Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Let's Change the World

I am currently reading a women's studies book. It is a book on how women were reflected in the mass media during the 1940's and 50's. I was just reading this book at a coffee shop when I decided I needed a break so I stopped to call someone. I wanted to call this guy I've been seeing for a couple of weeks, but it's not serious and so I wasn't sure if it would be inappropriate or unallowed for me to call him just to chat. I sat and pondered this for about fifteen minutes when my mind felt a deja vu. Wasn't I just reading about the effect that images like Donna Reed and Kathy from "Father Knows Best" had on women?

We are not as progressive as we might like to think. Women certainly have more opportunities and are recognized as individuals of equal potential as men, but there are still some ways in which we can feel subjugated. Take this situation, for instance. Why is it that I feel as though he can call me, but I can't call him? Why am I so afraid that if I called him, he would feel as though his manhood had been threatened and would instantly lose all interest in me? What's the big deal anyway?

Sadly, I don't think I have any answers for these questions other than this - isn't that just the way things work? Boys call girls, boys ask out girls, boys don't like girls who are "too forward" or "too aggressive." I don't know why exactly, but I still believe that's the truth. I don't care how forward of a thinker a man might be, that doesn't necessarily mean that he'll like a girl who calls him. I hate that the world is this way. I hate that there are still so many men who are threatened by women who are more successful or more intelligent than them. I hate that there are so many men complaining about "crazy" women who call too much (which may just mean they call at all). But for some reason, no matter how much progress we have achieved at the political and social levels (though there is still much yet to be gained), we have not progressed at all levels.

And I do mean "we" collectively, as in both men and women. Because I fall into that ideology too. I almost never call a man and would never ask one out unless we were already seeing each other. I often will cook for a man if I am seriously pursuing him. I try to always look pretty when I see him and make sure there are no dirty dishes laying around when he comes over to visit because whatever would he think if my makeup was not on or he saw a dirty bowl left out? As much as I do consider myself a feminist, I still struggle with gender roles on a woman-to-man level.

I realize this, however, and that I want to be with a man who is not threatened by my success or intellect. I want a man who encourages and welcomes my expressions of interest. I want a man who will not judge me for any reason. I want a man who is a feminist. And so, even if this one is not, I called. If he never calls again, I will know he wasn't worth my time or energy to begin with. And if he is intrigued by my showing interest, I will know that he's worth showing a little mroe to. So we'll see what happens next. And whoever said you couldn't change the world one person at a time?


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