Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Plea of Justice for Mankind, Womankind, and Everyone Else

I like to think I am a feminist. I have seen women being pushed into the dirt by the heels of oppressive men. I have witnessed segregation, discrimination, and violence towards women because of their gender. And have I only seen it in Saudi Arabia? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I see it everywhere, almost every day. Hell, I see it on the internet all the time, and also in movies, on TV, and in video games.

lara croft Lara Croft Street
Hello, I'm Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider series. I'm more than just smart, hot and capable of doing awesome, acrobatic things you'll never be able to do - I am objectified by the people who design me AND those who are my fans!

Does this therefore mean that I hate men? Do I sit around, shaking my fist and cursing the male sex and gender for their crimes against my beloved womankind? Never. And I, the Burdened Mary of this honest, humble blog, will never stoop so low as to look down upon the "opposite*" sex or gender and all genders in between. I know very well that we ALL have it rough.

Those who hate women are my enemies - but so are those who hate men. These people-haters have no business in high positions of power or even in the lower positions. They are committing a crime against humanity by separating the sexes to a crazy, more-than-biological extent and creating stupid, unobtainable standards that don't make any sense in real life.

arnold schwarzenegger conan
Look at me! I'm Conan the BARBARIAN! Guys are supposed to want to be like me and envy me for my massive...sword.

Who are these people? What right do they have to undermine our personal preferences and personalities and elevate their ideas of man/womanhood over our likes or dislikes? I don't know the people "in control" personally, but if I knew even one, I'd punch them in the face and spit on them. They have done more harm and injustice to men and women than we could ever imagine. Is there a prison fit for these jerks? I don't think there is. I don't know what they deserve, but if fair judgment is passed upon them, in my eyes the punishment they receive should be severe.

What is even worse for us males, females, and gender-benders is that there are so many people who buy into these ideas of masculinity and femininity. They even feel that they have the right to make us feel guilty for being any different than what they imagine! These people end up becoming our teachers, presidents, colleagues or, even worse, our family members. Misguided and dominating brothers, sisters, parents, and extended family members have had the right to say "You are my daughter/wife/sister and you have no right to go out dressed like that" or "You are a boy, you can't play with those toys."

These are people who we are supposed to trust and love, and most of the time, they love us back. Sometimes, family is out to hurt and abuse you, I know that this can happen. But what is just as painful to me is that there are some family members who are genuinely concerned about these strange ideas that have been pressed into their minds!

However, it is people in the position of power who screw things up just as badly, if not even worse. These are people who do not think about the people they love but only about their selfish ideals. These are people who do not want to see women have any power and they are the same people who will curse and beat down men who agree with ideas of equality.

These people are not your family, but if they are, that creates even more pressure on you - I'm sorry. And these people deal only in pressure and guilt! They can be political figures, important people in your society, or religious figures. They are men and women and they stick solemnly and faithfully to their prescribed gender role. They do not bend for anyone because appearance is more important than true emotions or reason.

I have seen this all over the world. There are religious groups who say that women will go to Hell for cutting their hair short, and that men are sinners for hugging or holding hands with their friends. There are political AND religious groups that forbid women from driving or men from asking an attractive person out for coffee. I have met people who will not let their daughters wear trousers nor their sons wear purple or rainbow motifs.

What kind of world do we live in? These people are twisting religion, morality, and values all in the name of those very respective things. They are doing it for their own gain or for the gain of their group. I am tired of this, but I cannot escape it. It will be so long before the incorrect and evil idea of human-created gender roles will break down that I probably will die before I see greater change.

This is not a question of Saudis or Americans or Mauritians or anyone else. This is a problem for the world. And no, no country has it worse than anywhere else. Men who wear earrings are looked at funny in certain places and, in the same way, women who do not cover their faces are looked down upon in others. Every country has its ideas of what men and women should do and how they should behave. The one thing that is always insisted upon is that they are separated and put into groups. I am not talking about the segregation that exists here in many parts of Saudi Arabia, like in malls or restaurants. I am talking about the idea that men and women are so different from each other biologically, that every single thing about them must be different.

