I’m starting to get frustrated with feminists who think that, as long as they ‘choose’ to wear high heels, it’s OK. Who think that, as long as they ‘choose’ to be a SAHM, it’s OK. Who think that, as long as they ‘choose’ to iron their partner’s shirts, it’s OK.
It isn’t OK.
Well, let me rephrase: it’s OK and yet, it isn’t helping women on a bigger scale. It isn’t problematic to individual women and yet it contributes to women being and remaining the sex caste.
Many feminists are familiar with the idea that our choices do not occur in a vacuum. This is feminism 101, something you pick up when you start reading feministy blogs and forums. All the choices we make are illusions. There’s a reason why we do things. There’s a reason why I chose to wear the dress I’m wearing right now: it’s pwetty! It ‘flatters’ my ‘womanly’ figure. And people compliment me on it. I love it so much that I sometimes wear it twice a week.
There’s also a reason why I’m wearing the shoes I’m wearing: it’s pwetty! The receptionist at works loves it. It’s also mostly comfortable.
So it’s dishonest to say that wearing high heels is a feminist act when it comes with so many rewards. It’s dishonest to say that showing cleavage, as I’m doing today, is a feminist act. And it’s dishonest to think that presenting as femme, as I’m doing today, is a feminist act.
I’m taking up very little space right now because the dress I’m wearing is forcing me to sit with closed legs. My handbag is on the ground for all to see. I’m sitting with my feet together. My hair is blow-dried and is bra-length. I look like a ‘womanly woman’, one who would be nurturing and passive and charming.
The rest of the people in the coffee shop would never guess I’m a radical feminist. They’d never guess with how much passion I can debate. They’d never guess that I only shave my armpits on special occasions. Worse, still, I’m not giving any of the women here the idea that it’d be OK to present as butch.
I’m not doing much to overthrow the kyriarchy today. Besides writing this blog post. ‘Cause you see, I’m conforming, whether it’s my ‘choice’ or not. There’s a certain way that society wants me to look and I’m going along. I’m not disturbing anyone’s idea of what a woman should look like. I am reaping the rewards of the kyriarchy. Why? Well, the kyriarchy has a wonderful loyalty programme with plenty of rewards: beneficial treatment, compliments and many more. The other reason is because I’ve been socialised to present as feminine. And there are probably also tons of other reasons why I go along, reasons that I might not even know of.
I own that. I own my ‘choices’. And I am aware that presenting as a femme is not going to overthrow the kyriarchy. Whether I’m OK with that is a different matter.
I just wish more feminists would realise that everything they do contributes towards everything else, even, *especially* the kyriarchy.
And that radical feminists, as far as I’m aware, aren’t judging the women who go along with the kyriarchy. We judge their choices, as much as we judge our own. We’re not saying women/feminists *should* or shouldn’t do something; we’re saying that many of the things we do are problematic. That’s the difference.