Feminazi Vs. Meninist (Who’s Right?)

Published July 24, 2015 by Maggie Williams

Feminism is a hot button topic at the moment. Everyone seems to be discussing it, or maybe that’s just the cyber world that I live in. I’ve watched a couple Men’s Rights Activist vs. Feminist videos and I have thoughts. Oh boy, do I have thoughts. Tuck in, kids, this is going to be a long bedtime story.

So as this battle rages, it is increasingly turning into a men vs. women all-out war. Women say “Our lives suck because of our society”, and then men come back with “Quit whining, we have it worse”. It goes back and forth like that until it just turns into a huge shouting match that doesn’t accomplish anything. The truth is, and I know this may be hard for some people to accept, we have it equally as bad. Each group just has it bad in different areas.

Women are taught that our worth comes from our physical appearance. We are the nurturers, the domestic sex, the property. We aren’t allowed to be thinkers, to be the outspoken ones, to be the strong protectors. And when I say “we aren’t allowed”, I know that by law we have to be allowed. I also know that, by law, people aren’t allowed to do drugs, and what still happens? It’s all about societal expectations, not what the law does or does not allow us to do. It’s about changing people’s perspectives on the capabilities of women and girls and, more importantly, changing women and girls’ perspectives of themselves.

Women have a lot of trouble being equally represented in STEM fields, and as the heads of companies. And, no, I don’t think that companies should hire less-qualified people in order to diversify. I think that we should change the way we bring up girls, so that they can be more interested in CEO positions than in whether or not they look presentable enough to leave the house today. This is not to say that someone shouldn’t be allowed to care about their appearance. People should be allowed to be passionate about whatever they want, as long it doesn’t harm anyone. The key word here is “want”. I don’t want to have days where I look in the mirror and cry because I feel so terrible about the way I look, as if it were the epitome of my being. No one wants that, but that is often forced on us by the views of the world we live in.

I also understand that men feel self-conscious about their appearances as well. Everyone is taught to hate their bodies in our society, but that’s a discussion for a different time. The fact of the matter is that men are not taught to base their importance on how physically attractive they are to the female gaze, like women are with men.

What men are taught to base their importance on is status symbols. How nice is your car, how big is your house, how much money do you make in a year? Men aren’t allowed to have emotions, or feel pain, or be anything other than the aggressor. Where women must remain eternally weak, men must remain eternally strong, with no help and no faltering. Common points that I’ve seen discussed are that “Men are the ones expected to fight wars”, “Men are the ones expected to protect women, at their own peril”, and “Men are the ones who have to financially support women in romantic relationships”. All of these things are true from a broad societal standpoint. None of these things are fair.

I understand the fighting, I really do. No one likes to be accused of things. People are passionate about equal rights, and I think that is an amazing thing. And, it’s true that women will always be more passionate about gaining their own rights than helping men gain their rights, and vice versa for men. I don’t think that that is a bad thing. We should all be at the center of our own lives. It makes sense that we care about ourselves more than anyone else in the world. It’s called survival. The important thing is to not only care about yourself. Men can care about their rights more, that’s fine. But they should try to care as close to equally about women’s rights as they can, and vice versa is true for women.

Neither side should be holding the other back from gaining the equality that they need. There shouldn’t even be sides. I think people often forget that we shouldn’t be fighting each other. When we fight each other, it only makes progress harder. Instead, let’s turn our attention to the real problem- society, the media, and the reigning factor- gender roles. Let’s break down the ideas in ourselves, and in others, that it means a certain thing beyond biology to be born a man or a woman. Let’s try to create equal opportunities for both sexes by battling the ideas that got us into this mess, instead of the people who are trying to get us out.

And so, with all this equality, I think of another common argument that I see- “Why call it ‘feminist’ if it’s about equality? Doesn’t that already exclude one group?” To me, it doesn’t. The word “feminist” works for me because, as I see it, I am fighting for femininity to no longer be seen as weak. I want women to be allowed to be feminine and strong. I want men to be allowed to be strong and feminine. The word itself assigns a gender to certain attributes, and that is also a problem, but for now, it keeps everything in plain terms.