No, I cannot agree. Men and women biologically have their differences and this definitely stems out into some behavioural patterns. This does not mean that they are meant to be kept apart and scrutinised in different ways; that they cannot interact with one another or share certain goals, dreams, or preferences. All of this is petty and fabricated by people who have nothing but their own gain or archaic, unfounded traditions in mind. 

Hey, guys. I'm Ganesh, a Hindu deity, but a lot of other religions worship and respect me. Students usually pray to me to get my blessings and do well on exams. I'm cool like that.

If you want to bring God into this issue, let me say this: no God said that women should not work. No God said that they cannot wear trousers or cut their hair short. No God said that men need to look like Jake Gyllenhaal in the Prince of Persia movie or enjoy only horror or action films. Yes, there are rules in different holy books about what women and men should do, and I certainly do not agree with some of them. I understand that some of these things come from a distinct and specific historical context, while others I just can't wrap my head around. But, in the end, most of these things are decided - by - people.

See those links? What religion makes it okay to make women's lives difficult? I am sorry I couldn't find anything in particular about the treatment of men, but I think that is just as important. What happens to men is just as bad, but it is damn hard to find information about it in a Google search. That, to me, is just deplorable**. Talk to anybody and they can tell you - men do not have it easy. The fact that they barely have a voice about their issues of gender is testament to that - if they complain, are they taken seriously? Probably by some other men, but not everybody. And don't even mention people who do not necessarily identify with their gender or sex - they have it even worse, and their voice is even smaller. I had to go to college to understand only a few of the issues that they face, and I am still learning.

I understand the situation of women more than I do that of men or those of other genders/sexes. I cannot be their voice; it wouldn't be right. In spite of this, I am on the side of people - not only men or women - who want to see equity and the diminishment of gender roles. I know I am not alone in this. The people who create these absurd roles need to be spoken out against - even if we are not sure who they are, or who is at the root of it all. In case even one of them is listening, or reading, all of the fighting that you are willing to devote is worth it.

* The term "opposite sex" is so weird and wrong to me, but it's commonplace. It's extremely problematic.

** Unless I searched for the wrong thing...if anyone has good links to issues of men and masculinity that are easy to reach, PLEASE inform me. A lot of stuff I found was, to say the least, very sexist.


  1. Hey lady, I agree with you in so many ways. I work in a male dominated field, and sometimes it becomes hard. We even see this on the internet all the time with the overused "A girl on the internet?! NO WAY"'s such a old idea and it irritates me.

    Even though I consider myself a feminist, I still do fully believe as well as yourself that men and women ARE different, and that is what makes us unique as individuals. I believe our rights should be equal, but I will always acknowledge the differences between our genders. =)

  2. Correct me if I am wrong or heard this wrong, but I heard that the Bible said not for women to have short hair because the prostitutes at that time wore short hair. Kind of like someone roaming the street corners wearing a short leather skirt with high boots and such....

  3. @Anonymous: Thank you very much for pointing this out. I did more research (I got to Google search using funny keywords!) and you are right, the Bible does mention that women should not cut their hair (although I have seen that some people say that the Bible is more against women shaving their heads than cutting the hair - something that I believe is said in Islam, too - I know I've heard it!). This is apparently in Corinthians. I looked up the verse and found it in the King James Version online and...well, I think this is the verse that contains everything that makes me feel extremely uncomfortable and upset about certain religions/interpretations of religion.

    Also: The idea that short hair = prostitute or short leather skirt + high boots = slut is, well, created by a society or media. If all lawyers had a uniform of short hair, leather skirts and high boots, I think we'd find that kind of outfit to be quite sensible and professional!

