Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


10 Comments

Men are visual, women are not – A Confession

Dear men who think that they are ‘more visual’ than women, dear women who believe that,

I am a mid-twenties woman. I am a physically healthy and normally developed adult. Apart from the occasional quirk, I am also mentally healthy. Though I grew up somewhat exotic, I have adapted to ‘normal’ life in most ways. I dress the way you do, I watch the same stuff on TV, I eat the same things, I go the same places, and so on. There is no reason to believe that I am in any way abnormal. So, let me assure you that the confession you are about to read is not the result of a mental issue or any other developmental problem.

The belief that men are more visual than women is annoying to me. This belief is often attributed to purity culture, but really, it’s no different in the secular culture – it is the ultimate excuse why men watch (supposedly) more porn than women do.

My problem with this is: It’s not true. The actual problem is this: Women can’t admit that they are visual because that makes them sluts. So let me rename this “confession of a slut”.

When I see a man, dressed and all, I do not look at his impressive jaw or deep grey eyes or strong hands.

I look at your muscles, and your hips, and your nose (guess why). And if I can’t see them cause you’re wearing some fancy t-shirt, let me assure you: I can perfectly well imagine you naked. And even worse: I do it. all. the. time.

When I look at a man, I don’t stare at his eyes because they reflect some promise of love and tenderness. I look at your chest and imagine what it would look like in dim light. I wonder if you have a “V” and then I wonder if it would look good on you (it doesn’t on everyone).

When I look at your hands, I don’t see protection and strength. I wonder what they would look like with my hair between your fingers, and what they would feel like on my legs.

And when I look at your lower section… well, let’s say that I’m not dreaming of being the woman who will do your laundry some day. Believe me, I don’t.

I have all the imagination I need to picture you naked, even when you’re fully dressed. You cannot escape it, no matter how you behave or what you wear or say or do. I do not care about your positive character qualities. Not one – tiny – little – bit.

And it’s also irrelevant if I like you, or if I want something more. If you’re attractive, I’m going to be imagining you. Even if you didn’t even say hi. Even if I’ll never see you again. And yes, also if I do like you and want to see you again more than anything else.

If you want to know why I do that, I have to admit: Because it’s fun. Because I like thinking ‘dirty’ things. Because I enjoy the fantasy. Because it’s part of human nature to desire something new, exciting, beautiful.

And when you people say that men are more visual and women simply don’t act that way, I’m insulted. I am hurt. I hate hearing it because it robs me of my very own normal, natural and healthy sexuality. You take this away from me because I’m a woman and I’m not ‘wired that way’. You make me a freak and an abnormal beast that must have gotten too much testosterone at some point.

And then there are those who will say I act this way to attract men, because I subconsciously know that all men will consider me a ‘kinky freak‘ and a nympho. Believe me, I don’t. And it also doesn’t mean that my ‘No’ means less of a ‘No’.

I am perfectly able to say No and Yes and mean it. I am perfectly able to deal with my sexuality. I don’t have to put on a show because it makes me sexy, and I’m also not crazy or gross or a freak.

I am a normal, healthy mid-twenties woman and when I see a man, I imagine what he would look like naked. Because if nothing else, that is how I am ‘wired’.

 


5 Comments

Do we need feminism?

Libby Anne recently posted a short story on her blog. Long story short, she describes the way she felt when she met a man who was wearing a T-shirt with a pretty stupid and insulting anti-women message on it. When I scrolled down to the comment section, I was shocked. To echo a general idea of some of the comments “feminism has reached the goal of equality long ago – now feminism is all about pushing men into submission”. Yeah. Right.

The #aufschrei (=’crying out’) hashtag on twitter has addressed the very same issue in Germany about a year ago. Thousands on women have shared experiences with this hashtag, and many of these messages were met with disbelief by the public. “Is this really, really, true?”

Let me share some messages from the #aufschrei campaign (translated by me, taken from http://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2014-01/sexismus-debatte-folgen and http://www.onlinejournalismus.de/2013/01/25/aufschrei-sexismus-debatte-bei-twitter/).

“That stranger who kissed me on the shoulder for no reason”

“The coworkers who I overheard whispering to each other ‘They are going to hire two women, what do you think about that?'”

