Thursday, March 08, 2007

Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | This is idiocy, not feminism

Goddess Day at St. John's

Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | This is idiocy, not feminism

I am not saying that there should be total homogeneity in what we discuss on women's day...What is not relevant is fun-packed dancing from around the world, spice workshops and fashion shows. Fashion is to international women's rights as Agassi kitchen utensils are to gay rights. Yes, some women are interested in fashion; some gay men own more than one brightly coloured fish slice. But it is an outrage against people who take liberties seriously - who embody the core of feminism by interpreting it as a war that hasn't been won until it's been won for all women - to trivialise these matters...It's this kind of hijacking of meaningful collective action that did for the women's movement in the first place, that made today's young women think you could believe in equal pay as a regular person, but as soon as you called yourself a feminist you had to stop shaving your legs and start eating pulses. Tell stories and dance as much as you will - but not on International Women's Day. Make your own day of celebrations. Call it Gullible Idiots Unite. Have it in April.

I still get email from my (former) church and couldn't resist saving this one (and it's real--I couldn't make this up):

Goddess Day

Saturday, October 15th
8:30 a.m. til 4:00 p.m.

St. John’s Church
760 First Avenue, Chula Vista

A day created to empower and celebrate women, individually and collectively.
This conference will include: speakers, music, dance, chair massage, labyrinth, gourmet lunch, shopping and renewal. (Cost: $30 includes all)

Keynote: Rev. Rhonda McIntire, “The Universal Feminine”

Presenters: World-Renown Artist, Eleanor Wiley, “Creating Your Own Sacred Prayer Beads”

Mary Cruz, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center Community Outreach Director, “Breast Cancer What Every Woman Has to Know”

Spend time with holistic professionals:
Lori Gritz, Acupuncturist, presents the Wellness Toolbox
Ruby Grosso, Labyrinth Facilitator

The Healthy Spirit Gift and Bookstore
Scents of San Diego Homemade Soaps
Paula McCarten Jewelry
Granny’s Gifts (unique potions, brews and wands)
Mary Kay Cosmetics
Weekenders Clothing
Cookie Lee Jewelry

To Register or for More Information:

Call: Susan O’Shaughnessy 619-482-8872
The Healthy Spirit 619-427-1210

I thought the point of feminism was to liberate us from femininity, to fix things so that we could get guy jobs and didn't have to crap around with labryrinth-treading, chair-massage and little herbal teas. But look at this: here we have the new presbyter as the old priest writ large: a woman priest lecturing housewives on the ewig weiblich--health, jewelry, make-up and scented homemade soaps.

I got involved in the Church and, for the first time in years, in the Real World outside of Academia, when my kids were at the parish day school. I realized straightaway that I'd have to relearn all the Real World Rules about what women could, should and should not do. I made some faux pas. After our church burnt down we had to move furniture to the parish hall. I got into the spirit of things and was cheerfully shoving around stuff when I stupidly got onto moving a spinet piano along with about half a dozen young working class males. This piano was on wheels and I'd had no problem moving it together with an elderly lady who was even shorter than me in the past. But when we'd gotten across the courtyard to our destination, one of the guys yelled at me, "What are you trying to prove?" He immediately apologized and I didn't turn a hair, but I felt like I'd been socked in the stomach.

After that, I was careful. When the rector announced that he needed volunteers to paint the parish hall, I rode by and checked to see that there were women working before I got out with my rags and paint brushes. Later, when he solicited volunteers to dig for an underground pipe I packed a shovel in my van but was careful to check out the scene first. There were a bunch of young working class males in tee-shirts, conferring as they leant on their shovels. I drove by and went home, filing away the maxim: "women may paint but may not dig."

This is trivial, compared to the problems most women face--in particular, getting decent jobs at decent pay. But it's irritating. Women always have to be cogniscent of what is gender-appropriate, understand when an invitation to everyone really means men only. This is one of the petty vexations of being female: ALWAYS having to worry about whether a particular behavior is "ok for a woman" and understanding where the no-go areas are. Some seem to know the Rules instinctively, but not me--I invariably screw up and am embarrassed.

I was driving through a residential neighborhood when I got a flat. I ran out, grabbed the jack and spare tire and set to work. As I was loosening the lug nuts I realized the people on the porch of the house in front of which I was parked were watching and talking about me. They worried that I'd be offended if they offered to help. The take was, again, that I was trying to prove something, to make some feminist statement. I realized that I was supposed to have asked them if I could use their phone to call AAA (but I don't have AAA). I was in a sweat. Like everyone who has ever changed a tire I knew that the last lug nut would stick. I knew that I would stand on one side of the wrench, bouncing up and down to dislodge that nut, praying that it would come loose, while the crowd on the porch watched.

Incredibly, it didn't stick. I got all the lug nuts off, changed the tire and drove off. But it was a close call.


KT said...

Small piece of advice: if you loosen all the lug-nuts before you jack the wheel off the group, the last lug-nut is less likely to stick, thereby lessening the likelihood of having to jump up and down on the wrench.

H. E. said...

I do that. Jack it up first and the wheel turns around. Damn thing still sticks and it's mystical because it's always the last lug nut, isn't it.

HippeNation said...

Feminism is not so much about escaping femininity as it is about taking a step back every once in a while to reevaluate and refine it.

H. E. said...

You have your feminism, I have mine--or call it what you like. My goal is escape.

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