Look, at this picture. What is she wearing, didn’t anyone tell her she can’t wear black on black? Shouldn’t someone tell her hair is messed up on one side? Shouldn’t someone let her know she should never take a photo at that angle, it makes her look fat? Why is it so blurry? Why is she wearing lip gloss? Why is that shirt so low?
We are constantly being judged, by others and sometimes even worse, by ourselves.
I was on the phone earlier today and this thought that I had last semester just came back up again.
I was in women, power, and politics and last semester (POL 501) and we were reading this article by Patricia Hills-Collins about how equality within feminism will never exist because women are constantly judging other women. As harsh as it sounds, sometimes I find this true, actually I hear this almost everyday, slurs, gossip or anything negative to bring down another women–from other women.
Working with McClung’s, did help but these were things I never noticed before. I judged girls, all the time. I talked about what they wore, what they did and who they were with. It was people I went to school with, people I used to be jealous of and even some of my closest friends. But this is one of the problems: people don’t notice it. Slut, bitch and hoe have become so common we use these words to name-call and feel good about it. How many people used to say yeah your my hoe for life? WTF did that even mean?
As I got older, I guess the feminist button in my brain finally went off and I started to notice. How often did my mom talk about someones weight. How often did my friends talk about someone they didn’t like. Who was a slut this week and who which girl talked about her boobs in class. It was fight, after fight I saw during the teenage years, (so old) girls fighting over boyfriends, clothes and oh more boys. Pathetic as it sounds, this is still common. How often do we judge races? Hill-Collins, a black feminist was super critical about how much white women left out black women during the first wave of feminism.
Today “new” issues arise and we continue to judge. Prostitution, abortion, strippers, trans people and more, (when you think about are not ” new issues” at all) women either agree or disagree, but before they do they judge. As women we don’t have to agree with another womens action to be right or wrong, but that doesn’t mean we jump to conclusions about what it means. If you don’t support prostitution or sex workers rights in Canada, saying that what they do makes them “sluts” isn’t really helping anything at all. In fact in McClung’s, an article last year looked into the struggle for having more rights and who knows, maybe you will uncover something new.
We see women on screen on the streets and I know when I am around other women, I always hear the same crap, over and over again. Kristina and I talk about this all the time, (my super co-editor) and we always try to figure out how to solve this issue and what we can do to tell our readers and masthead. Clearly, it exists and bothers us.
This is not a man/woman/trans issue. It never was. Society has always kept labels opened for genders, if you dress a certain way then you are slut, if you decide to speak your mind you are bitch and if you’re a male and you shed a tear, you can be considered a fag. (I absolutely hate when people use any of these words and I have heard them all, and so have you). Oh and stop saying that’s so gay, I thought people got over that in 2003.
And we know labels exist but we continue to use them…
So take this time and consider what you say and to whom. If you identify yourself as a woman, to understand feminism or even what equality means, one has to understand that not all women are alike and because of this, judging each other isn’t going to solve anything in this wave. Even if you are not a feminist or consider yourself someone who would be, take a listen around you, all genders, and just put together what you hear. Maybe its the people I know, the house I grew up in or the neighbourhood I live in. Maybe it’s just me, but the more we stop hating each other, support one another and understand our issues through reading, watching or just talking to each other, we can learn a lot.
have a good week.