Sep 29, 2012

Rambling feminists

I've decided to post an email exchange between my sister and I in order to share how confused we feel about a young woman in today's world. Obviously it's not the same case for everyone but I'd be interested to know if others feel like this too......

A feminist rant

I'm reading "Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Woman", a feminist tract written years ago and I'm beginning to understand why all of this is so confusing. By all of this I mean the two opposing thoughts that are always inside me. Firstly, the "I'm a feminist, I'm independent, I don't need a guy, if he doesn't like me that's fine."

Secondly, the "how do I act, I shouldn't seem too flirty/desperate, I can't go crazy after he breaks my heart, I need to be self-contained and self possessed and be a lady."

But these are their rules - men's rules. Or, rather, women's rules for living in a man's world. What about my own rules?? Why can't I be both a feminist, and be independent but also sometimes desperately crave a guy's attention and go bat shit crazy when he hurts me?? Why am I advising my sister to cut herself away from her ex, to not make the same mistakes I made with my ex, when I kept emailing/texting him for about 3 months after he broke up with me? I say it's because I don't want her to prolong her hurt but maybe keeping it inside herself is more damaging.

Why do we tell ourselves that we are independent women but then adhere to the societal rules that tell us the "right" way to act with a guy? Because we allll do. I'm probably the worst at this, always telling my girlfriends to relax, just be cool, act like this, don't be like that.

Argh. I'm still as confused as ever but at least I know where my confusion is arising from. We are bombarded from all sides by contradictory messages. You are strong, and you don't need a man...but this is how you should act when you want one.

K bye

First of all, this book sounds fun - I want to read it.

Secondly, being a woman, perhaps more so than being a man is a continuous paradox. It seems, especially those of us who believe in feminist values, that we're condemned to fight with ourselves constantly. But the key to all this confusion is to accept it - I am a feminist but I also want to be held by a man and for him to tell me that he'll love me forever. 

Thirdly, in terms of break ups (which SUCK MASSIVE BALLS!) everyone reacts completely differently and you have to do what you believe is best for you. You should try and listen to your friends and to yourself deep down but fuck it, life's here to make big mistakes and act like a fool because that's the only we learn. Without these shitty times we just wouldn't understand a whole lot of emotions or truly live life to the full. Such a cliche - but 'better to have loved and lost (and become hysterical on the way) than not to have loved at all.....'

I truly believe you can be a feminist (in whatever way you believe a feminist to be) and also be a hysterical, ‘give me some lovin’ NOW’ woman. It's the beauty of being a human being filled with such a variety of emotions.

Accepting that we can be both is hard but I think once we reach that level of acceptance then life will become that little bit easier... I THINK!

S xx



  1. Being a feminist plays no part in the behavior every human displays when craving love and affection; be it a child starved of motherly care or a gay guy who's just been cheated on. Being rejected is a very painful experience for everyone and how we behave afterwards is testament to the human experience.

  2. I think it plays a part once we start to develop feminist ideals/ideas/values - we get confused because we feel like we shouldn't feel rejected, we should feel strong and independent - that's part of the feminist discourse. I don't necessarily agree with it of course and I agree with you that feeling rejected is a basic instinct and hurt is hurt. Your comment is interesting because you make it sound so simple and I guess that's the way it should be but it certainly doesn't feel like that (for me anyway).

  3. That is like saying a man shouldn't feel rejected because otherwise he isn't 'manly.' The importance of feminism is not playing up to a particular stereotype but encouraging women and men to be and feel independent as themselves, but also feel this as part of a relationship which includes feeling the need for love, security, truth etc. Just because you want to be loved by someone, it doesn't mean you are not an independent person. If you haven't found a balance, (and that is what you are after) then you haven't found the right person for you.

    But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like a king abandoning a conquered kingdom, or like a great elephant in the deep forest
    – The Buddha