Sticks, Stones, and Breaking Blogger Bones
Since I began blogging last March, I have received varied responses regarding my posts. While most agree with what I have to say about feminism and the way women and young girls are overtly sexualized, thus diminishing their power in society, some people, men and women alike, either dismiss or vehemently disagree with my assertions. I don't mind being challenged; this is how discourse begins, but all discourse should be respected, just as all view points should be regarded.
Since blogging, I have received very interesting comments by those who disagree with me. But it's not just me -- I have seen it on other blogs, and it boggles my mind that so many people like to leave their marks of disdain upon someone else's page. Disagree, challenge, argue -- but be respectful.
Here is the list so far, and it hasn't been a full year:
Fascist: Some guy, apparently a very shy man who was given confidence as a man by frequenting Hooters, called me a fascist and more other colorful epithets because he didn't like what I had to say about the girls who worked for Hooters. He and I actually went back and forth a few times. He was trying to defend his position that these girls were guardian angels who taught him to be more comfortable around women, while I was trying to express to him that girls are not put on this earth to make men feel better about themselves, but that this is the function of the Hooters restaurant. And yes, I admit that my Hooters piece is aggressive in its voice and angst, but I cannot imagine any woman not resisting its existence, and I cannot believe that it is allowed to stand and prosper and grow in quantity because it is using sex and girls to bring in male customers. It's sexism at its best, the oldest trick of patriarchy, and it baffles me that no one is trying to break down its walls and spit in this establishment's facade.
Am I a fascist? Clearly, no. Am I angry? Absolutely, vehemently, passionately, yes. We should all be angry that something like this is going on, and we should be angry that this place calls itself a family restaurant, where fathers actually take their sons to dine, because it is not. I am angry and frustrated because I am a woman raising a little girl, and I want that world to welcome her with respect, not sexist conditions and requirements. And I am saddened that I feel alone in this fight,wondering where all the women champions are. Where are they hiding, and what are they doing, because men won't make these changes; they're benefiting from it. While young girls, Hooters and starlets alike, are financially profiting from subscribing to the sexist laws that make them rich and famous. Call me a fascist then, because I will sing this song until I can sing no more -- and like a siren, my song will be heard and destroy the ships of patriarchy and the men that fight so hard to maneuver their laws upon the choppy seas in which they will drown.
Man-Hater: Juxtaposed with my aforementioned siren song and bringing down ships and men, I suppose you think, yeah well, she does sound like a man-hater. I am not a man-hater. There are quite a few men I like. I am married to a most amazing man who agrees with me on some things and challenges me on others. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And when I talk about sexism and men, I mean the men that participate in the sexualization of women. But let's not forget the fact that this is the man's world and that they are privileged. Societies all over the world welcome them and empower them simply because they are born boys. Girls have always been looked upon as secondary entities that function to serve the needs of men. Being a woman, their fight is not mine. My fight is for my daughter and for all the girls out there who are victimizedbecause they are girls.
Carpet Muncher: this is perhaps my favorite. Being a woman, I cannot argue against the aggressive sexist assaults placed upon women unless I am a lesbian. If I am an angry man, I am strong, confident, and impassioned; but if my anger comes from a feminine body, then I have to be a lesbian. I am an angry bitch, a man-hater, a carpet muncher. I cannot just be an impassioned woman, a strong woman, a worried mother. I must be a lesbian.
Ugly and Fat: A guy once commented that I must be fat. Nope. Not fat. And not even ugly. I'm not drop dead gorgeous, but what does that mean? Only ugly, fat women fight the fight for gender equality? But of course , a beautiful girl would never resent being paraded around as a sex symbol. Beautiful women love playing the role of eye candy, no? Just to show you how deep this rhetoric goes, I often teach Margaret Atwood's essay, Pornography to my College writing students. A few years back, an older male student looked at her picture and said: "You know, seeing how she looked, I can see why she is a feminist. She's not a very pretty woman." She's ugly, therefore she must be a feminist.
Sick in The Head - another reader told me I was sick in the head for the things I write. And perhaps I am. I didn't have a normal childhood, which perhaps defines and shapes my perceptions. I saw things that many people don't see without being changed, and usually the change brings them to that which is familiar. But I fled from what I witnessed. It was so repugnant to me that I had to be the opposite of the mother that pushed me out of her cavernous and affected belly. And my sight has been tainted since birth, since first coming to know her.
I possess Thoreau's "true gaze," and I see beyond the surface of things presented to me. I dig beneath the white picket fences, the business suits, and the cupcake-baking, baby-toting myths of the maternal. And as much as people can't relate to me, disagree with me, resent me, and dismiss me, I love my sight. It makes me different, and I respect the gift of this sight. It forces me to see beyond the comforts of my simple existence, it awakens my sense of justice, it emboldens me to fight for change, and it makes me feel good to fight for something good and honest and necessary in life. I may not move mountains or change laws with my blog, but at least I'm putting my voice out there among the millions, and some people actually hear me. Or read me, really. And that suffices, for now.
Copyright© 2010 by Marina DelVecchio. All Rights Reserved.