thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Category: sexism

the landscape

I too have always loved Heather Havrilesky:

http://www.theawl.com/2013/10/ask-polly-how-do-i-find-true-love-and-stop-dating-half-assed-men

Now imagine for a second that someone writes to me and says, “Look, you’re just ok and you’re old and you’re wasting your time on this bullshit.” (Um, no one does that, because this isn’t Salon.) But imagine that someone does tell me that. And imagine that I spend several hours of my time explaining why I’m awesome and my work here is incredibly significant to the health of the planet, and I fucking matter and I have great ideas, brilliant fucking ideas, I’m a genius, and seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? Suddenly this tepid bit of flotsam is taking up my time, and instead of turning away from it, I’m making claims that my work is deeply important (which, well, is a highly subjective stance).

[…]

Please note: this world also devalues free-flowing, emotional discourse from a woman unless she’s also funny AND sexy. If you’re not super fucking hot and funny first, you can go fuck yourself, ladies.

[…]

Because tepid is everywhere. Tepid is the air we breathe. Listen to me: We can’t do anything right. We can’t say what we mean, we can’t be ourselves, we can’t age, we can’t talk about feelings, we can’t fuck up. This is how it feels to be a woman, motherfucker. The world is filled with human beings who want us to shut up and shake our asses, point blank, the end. Can you fucking imagine if we had our own Kanye? For her to have Kanye’s power, and get invited on Kimmel, of course she’d have to be a mega-hot, funny as shit woman who walked around looking exactly like the chick in the short skirt who eats giant hamburgers on those Carl Jr. ads, but instead of eating a hamburger she’d be saying FUCK YOU, YOU ARE A SEXIST FUCK. I mean, sure, we have our women who look mortal and say this. Are they on TV? Rachel Maddow, she’s on TV. How many people in that bar would even know who the fuck she is? Who listens closely to Lena Dunham, who is gorgeous by the way? No, she’s not shaped right to listen to, right? She’s too full of herself? She’s too annoying?

Let’s not fall down that rabbit hole. All I’m saying is, here we are in a fucked up world. And even when you find your species, or at least your genus, you still are sometimes just a piece of ass to the best of them. Not even because they’re incredibly sexist—maybe they’re just pragmatic, or ambivalent in this case. They don’t happen to love you, is all. They don’t think you’re a math genius or a historian, and they’re gonna call bullshit. They think that when you talk, you’re wasting their time a little. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad. Sure, you want those guys and their futons and their best friends Sean to go fuck themselves, but that doesn’t mean they’re evil. But once they don’t love you, who the fuck cares about them? Were those dudes in the bar sexist, or did they just think I’m sort of bossy and repellent? Who the fuck cares?

You’re hunting a very small group, that’s all. Your target demographic, it’s small. There’s more than one of them, but they’re not everywhere.

That doesn’t mean your odds are bad! You will find love. Believe me. But in order to find it, I think you have to prepare yourself for a life alone, and be at peace with that. It’s a real tightrope walk. I get that. But you won’t tell tepid to fuck off if you don’t believe in your heart that you will rock it out one way or another.

In order to tell tepid to fuck off once and for all, you MUST recognize that life among those who don’t appreciate or understand you is bullshit. You don’t want to live that way. You don’t want to be badgery and lonely while you’re with someone. You’d rather be alone.

What will make ALONE look good to you? You have to work on that. Because single life needs to look really, really good, you have to believe in it, if you’re going to hold out for that rare guy who makes you feel like all of your ideas start rapidly expanding and approaching infinity when you talk to him. You need to have a vision of life alone, stretching into the future, and you need to think about how to make that vision rich and full and pretty. You have to put on an artist’s mindset and get creative and paint some portrait of yourself alone that’s breathtaking. You have to bring the full force of who you are and what you love to that project.

[…]

You have to do a lot. And you have to do it all against a backdrop of indifference that, as you get older, curdles into a kind of disgust. But you know what? We have each other. We have worlds within us, you and me. This mean, mean planet still rewards those who can see the depth and beauty of what they carry around inside of themselves. This indifferent landscape will rise up and give you love if you share what you have inside, if you dare to believe in your potential even as people tell you it’s a mirage, if you ignore the ones who are allergic to free-flowing, emotional discourse from YOU. They are everywhere, and they don’t matter. God bless them. Come on their Hampton blouse, and move on.

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flying debris

With this blog, I’ve tried to reflect on my experiences with fairness, compassion, honesty, clearheadedness, and nuance, all while maintaining a tone and style that protected anonymity all around.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it, and I think some readers have gotten a lot out of it and have, in return, contributed insightful comments.