“The math teacher who told me I didn’t need to understand something, I’d be a mom anyway”

“Sitting on the subway, hearing two guys discuss my body and what they’d like to do with me”

“The guy on the bus/train/XY public space who grabbed my butt” (multiple tweets)

“When coworkers play an explicitly sexual song and ask me if I like the music”

“The man who hired bigger women because they are less likely to get pregnant”

This is just a small selection. This is normal. This is daily life for women. This is not “freedom of speech”. When your coworkers play a song that describes sexual scenes in detail and ask you if you like that ‘song’, that is not normal behavior, or acceptable, and has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It targets women and pushes them into a position were they cannot be anything else but victims of further harassment. (IE. if you answer “yes”, you are a slut and you’re “up for grabs”, if your answer is “no” you’re an uptight, prudish feminist).

Feminism is also about equal pay, equal chances, and yes, improvements have been huge. But at the end of the day, we still have to deal with comments like this every single day. If you think feminists are trying to push men to the margins of society, read the tweets above again and seriously ask yourself if that is ‘normal’ behavior. Ask yourself how you would feel if your daughter was in that place if you have to. And if your answer is “my daughter wouldn’t dress/act/go places/hang out with people/etc like that, so she would never be in that situation”, well then… think again and pray that you will never have a daughter.

I also want to share this very recent (and very short) German commercial (it is brazilian-themed due to the football world cup in brazil coming up in a few weeks). The company advertising here sells HiFi, Tvs, cameras, computers, etc and is, to my knowledge, the biggest company of this sort in Germany. Here’s a word for word translation:

“Guys! Didn’t you want to marinate the chick(en)s?” (small note: in German, the same word can be used for ‘chick’ and ‘chicken’)

Now, knowing that, take a look at this commercial:

Now tell me, don’t you feel appreciated in your femininity? No? Weird. Me either.

Finally, I don’t know if this has been shared before, but I want to share it. This video pretty much sums up a bunch of very important reason why feminism is still important:

 


10 Comments

Good (enough?)

I’m having one of those days. I’m supposed to study (catch up on some readings) and I just.can’t.get.myself to do it. I’m constantly staring at the wall, the air, check something in my room (did I put the pants away?), walk to the kitchen, open the fridge, stare at the fridge, close the fridge. I just can’t work today, but I really should. Readings are due tomorrow.

These are the times I can’t help but wonder what on earth made me believe that I’m good enough for this. My own behavior frustrates me so much. I can’t concentrate, I can’t read. I wish I knew a way out but I don’t.

Often times I believe that my obsession with “being good enough” has a lot to do with my religious past. Growing up, being a certain way was a central element. They always say christianity isn’t about being ‘good enough’ or ‘doing good things’ to get to go to heaven, but at the end of the day it is. It’s about behaving a certain way, wearing certain things, saying and thinking them. The constant pressure to be good enough, even if only for your parents, if not for God, is something that never quite leaves you.

I wish I could be better. I wish I could study harder, memorize more, know more. When I don’t, I blame myself. It’s because I didn’t try hard enough, it’s because I wasn’t good enough. But God – or teachers – don’t tell us to do things that can’t be done, right? If I fail, it must be something about me that isn’t ok.

And what does failing mean, anyway? What standard do you have to meet to ‘succeed’? Perfection? In our world, perfection is the only valuable standard. Everything but perfection is failure. No matter the reasons – you should’ve thought ahead and avoided the things out of your control, somehow.


4 Comments

Because she’s an addict (of course).

I was browsing Michael and Debi’s blog for new articles and came across one post that I had read previously, but today it kind of inspired me. (http://nogreaterjoy.org/articles/safeguarding-your-children/)

The article is about children, prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and everything else that’s evil. What struck me was the tale of the prostitute. Let me quote:

Once during a trip to Memphis with our family, I recalled seeing on a downtown street a half-dressed woman being jerked around and slapped by a man in a pink suit.
“She’s a prostitute,” Dad told us. “He’s a pimp. She works for him, selling her body to lascivious men who will burn in hell, so that she can continue to buy drugs to satisfy her addiction. God hates prostitution and pornography, kids. It destroys lives and families.” We kids stared in horror at the man and woman who were now stumbling into a building with neon signs and blacked out windows.

