Sunday, July 05, 2009

Feminist Post

On the way to my grandma's (who is not feeling well, so my uncle and I took her some food from our picnic), my uncle tells me that my cousin's daughter told him today that she is a feminist and didn't like a remark he made. He asked her what she meant by being a feminist (she is 14, I think) and she replied, "Men and women are equal." Their conversation (roughly) follows:

"But you have boobs. I don't. You can have babies. I can't. You can't tell me that we are equal."
"I mean, they should be treated equally, especially in the workplace."
"You will always be looked down upon because you are a woman. Get used to it."

Apparently they fought like this for awhile, and it ended with her crying in another room. He told me that he went in later and explained to her, that he was only half-joking and that she really should get used to being treated differently, and inferior-ly, because she is a woman. He said that he didn't mean to make her so upset, but she should just face the cold, hard, truth now, instead of being slapped with it later.

This upset me. Mainly because last year, about this same time, my family was working on building a retaining wall for my grandma. One day, my dad and I shoveled a ton (literally) of gravel onto a pipe for said wall. The next day, everyone got together for a picnic to celebrate us finishing the wall. When I asked what I could do, this same uncle said, "You can go up on the deck with the other women."

Normally, this would not have upset me as much as it did, because I just laugh it off like a joke. However, I found out that he had said almost the same thing to an aunt, and I had done more work than him on this. And for him to imply that sticking some bricks together was a man's job, was completely ridiculous. My grandma tried to convince me that he was just joking, but he acts this way all the time. He thinks (and tells us all the time) that my aunts' places are in the kitchen doing the dishes after family gatherings, loading/unloading the dishwasher, and taking care of the kids. He complains whenever a woman gets a higher salary than him, regardless of how much more work she does. And he seems to think that anything a woman complains about is just her overreacting to something. (Such as my grandma breaking her arm, or being in pain from pneumonia, or my cousins being cold - they should toughen up and take it like their brothers or other male cousins.)

Sometimes, I have also been told that I should not be allowed to drive because I'm a woman. Or that I'm not allowed to help chop firewood, should I want to try it. However, suggest peeling potatoes and they are quick to get you a knife (that you can handle, wouldn't want you to get too cocky with a big one).

I wanted to walk up to my cousin tonight and tell her that I admire her for standing up for herself, even at 14, when just about everyone around you has control over you. Especially when you are visiting your grandpa, who thinks that you should be washing the dishes or vacuuming, or some other household chore that isn't too manly. At least she understands that women should be getting the same pay as men, and that they shouldn't be treated likeobjects. (If you will note, the two things he mentioned were breasts (sex) and babies (a vessel) - two of the only three things (with the other being cleaning) that women are on earth for.

1 comment:

Amelia said...

Your cousin sounds like an amazing young woman. What she did absolutely deserves commending. I don't think she probably realized what a big revolution she committed merely by thinking for herself and standing up for her beliefs. Go her!

And go you for not allowing your actions to be confined by people's small minds, and doing all those grrrr manly things that women aren't supposed to do ;)

I love you. :)