I really dislike hypocrisy, and this strip tackles it really well:
There’s been a lot of name calling going on in politics at the moment.
Apparently, women who have sex are sluts. Especially if we have sex outside of marriage. Even if we have sex inside of marriage sometimes.
But I want to ask – why? Why the emphasis on women? And if women who have sex are sluts and whores, surely men are too?
I guess that means that our mothers are sluts. And our grandmothers. And the Queen is a slut. And pretty much any women who didn’t remain a nun.
Name calling in the playground!
When I think back on primary school, I remember that kids used to call each other names a lot. And it was all about pecking order, and putting people into their social rank.
Names were used to make people feel bad about themselves. Names were used to put people down. Names were especially used by people in power to keep those who didn’t have the power from having any.
So you’d get the bullies name-calling the loser kids. And the jocks name-calling the nerds. And the popular kids name-calling the unpopular kids. Never the other way around.
So we had a nerdy kid who people labelled “Eugene” and gave him a hard time. And a girl we called “craterface” because she had bad skin. And a friend of mine used to get called “red pubes” by a group of guys because she had red hair and, well, they liked to make her feel uncomfortable.
Pleasant stuff. Real intelligent too. But it did it’s job: it made those without power feel worse, and those with power feel even more powerful. It kept those lower down the power hierarchy in their place.
And now we have grown up men calling women who have sex – and, let’s face it, the vast majority of women do have sex, so they’re by association name-calling all of us – sluts and whores.
Then they act all surprised when this is the result:
I love sex! OMG I’m a slut! And a whore!
I love sex. I really enjoy it, and yes, I’ve had sex with a lot of men in some people’s estimation. And a fair number of women.
I’m a slut! OMG! Kill me now! LOL.
I suppose, if you stretch things a little, I might even technically be a whore, because some of the guys bought me dinner beforehand. So I was PAID (in food) for sex, if you want to get nitpicky.
I have no regrets (well, there was this one guy who was pretty awful and had no clue…lol), and am proud of everything I did. It was consenting, and fun, and I enjoyed most of it.
I’m an adult, and I have the right to do what I want with my body. I believe that others have the right to do what they want with their bodies too.
If Aphrodite is the Goddess of beauty and love, then She is also the Goddess of sluts and whores. Which in some peoples eyes is all women.
I don’t understand why or how some people can hate women that much. I suspect it’s a combination of bad sex and too little of it, or maybe just lots of rejection by women in their lives. I feel sorry for them for that, but they’re not going to improve matters by hating women for their miserable sex lives.
In the meanwhile, I’m going to stand proud, as a slut and a whore, along with all my friends who are also sluts and whores, and continue to fight for our rights to do with our own bodies as we wish.
Have you ever noticed how history is cyclical?
I was at a Pagan meeting this afternoon.
The Pagan scene in Dunedin, New Zealand, where I live, has been very, very quiet for a long time. It was very active a few years ago – a little over half a decade ago – then it all died off for various reasons to do with a conservative element and a few nasty elements in the community – and everything went really quiet.
Interestingly, I’ve also got a Munch (social gathering) tomorrow for the kinky community tomorrow. The kinky community in Dunedin has also been very. very quiet for a long time.
It was very active a few years ago – a little over half a decade ago – then it all keeled over for various reasons to do with a few nasty elements in the wider community – and everything went really quiet.
At the Pagan meeting I went to, I heard how the University Women’s Officer used to do Womens Rituals. I just about died from shock when I heard that.
Imagine that! In conservative Dunedin! That all stopped of course, a few years ago. About the same time as everything else.
About that same time, the conservative city council of Dunedin began closing down student pubs, tightening up student behaviour they deemed inappropriate for various reasons, and generally restricting anything they considered to be not “suitable” for a staid and stodgy town.
To “clean it up”, was the excuse given, among a number of other excuses.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Pots boil over
The thing is, life goes in cycles. And as much as a conservative trend may try to close down stuff it doesn’t particularly like, pots will always boil over in the end.
You can’t bully whole communities into submission and expect things to last that way forever without dissent and uprising and change.
I think that’s what’s happening now. The wind is changing.
Written in the wind…
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the sub-communities are struggling to their feet again at the same time, afetr being all but killed off.
I don’t believe that you can close down pubs and venues for fun and letting off steam for students, and just expect that they’ll stop needing those outlets for fun and relaxation. Life doesn’t work that way.
Life is swings and roundabouts. Life is change. You can’t keep the Old Gods down.
Too conservative stifles our breath!
In Dunedin, there’s a really strong and powerful element, and it’s in charge, that would like to see Dunedin as nothing but a conservative, neat, polite, vanilla town full of suburbanites who wear suits and go to Church on Sundays and watch TV in the evenings and never, EVER would consider going to a Drumming-Trance-Pagan event or a play party.
Oh no, not ever.
That same element doesn’t approve of student pubs and student experimentation and kink and creativity and challenge and free thought, because those things are scary and uncontrolled and can’t be made a profit from easily.