Apart from the fact that apparently, pimps have a thing for pink suits, what struck me most was how Michael, the Command man, reacted to this. Hate the sin, love the sinner, they say. Women and children must be protected, they say. So, let me ask you this: What would you do if you witnessed a woman getting beat up on the street by a guy? I certainly hope you would call the cops. I would. Apparently, Michael doesn’t think that’s necessary. Why? Let’s read on:

“Do you know what pornography is?” Dad persisted. We stared at him, still shaken by what we had just seen. “It is photographs of naked men and women… and other things I won’t even tell you about.”
“Why do those women let people take pictures of them when they are naked?” we asked.
“Most of those women were molested when they were kids, by their uncles, their brothers, friends, or even by complete strangers. They have no self-value. They feel worthless, and so they don’t guard their bodies. Instead, they sell their bodies for money to other worthless men who are molesting other women and girls.” We all swallowed hard and shuddered.
“God hates this kind of sin so much, that when the children of Israel went into Canaan, he told Joshua to kill every man, woman, and child because they had all been involved in sexual sins.

Right, because obviously they are sinners engaging in perversion and since God commands to kill them, well, why bother calling the cops? Right? Right?

This part of the article contains another piece of important information: All prostitutes and porn stars were molested as children. Now, I looked this up and I found that this is, in fact, true to some extend. Depending on the study you consult, you will get around 50% of all prostitutes have been sexually abused as children. Interesting additional info: Over 80% of them have experienced physical violence during childhood (Hello Pearl Family!).

Of course, many prostitutes did not choose to do that job. There are various reasons why women get into the red light scene (drug addiction and abuse being two factors, but not the only ones). Does that give us the right to sit here, judging them for their possible addiction, their possible background and experiences? The fact that the woman may simply be a single mom with no chance to feed her kids otherwise? According to Michael, it does. Sitting by watching people getting physically abused is perfectly fine if that person is a “sinner”.

But what does that, in the end? We get to sit on our high horses watching the misery of others, and what we really do, what we really do in that moment, is contributing to their abuse. We allow it to happen. We enforce it. Michael Pearl, by leaving the supposed prostitute alone with a man who is physically abusing her, has sanctioned further abuse.

Christian communities speak of healing and getting over past traumas. How is that going to work if we watch the abuse, if we sanction it as self-imposed choice?

What would really help is decriminalizing the victims, giving them the legal means and ways to defend themselves, to join groups and really change something. Help doesn’t mean watching and preaching how awful it all is. Helping means getting out of your car and helping victims leave the cycle of abuse – more abuse. That doesn’t mean that abuse wouldn’t happen, but it certainly would help those affected by it. So all that talk of protecting the “weaker vessel” would finally make sense in a social reality that is, in fact, reality for many.


11 Comments

The evolution lie

Disclaimer: SARCASM INTENDED! I know my argumentation is, of course, not valid (or even in any sense on par with the evolution theory). This post was inspired by a recent facebook comment in which it was argued that evolution cannot be real because new scientific results which cause minor changes in how evolution has progressed would invalidate the entire theory. 2000 years is not enough time to really bring forth visible changes (as far as I know) and also, I want to note that the dictionary definition I used was of course just one option and not the ‘basic’ meaning of evolution. No worries!

Growing up I believed that everything was God’s creation and that the earth was around 6000 years old. That seemed to make so much sense. There was all kinds of evidence, too! Like those guys who calculate population growth and find that the earth couldn’t be more than 6000 years old lest we be stacked on top of each other by now. I’m sorry for not looking this up in much more detail, it reminds me how much this frustrated me as a kid. I never really understood these things – my science classes weren’t advanced enough to really ‘get’ it.

Either way, I recently thought about creationism vs evolution. You see, after leaving I got some more into the whole science deal and found that evolution isn’t so bad. It actually kind of makes sense.

But there’s one thing, one major flaw in the evolution theory, and this I can’t get over.

If you look up the word evolution, you’ll find the meaning described as something like this:

“A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form”

So, by default, if evolution were true, we would expect humans, and all other living beings, to develop into something better.

When I read my Bible, I read tales of adultery, crime and anger, of cowardice and violence and whatnot. The woman who cheats on her man. The warriors who kill their enemies. The man who can’t wait to slit every baby boy’s throat. The calls for a stoning here and a stoning there. For bringing kids and women into subjection, for allowing parents to do as they please when it comes to their kids. You know the story. It’s all there, the lies, the slander, the awful ways people act.

Fast forward 2000+ years later. I read calls for the stoning of rebellious children. I read stories of ‘betrothal’ in which the opinion and will of a woman is neglected to a point to (borderline-)rape as a form of marriage promise. Of people hating those different from themselves (e.g. gays, muslims, and so on, google is your friend!). Of people demanding a ‘christian nation’ and punishment of ‘sins’ by civil law.