The thing I find funny is that “meninist” and “feminist” are the same thing. Well, I’m not actually sure of that. I’ll be frank, I haven’t actually looked into what most self-proclaimed meninists believe, but it makes sense to me that they would believe that men should be allowed to be masculine and vulnerable, and women should be allowed to be vulnerable and masculine. If that’s not what the movement is, please feel free to correct me, but I think you get the gist of it.

When it comes down to it, the words we use are irrelevant. They don’t matter even a little in comparison to what everyone is trying to accomplish. You can use whatever word works for you- feminist, meninist, equalist, whatever- as long as everyone comes to understand that we’re in this together. We’re all fighting toward a common end goal. We all want to live our lives happily and true to ourselves, without feeling shamed by our society.

And with this final statement (at last), I implore you to stop arguing among other people who simply want equality. We need to band together so that we can solve our first-world issues, so that we can, in turn, fight for those who have even worse lives than we do because of the age-old gender roles that still have such a tight hold on us. And though it can be difficult, I also ask you to try and present your argument to those who don’t understand this issue in a calm and kind manner. At one time or another, none of us was aware of the unfairness of gender roles, and you might not be the person you are today if someone had been condescending and shamed you because you hadn’t realized this problem existed. Shouting and being defensive really does not help to inform people. I know you’re probably passionate about it, and that’s wonderful, but just try and give others a kind introduction so that they can learn to be passionate as well.

Be kind to others and try to see things from their perspective. Close-mindedness is for people who would hold back progress, not those who want equality. Stay happy, be nice to people, and and get your activist on.

How My Life Is Like “The Princess Diaries” Right Now

Published July 23, 2015 by Maggie Williams

I’m talking about the books by Meg Cabot, not the flawless Anne Hathaway movie. The novels were way less PG and didn’t keep my attention as well, but I read all of them, and I think I remember enjoying them. And now, several years later, I’m noticing strange parallels between Princess Mia’s life and my own:

1. Mia and I both want to be writers. I actually already wanted to be a writer when I read those books, but, you know. I had to have more than two things on this list.

2. I recently got a haircut, and with the new shoulder-length thing I have going on, I completely understand Mia’s triangle-shaped hair issues. It’s flatter near the top, and then poofier at the bottom, so my head looks like a trigonometry teacher’s dream.

3. I am chronically uncool, and always have been.

4. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to go to Sarah Lawrence in New York for college. It was Mia’s dream school, and it’s mine too.

5. Those are the only similarities because my best friend doesn’t have an attractive brother for me to fall in love with and, despite what I told everyone in third grade, I’m not actually descended from royalty. I also am not good at keeping a diary.

So what I’m saying is that I’m Mia pre-princess. Feel free to come out of the woodwork now, distant royal relatives. I could use some of that cash money so I can actually go to my dream college. (By the way, who else thought Genovia was a real place as a kid? My mom certainly thought it was as an adult, so don’t feel bad about yourself.)

A Late-Night Book Thought #1

Published July 12, 2015 by Maggie Williams

I love Emma Watson as much as the next person, but I am really not cool with her playing Kelsea in the Queen of the Tearling movie. I, for one, want to see a badass female character who isn’t conventionally beautiful, as most of us are not. And how are they going to do half of the scenes anyway? Literally every time Kelsea meets someone new, they’re like “Wow, ur mom was beautiful. Ur rlly plain actually. Tbh, ur not pretty at all.” I’d rather not go through the ridiculousness of the creators trying to have us pretend for one second that Emma Watson is plain. Get an actress that looks like a normal human. Like Kelsea is supposed to. Emma Watson can be the damn Red Queen or some shit.

