Thursday, April 26, 2012

I am not "crazy"

The other day I had a really lovely afternoon in the park with some of my girlfriends, discussing bell hooks' Feminism is for Everybody and talking through some of our own experiences with sexism. I realized that there is a lot I need to work through, a lot of insecurities, shame, and confusion that I have experienced often as a result of being female in a male-dominant society. I know it sounds silly and ridiculous to most people, and a lot of folks are probably rolling their eyes while reading this... But if you want to know why I feel this way and why it is important for me to understand who I am as a woman (rather than despite being a woman), you should read this article about the portrayal of women as being "crazy". The article is written by a man who is very well-spoken, respectful, and responsible with his status as a male. I actually cried while reading this article because it illuminated a lot of the insecure ways I act- apologizing before I speak, qualifying everything I say, being scared of disagreeing with others, being fearful of showing my emotions too obviously.

I love being a woman, don't get me wrong about that. But I don't love how my sex is portrayed or treated in the media and, unfortunately, in every-day life. Particularly upsetting is seeing the ways that women have internalized so much of this sexism and treat one another in demeaning or sexist ways. We have to realize how we have been conditioned by society to feel about ourselves, and then we have to figure out how to realize that our voices are so much more powerful, meaningful, and important than society would have us believe.

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”
-Gloria Steinem

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