But what it forgets is that we’re human. Not machines. We don’t come in little boxes, one size fits all. A fair number of us like to party. And drink. Some of us even like to do Pagan ritual, or kinky sex.
The lid has been kept on the pot a little too long. All the while we’ve been here, quietly simmering away, but now we’re boiling over, and expanding out into the world again.
Swings and roundabouts.
The more you restrict a subculture, the more it will grow and expand and thrive. Right under your nose. You just won’t see it happening until – bang! – suddenly it’s on your doorstep demanding rights.
Dunedin may seem a conservative town on the surface, but beneath that surface things are beginning to get really interesting.
I don’t know what will happen, but I’m sure looking forward to finding out.
And Happy Mabon! 🙂 May the Old Gods rise again!
I came across a presentation on TedX the other day, where Australian Journalist Tracey Spicer stripped off her makeup, frizzed up her meticulously coiffed hair, and took off her sleek blue dress in front of a live audience.
She did all this – and I admire her courage – to discuss the huge amount of daily effort we women undertake (27 minutes every day it is estimated) to get ready to face the world.
It was a striking way to make a point.
I’m surprised it’s not longer than 27 minutes a day. I know that my “regime” is pretty convoluted, especially on days when I wash and then have to straighten my hair. My “beauty bag” when I travel literally takes up half my suitcase. I’m not kidding. I try to pack light, and fit everything into a carry-on sized case (which I do), but half the space is cosmetics and toiletries.
My travel list of cosmetics and toiletries and medicines includes:
hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, hair styling treatment, hair straightening tongs,
contact lenses, contact lens case, contact lens fluid, spare contact lenses, glasses,
disposable razors, tweezers, mirror,
face cleansing wipes, AHA 7% lotion, retinol treatment, sunblock-moisturiser, body moisturiser, tinted face moisturiser,
eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, blusher, lipstick, lipbalm, eye drops,
body wash, body washing mitt
cortisone cream, anticonvulsant medication (I have epilepsy), antihistamines (I have hayfever), tampons
And I don’t consider myself to be a “high maintenance” kind of woman. LOL.
What my husband takes, for comparison?
antihistamines (he gets hayfever)
The difference in lengths between the lists is a stark reminder of the inequality of the sexes.
Putting on my “armour”
Ironically, I don’t actually mind some of it. I consider the sunblock part of my health care against cancer, for example, and think my husband should put it on too (he doesn’t and won’t). But I hate having to straighten my hair. I hate the whole makeup thing.
Yes, I could stop doing all of it. But what would it cost me? I’m going back to work this year, and I want to present a professional image.
For women, that means a certain “uniform”, and that uniform includes makeup, a certain dress level, a certain fat level (yes, it’s true – fat women are discriminated against, didn’t you know?), and makeup and hair done a certain way.
Women without makeup and hair styled are less employable, and earn lower wages. I’m a professional woman – or I was before I took time off to have kids – and I want to regain that and earn well.
Hence, I’ll be wearing what Tracey Spicer, in the video above, aptly calls the armour.
Some women argue that we don’t have to wear the armour in our daily, non-working life.
Yes, that’s true – but have you noticed how differently you’re treated when you’re dressed up as opposed to when you’re not?
I first noticed it when I was a lowly secretary. I had to wear a suit (skirt and jacket) and look very flash because I worked in the legal field. But even though I was earning a crappy salary and had no power at all, every single time I walked through a department store in town the sales assistants would fawn over me.
Did madam want to try some perfume? Did madam want to try this makeup? Did madam need some assistance?
“Madam” was earning a basic wage at the time and couldn’t afford any of it, but she learned a really important lesson.
Clothes really do make the man – or the woman. If you want to shop without being bothered, wear jeans. If you want to be assisted every step of the way, dress up. I don’t like it, but it’s a system and if you want to work the system, be smart about it, know it, and use it.
There are very very few people who can remove the status clothes of society and make a point doing so – Gandhi springs to mind here as an immediate example, but these people tend to be so instantly recognisable that their face is a thing of power. They have built so much personal power that the rules no longer apply.
People judge the rest of us on what we wear, and that includes makeup and hair and weight. It’s not a fair system, and it’s not the least bit sensible, but it’s the way things are.
Beauty is a system. Beauty isn’t what we’re born with. It’s a look. It’s a style of presentation. Ever seen Tori Spelling? She’s naturally very plain, but she’s styled correctly. She has her armour on.
Isn’t refusing makeup a feminist act?
Theoretically, refusing to wear makeup is a feminist act. It’s refusing to play by the rules. But armour – and makeup is armour – can give you strength. I think makeup-refusing feminists forget that. Good looks – even society-sanctioned good looks – provide a person with power. And as women, we need all the power we can get.
So I think the sensible approach is to take that power and fight the system from the inside. Become powerful, and pull the patriarchy apart from within.
Yes, makeup is a drag. Doing our hair is a drag. But when there are issues such as abortion and rape and pay equality to be dealt with, and young girls are still being pushed into lower paying careers and encouraged to be Disney princesses waiting for their princes to save them, I think there are more important fights to fight.
Let’s fight them first, and win them.