But I’ll be honest; it’s gotten so that if I post something real and personal and substantive– the very appeal of this blog, I would think– I have to brace myself for the bullying, the lectures, and the sexism that are sure to result. It’s been a good test in that, at this age, I can see through a lot of it. I can also rationally decide whether or not the opinions expressed are valid to me; I no longer believe that every opinion has merit just because it is expressed forcefully.

Is it any wonder, though, why I find myself so attracted to people who display some sensitivity and charm? The irony is that so many of the commenters think I should lower my standards, while their comments often prove the opposite– that you can’t be too picky when it comes to who you share your life with.

In the words of Brene Brown, not everyone deserves your story:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/brene-brown-advice-vulnerability_n_3392414.html

42

I did not find this article nearly as offensive as the commenters, because it’s still (unfortunately) a radical notion to some that a woman in her forties could be thought of as attractive, and I agree about the determination to be free (although less sure that’s a recent thing only):

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/42-year-old-women

There are many reasons for the apotheosis of forty-two-year-old women, and some of them have little to do with forty-two-year-old women themselves. In a society in which the median age keeps advancing, we have no choice but to keep redefining youth. Life lasts longer; so does beauty, fertility, and sex. And yet forty-two-year-old women are not enjoying some kind of scientific triumph but rather one of political and personal will. A few generations ago, a woman turning forty-two was expected to voluntarily accept the shackles of biology and convention; now it seems there is no one in our society quite so determined to be free. Conservatives still attack feminism with the absurd notion that it makes its adherents less attractive to men; in truth, it is feminism that has made forty-two-year-old women so desirable.

On the other hand, point taken:

http://thehairpin.com/2014/07/42

OK, Tom. To borrow another phrase, “Are you trying to seduce me?” I am actually 44, so I hope my collagen-intelligence ratio is still in your ballpark. Oh, I just looked you up on Wikipedia and I see that you’re 55. Oh, yeah! That is such a hot age. It’s like, you’re still alive, but only for about 30 more years.

muck

There was a fashion just now, Noel complained, of writing and talking about women as if they were some separate, peculiar and rather contemptible species, instead of ordinary human beings, with ordinary human qualities…

“They’re not,” Humphrey put in, with lofty scorn. “They’re impenetrable by ideas. That means they’re animals.”

“We’re all animals, stupid,” Noel crossly returned. “Human animals. It’s people like you, Humphrey, talking that kind of muck, who invent and spread this silly myth about women.”

–Rose Macauley, Crewe Train, p. 211

devolution

http://www.newstatesman.com/future-proof/2014/06/sexist-pseudoscience-pick-artists-dangers-alpha-male-thinking

In contrast, we can be reasonably sure that prehistoric human societies were non-hierarchical, egalitarian and cooperative, as are the majority of today’s hunter-gatherer societies that have survived, and that human nature still tends towards these instincts. They – and we’re not only talking homo sapiens here, but possibly also antecedents like homo erectus – are believed to have had strong ties beyond their bloodline, with individuals in a group caring for children who were not their own. Members of a society who were reproductively useless – such as women too old to bear more children – would have still been valued, as humanity was apparently not synonymous with reproduction or social status. Early art venerated the female, not male, form, and so matriarchal societies may have been common. As kinship was not the main motivation for cooperation, it meant language, technology and friendships spread within and between groups more easily. From computer modelling of social interaction, it appears that egalitarianism may be an inevitable consequence of human-level intelligence.

the hard way out

Agree with this comment:

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/jun/02/teachers-round-on-kirstie-allsopp-over-babies-and-boyfriends-comments

clouds9
02 June 2014 8:36pm

The problem is that it’s so much harder to go to uni and build a career after having children. Taking 3 years out and paying for it is impossible for most families. My own mum went to uni for the first time in her late 30’s but struggled to compete with the fresh faced young nqt’s in teaching. Many employers are ageist, especially to women so you could fall from one trap to another.

Theoretically I can see her point, it is easier to have a baby young and it comes with benefits. Going to university with life and work experience under your belt would also be a good idea for some people but in the real world I’m not sure it holds water.

empty vessels

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/31/elliot_rodger_a_turning_point_for_men/

I’m beginning to wonder whether the Elliot Rodger story, in the long run, might be a more important moment for men than for women. I don’t mean to devalue or diminish the collective display of female outrage, and female solidarity, that we have experienced in the aftermath of the Isla Vista shootings. Quite the opposite. But it is overwhelmingly – indeed, almost exclusively – men who commit mass murder of this kind and on this scale, and the poisonous misogyny of Rodger’s worldview is a distinctively male phenomenon. Is it possible to find women who genuinely hate men? No doubt it is; our culture is a big place. But I am unaware of any Internet communities where women gather to demean and stereotype men in the most vile and reductive terms, or openly indulge in fantasies about raping, humiliating and enslaving them.

