Tag patriarchy

2 posts

Being a Girl is Just Better

I found our last two bibles in the closet the other day, one of which is KJV (of course). I spent this evening trying to do art with/deface it, and I got up to leviticus before getting bored/having it in my face started getting to me. It’s weird how triggering objects can be – bibles, dental floss, strollers, big vans…
I’ve felt weirdly out of it this week, kinda listless and unfocused, but antsy. So I’ve been puttering. Puttering is a weird word, it’s really fun to say, but it was also a word my parents used a lot, but it’s also a word I don’t know how to replace. Puttering: doing random busy work/cleaning that doesn’t require too much thought or result in much stress energy. I putter around on the sites I manage – make tweaks and updates, I’ve been de-cluttering random stuff IRL (actually only have two reachable surfaces left)…puttering. The phrase is like a low grade trigger.
And maybe it’s that, and a run-in with general triggery things this weekend that’s been making the phrase my dad repeated ad-nauseam stuck in my head all day.
Being a girl is just better
I don’t know what made him think that – maybe a little bit of jealousy because my mom got to stay home and sit in a recliner in a state almost-constant pregnancy, or maybe because in their sexist complimentarian marriage, he had to carry all the weight?
What wasn’t said at the end of the phrase was strongly implied:
Being a girl is just better:

  • because you don’t have to worry about responsibility
  • you don’t have to make hard decisions
  • you don’t have to fight or stand up for yourself or your family
  • you always have a man to protect you
  • you don’t have to get a job or do anything but homemaking (fun?)
  • you don’t have to think about anything
  • you don’t need to be smart or have thoughts of your own
  • you get to be served by men (by staying home and doing what they want you to do in exchange for dates and some of their income?)

Being a girl is just better because who needs autonomy anyway?
Being a girl meant:
I didn’t get to decide anything (and that was better because decisions are hard)
I always had someone to take the fall (which was better than me having responsibility for myself)
I didn’t need to learn “male” skills – like basic building, or how to pump gas or change a tire (I could just have a guy do it for me)
If I could cook, hold my tongue, and produce children, I would be a success (because women don’t need their own thoughts)
My dad/husband/brother could/would get me out of any situation and defend me (because I couldn’t defend myself)
In exchange for my autonomy I get a pre-defined life of luxury (if luxury = breeder, chef, teacher, house keeper, and sex toy)
 
Even though no one has told me that phrase in years, sometimes, with conversations with people, it’s still a really strong undertone.
Because even though other people never phrased it quite like my dad did, this insidious patriarchal brain worm, this line they tell people-born-with-uteri: Life is better for you, great for you even, just stay in line, and you’ll never want for anything.
I think being reminded that I’m not what any of the parent-figures in my life had planned for me to be, is just another version of the same line.
Being a girl is just better: just stay in line, and everything will be perfect*.
But even when I was a little kid, and I was told that my lot in life was just better… I knew it was a lie.
Maybe some people can happily trade their autonomy and agency for being “taken care of”, but that deal never seemed sweet to me, it seemed wrong and unfair, though I didn’t have any words for it or any way to express it.
Being a human adult may be more work, require more effort, and mean I have to own my decisions, but I lived without autonomy for my whole childhood, and I’d much rather own my decisions than be denied my agency.
I don’t care if that means I’m not who I was planned to be.
Fuck the patriarchy.

This Week in Art & Life (But Mostly Pictures)

Last weekend Alex and I went to New York to see some comedy shows as an early anniversary thing and it was awesome.

We saw The Thrilling Adventure Hour and Comedy Bang! Bang! and went to a movie and checked out central park and generally had an awesome weekend. Then we drove all night Sunday night and got home at 5:30 am Monday morning, which actually wasn’t all that bad, although I’m not sure my neck appreciated it.
I also consumed unheard of amounts of caffeine, which has been exciting this week. When I went to Planned Parenthood to get my shots on Monday I was still buzzed and slightly shaky, so…I warned the nurse about that when she took my blood pressure, because I was also over-tired and talkative.

One shot in each shoulder
One shot in each shoulder

Gardasil? NO BIG DEAL. My arm was slightly achey for a day or two, but nothing more than mild irritation. Tetanus, on the other hand. Dude. My left shoulder is still sort of sensitive – much more sensitive and irritated than Gardasil arm, so, if you’ve had tetanus and are skittish about Gardasil, Tetanus is worse – but still not in the horrific “I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN” category, so if you’re due for a booster, you should get it. Achey arms hurt less than dying, I’m pretty sure.
 
 


A lot of media attention is finally being given to the craziness that is modesty culture in homeschool circles, thanks to Hännah’s sister, Clare (who is amazing).  Which has made this week very Patriarchy crushing and awesome (albeit intense).
I’ve needed to paint for a while, and I felt like this week called for all of the art to happen – including a rage-comic I haven’t written yet, and one I have. I channeled all of my feelings of rage and patriarchy-crushing into paints and mirrors and canvas, which did wonders for my mental health (as it usually does), and I feel like I can breathe again.

Fuck the Patriarchy
Fuck the Patriarchy

Rage
Rage