    But yes, I get your point. According to the Bible, we shouldn't identify ourselves as prostitutes and dress like them because prostitution is a sin. That's gotta be hard; prostitutes wear all kinds of things to please their customers now. Sure narrows down what we can wear! Life is simple! ;D

    @Sar Thank you so much for your words. I am sorry you have found hardships in your field. That really isn't fair. I hope every day that this GIRL on the INTERNET?! thing goes away but I still see it. Some of the people who used to be amazed are starting to get used to the idea, though. I think there is hope in that realm.

    I think a lot of so-called feminists make the mistake that women are exactly the same as or superior to men, so it's nice to hear you say that you accept the differences like I do. Women will always have their girl things and men will always have their guy things because we are biologically different, but a lot of the other differences are constructed.

  4. For the clothing thing. Sadly some groups of people ruin that stuff. Such as the Swastika, is used for a religious symbol for Eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Now if you wanted to show your Swastika like people show crosses for their religious believes people will judge you for this symbol that got ruined by a small little group called the Nazis.

    For the "If all lawyers had a uniform of short hair, leather skirts and high boots, I think we'd find that kind of outfit to be quite sensible and professional!" people would still judge these people because who really likes lawyers?


    Sorry I do not mean to take your post off topic. It is interesting how you can lead from the genders to then talking about other things. Let me regroup. I really liked how you were talking about both men and women. I really liked that I remember at Wells most people only talked about women because men do not have any problems with that stuff at all.

    Side note I think your writing is great. Have you spoken English your entire life? Well obviously not when you were young.

    Also sorry I do not remember my livejournal stuff :P

  5. sorry if this is going to be so random.

    your blog reminds me of esmeralda :)

  6. @Hotcakes
    It's okay! :) I love Esmeralda (the Disney one) so thank you! :D

    Don't worry!! I don't mind if things go a little off topic. That has never bothered me!
    Haha @ the lawyers comment...I ALMOST made a quip about how they would be hated anyway but I decided to be a little classy...hahaha how silly of me.
    I have spoken English my entire life, it is my first language, however I was also speaking Creole. I eventually learned French, too.
    Men DO have these same issues even if they manifest in different ways. I know that yes, men have been in positions of power but the men in these positions have made life hard for everyone, not just women. And yeah, I also know that powerful women have caused a lot of garbage, too. Both men, women, and everyone in between have had serious problems because of these issues.

  7. Oh cool. I feel better knowing English if you first language. My first reaction was wow, she is a much better writer than I am. But great blog :D


  8. I agree with you in every way. I am a Native American man living in a post-colonialist western world. Hell its still colonialism as far as I am concerned.

    You see, I raised three daughters by myself. My wife left and she left them with me.

    She was looking for that something that was missing.

    I raised my daughters to believe that they could do anything. They all graduated from University and live their own lives.

    The pendulum swings both ways. Try to live in the balance.

  9. I am very pleased to hear from a man who dedicates his life to his children and wants his daughters to grow strong and independent. I am not trying to say that men are incapable on instilling independence in their children, but sometimes I see such garbage that it is a relief to be reminded that there are good fathers in the world. Thank you.

    Living in the balance is exactly what I try to do, and what I encourage people to do. You are very right to say that. You only find happiness in balance, not really in extremes (although extremes bring you short term happiness).

    Your wife may have been looking for whatever it was she was missing, but in the end she missed out on an opportunity to raise her own children. I don't know what she wanted to do but I hope you found happiness and that she did, too. Everyone deserves happiness. I am really proud that you were able to raise two girls on your own. I am sure it was no easy feat.

    As for the post-colonialism...oh God, don't even get me started. I think you've got me inspired to write a whole new post. Let's just say that I see evidence of colonialism being very alive today all over the world. Everywhere I have been - even here in Saudi - I see attitudes that not only stem from colonialism but have repeated the exact same formula. I hope and pray we are all better than that, but who knows.

    Hey, feel free to email me sometime if you ever want to talk. I mean that as a person, by the way, not as a blogger. Or, of course, you can always talk to me right here. :)