Melodramatic First-World Complaints: Work

Published July 7, 2015 by Maggie Williams

Work: a four-letter word for the place where your creativity goes to die. Is there any other place so miserable as behind the counter at a fast-food restaurant? Who I am while I’m at work terrifies me. I work hard, don’t get me wrong. I’m kind to customers and my coworkers, even when they don’t deserve it. I’m pretty much a model employee. But it’s almost like when I’m at work, I lose myself. And not in a good way.

The repeated pattern of mundane starts to do things to you after a year. When you know everything there is to know about your job, and you know you can no longer advance, a horrible feeling sinks in. When I go to work, I disappear for a while. All of my thoughts and creativity is squashed and I become a pod person. Smile, make the food, do the dishes, silently want to scream at my coworkers for not working. The miserableness of the work is blocked out of my memory when I get home. It’s like I spent the last 2-4 hours in a coma. Nothing would be as horrible for me as being forced to work in such an atmosphere for the rest of my life.

My mind seeks creativity on an almost constant basis. I’m always thinking up new stories or scenes or pictures. But all that stops as soon as I walk through the door of the restaurant. The mindless work dulls my senses and destroys my happy thoughts. It’s broken me down so much after a year that I literally dread it every time I have to go to work. I won’t lie, I hate my job. I actually hate it, with every fiber of my being. So why do I stay? What’s the point?

Most recently, I stay because of money. We all just got a raise and I get paid very well, compared to other workplaces of the same caliber. I will have the money when I want to use it to feel the opposite of how I feel while I’m earning it. I need to fund my moments of life somehow, and working a job that I know and understand probably isn’t the worst way to do it. I also stay because I know it’s temporary. Only a year more and I can quit, move on to the next chapter of my life at college, and hopefully never have to return. I’m not exaggerating when I say that if I had to live and work like this for the rest of my life, I would literally kill myself. Is money a good enough reason to put myself through these miserable, hateful hours? That seems like a topic for another time.

When You Have Multiple Writing Projects

Published July 2, 2015 by Maggie Williams

I can never win with myself. Last week, I did so much writing and editing for a couple of scholarship portfolios and a YA competition. The entire time, all I could think was, “I should really be working on my novel instead of this”.

So far this week, I’ve worked on my novel. I met my goal from last week, congratulations. Except now all I can think about is how I should be working on scholarship portfolios and college application essays instead. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, SELF? I can’t work on everything at once! I just need to calm down and remind myself that as long as I’m writing something, I should be pleased. (That “something” includes this myriad of blog posts lately. I mean, what even is this blog inspiration? No one’s even reading any of the reviews, but I just keep writing them. I’m even annoying myself.)

That goes for you, too. Write something. Write anything. Be proud that you didn’t spend the whole day watching Orange Is the New Black. As long as some words have been jotted, typed, scribbled, or otherwise brought into the world, your day wasn’t an entire failure.

(I also feel like mentioning that I just had a total spaz attack because I wrote the outline for my next chapter, and it is the perfect puzzle piece to lead to the next part of the story. I hugged my book bible and said the words “I’m so happy” aloud, to myself, way too enthusiastically. Stick with this whole writing thing for moments like those. I think I will too.)

Chapter Six Is Being a Bitch

Published July 1, 2015 by Maggie Williams

I hate it when I’ve been through a chapter to edit it like ten times, and it still isn’t right. Like, please work with me, words. I am so tired of reading this crap that my brain will probably never think it’s good. I just want to move on and write other things! Quit holding me back. I’m tempted to just let it suck at this point. Who needs a sixth chapter at all anyway?

Update:

I finally got chapter six as close to right as I could and sent it off to my alpha reader. There is hope!

Another Update:

I went to start chapter seven and realized that it didn’t fit at all with my revised plot, so I ended up deleting the whole thing. It then dawned on me that from this point on, almost everything in my novel will have to be completely rewritten. I think it was the closest to hysteria I have ever felt. It literally induced an insane laugh attack. I looked like a total lunatic.

And now I kind of want to cry. Bye-bye, everything. All those words, for naught. *Sigh*

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