[…]

All men are implicated in a culture of masculinity that allows such things to happen. It’s a culture that looks away from misogynistic crimes, or proclaims them to be isolated and untypical events rather than extreme examples of things that happen every day. It’s a culture that does not ask whether it’s our responsibility to love and nurture our sons and brothers such that they grow up knowing that women and girls are not the enemy, not an alien species, not vessels for their lust or displaced self-loathing or misguided veneration but complicated and wonderful and exasperating human beings not unlike themselves.

the fundamental

http://www.alternet.org/5-things-never-say-woman-who-doesnt-want-kids

Even as women continue to break down the barriers of gendered expectations, they’re still faced with an allegedly fundamental question: whether or not to have children.

We still live in a world where family and children are deeply associated with women, to the point where women are taught that having children is essential to having a strong sense of self.

[…]

Collectively, we tend to be extremely uncomfortable with the possibility that a woman could put herself before someone else—even above people who will most likely never exist!

We continue to associate womanhood with selflessness and self-sacrifice. Children are a fundamental manifestation of this mindset. A woman is expected to prioritize her kids first, but particularly at her own expense.

There’s a definite labor to motherhood in more ways than one: late nights, the responsibility of looking after someone else, and more bodily fluids than you ever wanted to imagine, not to mention the financial burden.

You supposedly can’t be a good mom without some sacrifice. Since the maternal archetype continues to be so closely associated to the core of women’s identities, it follows that the “right” kind of woman is willing to sacrifice other things in favor of her goal of raising of family.

But not everyone wants children, which creates a weird materialism vacuum in the minds of many.

Why do we have to subscribe to the belief that being a good person or good woman automatically means going without?

There’s nothing shameful about indulging yourself or living your life to the fullest on your own.

People try to guilt women with the myth that there is a certain type of happiness or fulfillment that only mothers can know. That might be true, but it’s also true that having kids may prevent you from having tons of experiences that could change your life.

the princess

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html

We (male) nerds grow up force-fed this script. Lusting after women “out of our league” was what we did. And those unattainable hot girls would always inevitably reject us because they didn’t understand our intellectual interest in science fiction and comic books and would instead date asshole jocks. This was inevitable, and our only hope was to be unyieldingly persistent until we “earned” a chance with these women by “being there” for them until they saw the error of their ways. (The thought of just looking for women who shared our interests was a foreign one, since it took a while for the media to decide female geeks existed. The Big Bang Theory didn’t add Amy and Bernadette to its main cast until Season 4, in 2010.)

identity problems

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/28/elliot_rodger_and_americas_ongoing_masculinity_crisis_partner/

The idea of men going on shooting rampages because of threats to their identity as men makes sense to me. One way to think about that idea is to look at the cases where women DO kill multiple people. In the ones that make the news, most often the victims are the woman’s own children. They are not counted as mass killers because the body count isn’t high enough. But just like the breakdown in identity that I see happening with men, when the thing that defines a woman’s identity as a women breaks down (being a good mother), she—in those most extreme of cases—feels the need to kill the part of her that is causing the most pain.

[…]

Yes, sexism, misogyny, inability to deal with sexual rejection, and entitlement to women’s bodies still exists. Yes, we need to deal with it.

Best place to start? Talking with and treating women as equals. Encouraging men to see women as humans first, with sex taken completely off the table. Encouraging platonic friendships between the genders where each help each other succeed. Teaching consent and respect. It seems unimaginable we are still in need of progress in this area, but we know it to be true.

[…]

Men need to be able to get help for their problems without fear or shame. Emotional pain is real and devastating. Men need to understand that and they need help seeking out solutions. We need to look for warning signs and follow up immediately when we see those signs. We need to let men know it is ok to ask for help. We need to encourage friendships, sharing, and a wider, more open definition of love. We need to teach actual coping skills and actual problem solving skills to be able to deal with the inevitable loneliness, pain, anger, or lack of success that are simply parts of life. How many times have you heard some version of “just man up” instead of teaching real coping skills? And we need to continue to expand our definition of masculinity so that a man’s identity isn’t wrapped up in any one thing, but there are always a wealth of options for a long, happy productive life.