About a month ago, I discovered a new daily read. I say 'discover' as if it was an unknown, as if I were Christopher Columbus or something. Fact is, Raven's blog (Don't Quote The Raven) has been extremely popular looonnng before I even stumbled onto it. As is common with me, I read this post of hers and after leaving a longish comment, instantaneously felt inspired to write a post. (Not that I'm complaining, inspiration is never a bad thing!).
So, why don't I believe 'equality for women'? I guess the best place to start in explaining this is to question: why should I want it? The best answer I can come up with for the latter question (and what I've often heard) is that society views women as 'unequal'. Women are paid less than men for the same jobs, called 'bossy' or dismissed as 'bitchy' when they are simply acting like a boss or being passionate, looked at negatively for waiting to have children because of their career when men do the same thing. You know, a whole bunch of examples like that. I'm not flipping all that off - I am not oblivious to the fact that society handles women differently than men. My thing is, why should that determine what I personally believe?
To clarify, I strongly believe in supporting women. I've said it briefly before, I don't get why women hate on other women. We all gossip every now and then about this one's new haircut or that one's massive breakout, but to hate on another woman solely because she is a woman really is an entirely different thing. Which lends to my next point: although I'm all about supporting women, I'm not all about supporting women on the basis of women being oppressed as a gender. To me, that idea is more damaging than helpful. The moment I buy into that thought, it becomes my limitation. To place stock in that inherent inequality does nothing for me besides stifling my life, and this applies to both gender, race and any other -ism producing difference between one person and the next. For instance, when I was in high school, one comment (followed by multiple similar-minded comments) opened my eyes and could've changed my whole view if I let it. On a Friday night, I was hanging out with a few people, including my crush. I wasn't really paying attention to the conversation until I heard my crush speak up.
"But, why give a shit?", says my crush.
"Because not caring isn't nearly as cool as you pretend it is. It's depressing," responds someone in the group.
"I'm the only black kid in my whole class. They'll never see me as the same as them so why bother trying? You think I'm getting an A+ too? Nah, I'll take my Cs and graduate next year. Who cares", says my now-non-crush.
I cared. In high school, I worked my little tush off basically teleporting from school to my after school Honors Society meetings to the gym so I could instruct my tiny tots gymnastics class and practice my own routines for 3 hours. I was running my metaphorical balls off (that might be the wrong metaphor for this post, yeah?). And to think that according to him, all of that was a waste of time because I'd just be seen as unequal to my white counterparts. I started losing interest in said stupid crush boy at that moment because, well, he was loser with a capital 'L'. I wish I could say that this is an isolated statement, but it wasn't. Far from it. I've heard similar sentiments expressed in regards to wearing your best suit to an interview, speaking proper English, loading on extra-curriulars in college and countless other achievements. It was always "why try if they're just gonna give it to the white kid?". Adapted to the current topic, "why try if they're just going to hand it to the man?" And that negative outlook, perpetuated by the ideal that we are born with the stamp of inequality, isn't helping anyone. And I'm a brown woman, that's two strikes in some people's books. I just. I can't. I just can't. If I did, if I gave value to this societal view of me, if I give breath to its existence or waste time contemplating my second place standing, I'd spend my whole life trying to 'measure up'.
To "strive for equality", in my opinion, is to admit that I'm not just as good as some guy and his ball sack. Nope, don't think so. I'm aware of the political and social uses of this phrase as a tool to push for things like equal pay and proper rape shield laws, and in those contexts, it's a blessing. But as far as I am personally concerned, I'm not for women or for men. Not to diminish those strides, how I hold myself out to the world is based on what I know to be true and important. I'm a hard-working person, I know plenty of people (men and women) that I am smarter than and even more that are far more intelligent than I, my values are strong and my will is stronger, I know what I want even if I'm not always brave enough to reach for it, not being successful terrifies me but not trying terrifies me even more. Just like everybody else. I won't allow societal pressures to make me feel like the inferior gender or race. If I did, I'd drown in them. And frankly, God says I'm just a good as men, so whatever other argument is invalid.
Of course, all of this is simply my opinion, and I respect the opinion of others as well as anything that has to do with girl power (Spice Girls fans, standup!). As I stated in my comment on Raven's post (have you read that post yet?), "I'm not trying to hit that ceiling, and I refuse to strive for equality just because I have boobs and an amazing all-year-round tan. I don't want to make the same $ as men, I want all the monies - not because I'm a woman but because I'm a talented human being."
Word. All the monies to buy all the things.