D’you remember those times when you were a kid, playing with your friends and siblings, and you were really good at one thing but the other kid wasn’t, and then they did something to stop you from being so good at it? Like that one time where your sister got angry that you could ride your bike much faster, and pushed you off? Or when your sister said that the cake didn’t taste good when it was the best you ever made? Or even just when your little brother came and destroyed that lego building you made?
Well I remember those times (and the badly scraped knees!) and today, I can laugh about it. We were kids. That’s how we were. I did it too. One time, in my teens, my sister and I cooked marmalade and we put some ‘creative’ herbs into it. And it ended up tasting so good that Dad told us it was the best ever. And when my sister said that it was her idea (which it was), I jumped in and told her off for lying – it was supposedly our idea. She didn’t say a word, and I got some praise from Dad.
Yes, I lied. I made my sister’s efforts smaller than they really were in order to make myself look better.
That’s what kids do. And some adults. But when adults do it, we usually think it’s bad character.
Well, unless they are the husbands of patriarchy. Then, of course, making others look smaller in order to appear stronger is normal behavior.
I recently posted about feminism and that it makes me an individual. Those ladies who are against feminism argue that this is exactly the point why feminism is to blame for everything that’s going wrong between men and women. Women trying to be good at something they’re not supposed to be good at.
You are not supposed to be good at anything men are supposed to do well. Because that, my friends, makes men act like silly crybabies. It makes them start lying, cheating and drinking, makes them treat you bad and leave you for that hot secretary (who, by the way, has a mischievous smile reserved just for him, Hi Debbi!).
Like Libby recently pointed out, feminism isn’t about being more powerful than men, it is, in its core, the claim that women are good at things they supposedly could naturally not be good at. It is the permission to develop the talents you have, no matter which area they’re in. It’s not about being better, it’s about being good at something, whatever it is.
As has been pointed out repeatedly, how can I consider a man a strong man when he feels threatened by the fact that I’m better at, say, fixing a car? For me, a strong man is not anymore a man who is only strong when I serve as his weak counterpart, a contrast figure, so to speak, which has no other purpose than proving that the man next to me is strong? No, I am not a contrast figure. I am not the natural anti-hero in the sense that I’m worse at everything my man wants to be good at.
Here’s the deal: I really am worse at things my boyfriend is good at. But that’s not because I act like it, that’s because it’s true. And the things he’s good at aren’t all ‘manly’ things. He has a much better sense for style and clothing. He is great at cleaning. He is better at fixing the car and he is better when it comes to socializing. I, on the other hand, am better at memorizing things. I am a better driver (he agrees with me on this one!). I am better at spending money and I am better at cooking. And I’m sure if you heard those things in a gender-neutral way, you couldn’t 100% decide who is the man.
A man isn’t a hero when I make him a hero. He doesn’t need me to glare with wet, empty-of-will eyes at him 24/7, he doesn’t need me to smile at him like a dork and praise him every time he manages to get dressed properly and completely on his own. A man is a hero because he can accept that I am one too (at least in his eyes). And he doesn’t automatically feel castrated when I’m good at things. Actually, I was recently called a heroine. For being good at something patriarchy tells me I shouldn’t be good at. A man who is a hero doesn’t hesitate to call others the same thing.