inaccessible to me and others aspects that made me inaccessible as a result. In essence, due to the fact I was so focus on my academic education, I lacked “street smarts” and have a greatly limited understanding of the slang of my generation compared to my peers. This disconnect was further exacerbated by the fact that I had underdeveloped social skills and therefore was unable to connect with my peers on more than an intellectual level. I was always the one they came to for a nice academic conversation, but not so much for a party or night out. I was essentially the one people came to when they needed help with school work. For this I felt inadequate and at times I still do. However, though I can no longer be considered an introvert, I still prefer to be alone with a good book and a cup of jasmine green tea even if a conversation is more stimulating. I do not actively seek out conversations, rather I sit back and wait to be invited into a conversation.

In essence, I’ve lived a privileged life; everything and anything I wanted came to me. There was very little I had to go out, look for, and procure for myself. This hindered my ability to be independent and even though I have been granted permission, as though it is something that requires permission, to venture out on my own without having to first ask. Even so, my parents require that I tell them who I’m going out with, duration, and location, but for the most part I must arrange for my own transportation there and back. Ironically, they pushed me to get my driver’s licence this summer and I did so in hopes that it would give me some independence, but after I got my licence, I was essential and effectively prevented from driving. A part of me doesn’t even care. It was the part that didn’t want to even get my licence. In learning how to drive another reason to stay off the roads surfaced: Calgary drivers. They are nuts. They are the stupidest drivers I have ever seen. They cut people who are doing the speed limit off, illegal turns, don’t yield to pedestrians, almost run pedestrians over because they’re not looking at where they’re going, dumb cyclists, in other words intolerable. There was only one person I enjoyed driving with and it is highly unlikely I will ever see him again.

This lack of independence has led me to a very limited social life. Oftentimes I’m too afraid to approach someone, especially a guy to announce my intentions of friendship or interest in courtship. Despite being a feminist through and through, I’m still held back by what others will think of me. On the surface I blend in perfectly with society and abide by all its norms. Only in my writing is it revealed “who I really am.” Writing is the only place where I have a voice, where I can express myself clearly. Though I’m not writing treaties in my spare time, my short stories, poetry, and novels deal with feminist issues and opposition feminism faces, at times covertly, but a feminist theme always underlies my work.

Let’s put it this way, if I was a character in a Shakespearean tragedy, one of my flaws would be overanalysing a situation to the point of inactivity. For example, I am by nature a social butterfly and I have the ability to learn things about people without ever having to speak to them. Yes, it can be called gossiping, but I prefer to call it research. This often leads to the formulation of a character sketch and an assessment as to whether or not they would be compatible with my values enough so that I would be willing to maintain an acquaintanceship and/or if proceeding past that level would be worth it. Overanalysis also leads to fear. In my analysis logic controls my passion. I can do nothing under its power but tremble. I would never give in to pleasure to destroy what I’ve already built. My reputation is everything to me. All a woman has, beyond her beauty, is her reputation. This is an instance upon which I fall back on tradition. I would rather live my life in solitude than lose my virtue to someone who doesn’t deserve it. As mentioned earlier, words are my strength, but as with everything, it is also my greatest weakness. Too often have I read into a meaning that was not there or glazed over something that was important or worse yet responded callously. Too often have a attributed anger to a situation in which it was unwarranted. Perhaps this is also telling of another flaw of mine: oversensitivity. I feel everything so much that anything and everything will hurt me. I don’t mean for it to, but it does because I live so intensely. I’m sure the hormones in my blood stream right now aren’t so good for my body, especially since there’s so much of it all the time. To live under the stress of such passion is a price I must pay for the lifestyle I’ve chosen based on the upbringing I’ve had.

I Don’t Dress Pretty For You

I don’t dress pretty for you
I’m not just another piece of eye candy
In such a materialistic, consumerist society
Pleasure is for sale

I don’t dress up to impress you
I’m not just a doll for your entertainment
I have thoughts and feelings
That you could never fathom

Happiness comes at a steep price
Are you prepared to pay?

I was born to live
Like every other human being
I was born with purpose and direction
To be whoever I wish

So don’t you dare reduce me to my biology
I have strength enough to bring you to your knees
I will crush your hopes and dreams for a passive mistress
And make you beg for mercy

In this capitalist world
You can’t afford a girl like me

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