Tuesday, March 18, 2008

But women are the worst when it comes to criticizing women

I don't think this statement is true (I've personally heard men say bloody awful things), but many women certainly do seem to police each others' appearance and behaviour - weight gain, weight loss, skirt too short, drinks too much - in such a way that men like to notice and point it out.

To me, this is symptomatic of an oppressed group. Low-level employees in a work environment, for example, will often focus on each other; how are they getting ahead? Are they making us all look bad? Why are they getting special treatment? Oh good, they've done that wrong too so I don't feel such a failure. Should I be different somehow?

And on. When the boss is out of earshot in a social environment, he/she will be the butt of jokes, slagged off and complained about. Some real and important issues will often arise, and there will be a sense of bonding between the employees with the boss absent.

When women relax and bond with each other in this way, complaints/jokes about male partners will regularly come into conversation, and there is usually much in common: He doesn't listen, he doesn't do enough, he doesn't empathise with me etc.

A lot of women don't realise that whilst in a way they are complaining about their individual partners, they are actually recognizing a pattern of behaviour in men that is inevitable in patriarchal society, where things are skewed in favour of men (although how much this benefits men is questionable) and so they feel disinclined to alter their behaviour & appearance. Therefore, women must change themselves if they feel something is wrong.

Best not question the 'boss', ie male-dominated society.

There are patterns of behaviour in women under patriarchy too, like policing each others' behaviour and appearance.

Round and round we go.

Thus, nothing short of a revolution is going to get rid of Heat magazine.


Anonymous Arantxa said...

Men would love to think that women can't get on. Nothing could be further from the truth. I find it very easy to work co-operatively with women. Whether it means negotiating how to get a fridge up the stairs or organise a work-load.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Yay, I'm glad to see you back! :)

I agree with arantxa, I generally get on better with women because we get things done, we can co-operate. However, I have found, like you mention, women (and even young girls and teenage girls) police each other's appearance and behaviour and so on. I haven't found this with my feminist friends though (who are so supportive and wonderful).

I have noticed that men will say, or expect, women to somehow be "naturally" 'bitchy' or backstabbing with each other or about other people. They seem to expect women to somehow be in 'competition' or something. Gah.

2:51 AM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

This blog is such a waste of your effort and talent, why dont you fight for a worthy genderless cause rather than wasting your time trying to be part of some make-believe feminist movement? I like how you write, but your ideas and perceptions make me furious.

My guess is your actual life experience is very limited. I'd be interested to know in particular about the job's you have had in your past as I suspect they have been a large influence on your current thought process.

The one common bond we all have in this world, including you and I, is that we are human. Theres no reason to talk about men vs women anymore. The fact is we pretty much all have the same benefits and problems now.

To Arantxa. I'm glad you find it easy to work with everysingle woman out there. I generally find I get on with some women and some men. Like most other people in the world.

To Liz, I dont understand how you can get away saying "men will say, or expect, women to somehow be 'naturally' 'bitchy' or backstabbing". Surely you are being just as judgemental by expecting men to say that?

4:33 PM  
Blogger jo22 said...

"This blog is such a waste of your effort and talent, why dont you fight for a worthy genderless cause rather than wasting your time trying to be part of some make-believe feminist movement?"

Aw, tis ok, don't spend all day on it.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

Do you spend the rest of the day rallying for feminists everywhere, except aiming all your criticisms at entirely the wrong people?

5:49 PM  
Blogger jo22 said...

No, I spend the rest of the day on facebook, natch.

Who are the 'wrong people'?

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

In this case, I think 'everyone who isnt a publicly announced feminist' fits into the category of 'wrong people'.

This whole idea of being a feminist nowadays isn't about getting equal rights, we have those and now it seems like a small minority have made it their business to go one further and make it about the disempowerment of the opposite sex altogther. Half the problem is all you seem to be doing is alienating not only the men who might read your site, but your alienating women who can appreciate the good writing but see straight through the bad-logic. Surely this only promotes tensions between the exact people you are trying to change?

6:09 PM  
Blogger jo22 said...

Please point out to me the bad logic, and explain what you mean by equal rights. I don't know many women, feminist or otherwise, that think we've achieved them yet.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh really, so what are you prevented from doing currently? What part of your existance is hampered by 'men'?

11:04 AM  
Blogger jo22 said...

Do your own research. Amnesty International has a good section on Womens' Rights.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Hmmm. Some people!

There is a huge women's liberation movement out there, Dawn. Not many women will come out and actually admit they are a 'feminist': not all people I know know that I am a feminist, because I am afraid of their reactions - like yours!

It's not a make-believe movement, it is actually happening, but the media won't give it airtime because there is a backlash against feminism. Feminism hasn't even arrived yet, and is a long way from finishing what it started. Discrimination is so much more subtle now than it used to be.

I am not being judgemental by saying that generally, the perception on TV, popular opinion etc is that women are 'bitchy' and can't work together. As a result, a lot of men AND women believe that women are bitchy.

To say to Jo that her life experience is very limited is an ignorant and judgemental thing to say. A lot of women doing feminism have come to it BECAUSE of their experiences. It now includes a huge mix of women and men from all backgrounds, ages, class and viewpoints. If anything, you seem to be saying that YOUR experience is the universal and therefore RIGHT or correct experience. Grow up!

Sorry Jo, it just kind of pissed me off! :D

1:47 AM  
Blogger the bewilderness said...

"This whole idea of being a feminist nowadays isn't about getting equal rights, we have those and now..."

This is rather a fact free assessment of women's current condition in the world.

11:53 PM  

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