We haven’t changed at all! We haven’t become better people. We are still those evil, filled-with-hate bigots who fear everything outside our own comfort zone. Evolution tells me that humanity should develop. I don’t see it. In fact I wish evolution did what scientists say it should do, because then we could finally get over all of these awful ideas and believes and just live happily ever after. But as long as narrow-minded believers block all forms of evolution into better human beings, I don’t see that happening.

Can I get a Q.E.D.?


4 Comments

Life… happens!

Life can be so intriguing. There are so many things happening right now. With christmas approaching fast and school and work and friends and all, I had way too little time to get anything done really. I’ll tell you a secret: I bought stacks and stacks of holiday decorations, and they’re still sitting in the corner of my room because I didn’t get around to actually decorate. I guess I could be doing that right now, but I figured I’d rather post on my blog!

I’m studying like crazy and I’m enjoying the results so far. It really feels good to know that the work you do is progressing. I enjoy the hours I spend reading books. Somehow, I consider that “me-time”.

In all this fuzz, I completely forgot getting home sick. I’m not home sick often anymore these days, but sometimes it hits me. Especially christmas is hard, when I miss baking and playing with my siblings. The excited eyes and the special air, kind of as if there were a well-kept secret in the room.

Here, christmas is different. Not worse, just very different. There’s mulled wine everywhere (literally, EVERYWHERE!), staining your lips black and blue after the second cup. The air is already icy, your ears will feel numb within a few minutes, lights everywhere.

Growing up on the country I enjoyed the few occasions we went shopping in a bigger city during christmas. The people, the lights, the overload of everything at once, it all fascinated me. Now I live in one of those “bigger cities” (well, I study there at least, but isn’t that kind of the same?), I learned to hate holidays in the city. I’m saying that with a smirk, and some genuine anger. The people, the lights, the overload of everything… it’s awful! I hate shopping, I hate wanting nothing but a pair of pants and instead getting beaten up by a horde of rabid shoppers at h&m because I grabbed the last pair of those pants that are on sale! I hate going to the inner city grocery store to get a small bottle of coke for my purse, standing in line for 20 minutes, just to end up smiling at the cashier who is, and I’m saying this as nicely as I can, in such a bad mood that I’m wondering if she is a close relative of the Grinch. Not even saying ‘hello’ to your customers is not friendly. Not replying to your customers’ friendly ‘hello’ is so unfriendly that I would bet my wallet on you sprouting green hair real soon. I would love to meet you with a “I won’t come here again!”, but matter of fact, this is the only place to get a bottle in the whole city – at least in walking distance – minus the drug store. So, why not go to the drug store? Well, because if the cashier at the grocery store is the Grinch’s close relative, the cashier at the drug store is his evil mother-in-law (who possibly turned the Grinch himself into a fur coat, evil as she is) and the lines at the checkout, oh, the lines… they’re even longer. I know where I won’t be buying any christmas gifts. Once you made it out of the coke-bottle hell, you stumble back onto the street just to bump into the next little hut that proclaims to sell “the best mulled wine in town”, as they all do. Now, you get to fight your way through the masses of people standing happily around with their steaming mugs as if they rented the place. And don’t even dare to touch anyone while making your way through, lest you’ll be gifted evil looks and hisses of “Watch out! My wine!”. Yeah, I get it, christmas is that time of the year where everyone gets to get drunk in the middle of the street – at 11 AM.

Either way, I recently found a solution that makes shopping much more pleasant. Why fight your way through the wine-drinking crowds when you can be a part of them? Instead of trying to beat my way through angry shoppers, ditching angry cashiers and trying not to spill other people’s wine, I just have 3 or 4 cups myself (but only one  before 11 AM, cause, you know, getting drunk too early is totally inappropriate!). Once I’m sufficiently funny to deal with the angry hordes again, I start skipping through the streets, into h&m, where this time I simply won’t care if that mean blonde pushes me to the side to steal the last jacket that’s on sale right now (that is, after I threatened her that I will literally and genuinely bite her if she takes the last one, my rabid eyes glittering angrily and just a touch of purple-colored spit emerging from my growling lips). Nah, I’ll just laugh it off and start singing “Who neeeeeds a jaaaacket when wiiiiiiiiiine keeps me waaaaarm!” and have another one. That will also stop me from going into that god awful grocery store again. The guys selling the mulled wine are so much nicer anyway.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 230 other followers