Struggling with My Inner Anti-feminist

This weekend I attended events where I saw a common sight: young women in skinny jeans. Not running in much of a hipster crowd, most of the young men wore less revealing  attire, diminishing attention to their body shape. As a woman who benefits somewhat from thin privilege, form revealing clothing strikes at one of my feminist difficulties. I am able to survive in the patriarchy without wearing make-up, and my tendencies toward comfort and (some) modesty mean that my clothes are rarely form-fitting, especially in winter. So my thinness, which could earn me cookies from the patriarchy, goes somewhat unnoticed. Obviously, people can see that I have a patriarchy-approved body type (up to a point), but they have no idea just how thin I am unless they see me in a swimsuit or one of my more –but still not very — form-fitting articles of clothing, which usually sit unworn in the closet.

Here is where my mind bifurcates, and I call out my inner anti-feminist. Why should I want people to give me approval for my body type? Why should I be jealous about said patriarchy cookies when they are doled out to women who wear what I would never feel comfortable sporting, namely skintight jeans and shirts just as form fitting?  In an ideal world, approval and compliments would be based on people’s kindness or their ability to help others, or at the very least on their skills or erudition, rather than on appearance. By my very attention to the approval they garner, I play into the patriarchy’s game, and make myself crazy.  Additionally, neither I, nor the skinny jeaned ones, have earned their shapes.  While I am a runner, and I like working out and eating (mostly) healthy foods, realistically genetics have caused my shape. I would likely remain thin if I stopped running tomorrow and started regularly chowing on french fries. In other words, the attribute which I want people to notice, comes to me through the vagaries of chance, much like white skin. My desire for approbation, then, rings doubly false.

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5 thoughts on “Struggling with My Inner Anti-feminist

  1. Most of the things you listed as ideal traits to be complimented on are often as pre-determined as looks and body type. So what do you call those compliments? able-bodied cookies? parents-had-high-IQs-cookies? class-privilege-cookies?

    Few desirable traits are doled out fairly.

    • My first favorable trait, kindness, has little relation to being able-bodied or classed a certain way (the people with the least often give the most). While some types of skills are limited by bodies, development of skills writ large and erudition of multiple types is possible for almost anyone. Also, IQ is a myth.

      • Yes, it does. “Kindness” often has to do with innate empathy, and other traits that some people with certain mental illnesses have difficulty with.

        As for IQ being a myth, yes, methods of measuring fluid intelligence (like the IQ tests) are inevitably flawed. That fluid intelligence is largely pre-determined is hardly disputed these days, however, so the point stands.

      • Agreed. I’m mystified by someone who equates “kindness” with “empathy.” Just because one does not empathize does not mean one cannot commit acts of kindness. Humans are amazingly elastic that way. Except, perhaps sociopaths who are born sadistic. Of course, I’m not sure that’s really a category, but it’s sure fun to come up with ways to try to make any sort of positive a negative, right?

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