A Few “Selfish” Notes on Feminism
By Elizabeth.Hawksworth on November 01, 2012
It seems everywhere these days I’m encountering a fresh spate of “selfish vs. unselfish” when it comes to any kind of female choice. And frankly, I’m getting tired of it. I’m sick of women decrying each other as “selfish” when they make a choice that the original woman didn’t agree with. I’m sick of people falling all over each other to defend their choices in the wake of an extremely judgemental online and offline community.
People, we already live in a misogynistic world. Just BEING a woman today means we’re “selfish”, “hysterical”, and “unreasonable”. I’m not sure why pointing fingers at other women for making choices that are really, hurting no one, is going to change that. And while we’re at it, can we please erase the words “abusive” and “awful” from these conversations, too? Because a lot of the stuff I see being judged online is neither abusive or awful. And I know firsthand exactly what both words mean.
Here are a few notes I’d like to leave with everyone:
1. Childless people are not more selfish than mothers. Mothers are not more selfish than childless people. Both choices are “selfish”, if you really get down to it. There’s nothing honourable about becoming a parent, and there’s nothing honourable about staying childless. Your personal decision has very, very little chance of changing the world. And no, you won’t necessarily “appreciate” whatever choice you make more than the other. So who cares? Revel in the choice you made – it was the right one for you, in most cases.
2. Stop with the parenting hypocrisy and judgement. Unless they’re refusing to feed their child at all, I don’t want to hear about how someone else’s choice is worse than yours. Unless they’re putting their kid outside in a dumpster to sleep, I don’t want to hear about how unsafe and awful the kid’s sleeping situation is. And unless they’re training them up to be a serial killer, how about you lay off on the parenting style? You don’t have to agree – just stop running them down about it!
3. And let’s talk about body shaming. I know, it’s my pet hobby horse, but come on, everyone. Aren’t we past looking at someone and decrying them a “real woman” or not? We’re all real women. Thin, fat, morbidly obese, anorexically skinny. Everyone who owns a double X chromosome is a real woman, and those who were born in other bodies and have become women through other means and identify that way are women, too. Let’s stop with the “real” and “fake” woman stuff. You can choose to like someone’s body or not, but I’m going to side-eye you if you start up with that judgement in front of me.
4. Lastly: everyone is good enough. Everyone is doing their best. Everyone is selfish, and everyone is giving. “Selfish” shouldn’t be a dirty word when it comes to describing women, because everyone in the world has the ability to be selfish. To be selfish is human. And honestly, I just don’t see how it makes you look any better to call someone else selfish or awful.
I’m just some feminist ranting on my blog. I get that. Maybe you even think I’m selfish, being the woman-child I am. But you know what? It’s not helping me to become a better person. It’s not helping any woman to become better women. When we’re judged, our first reaction is to shut down as a defensive mechanism and then try to defend our choices. Where’s the learning in that?
I just want to see the war between women stop, I guess. A selfish desire, I know.
But wouldn’t it be nice if instead of trying to prove how much better we are than each other, we’re actually looking at what makes women awesome?