It’s those little things that count.
Friday 20th August, 2010 - 4:25pm
Last night, my friends and I hung out for the one last time before returning to college. We ended our night with with a trip to the movie theater watching The Expendables. Although I won’t spoil the plot, I will say that I thought to myself that the movie was not worth the watch for the first half of the movie. Things got more interesting toward the end so it’s passable. After we left the theater, my friends were talking about the movie like everyone else were. Now since I’m normally “the quiet one” in the group, I am the one who listens to what others have to say and not my opinion unless it’s really necessary. After everyone else expressed their opinions, one friend asked me what I thought of the movie. I, being the honest friend I am, said that it was “kind of boring and really wasn’t worth the watch unless one had the patience to sit through it”…Or so I would’ve said had another friend not interrupted me after my saying the phrase “worth the watch.” This another friend said that such reaction is expected since I’m just a girl. He continued with something like how girls would be bored by excessive action and lack of drama/romance.
Before I go any further, I would like to point out that this is not a complaint entry in response to his [this another friend] statement. This entry does, however, point out how it’s the accumulation of tolerance of subtle gender inequalities that “grow” into something bigger. It also allows me to revisit the whole concept of what being a feminist is all about. Be warned: what I’m about to say might not be what you’re expecting to read. I suspect that my views might come out to be a little cold and harsh. However, I will not use any profanity so rest assured.
As far as I know, there is no objectively correct way of being a feminist. If you believe that women are equal to men in every – except biological – aspect and advocate equal treatment regardless of gender, then you are a feminist. Then again, that’s how others see it. I, on the other hand, will go even further and define feminism as acknowledgment of equality in every – again, except biological – aspect regardless of sex. Note that I didn’t say gender for there is a slight difference between sex and gender. Sex is biologically defined whereas gender is socially defined. Therefore, I will refer “women” as females and “men” as males to help make things universally easier. Believe me, there are places that don’t classify gender the way the westerners do.
Going back to what my friend said about how I’m just a girl, he excused my boredom just because I’m “a girl” and that it’s expected for “a girl” to be more into drama and romance and everything else in between. Why though? Is it really because only we females are “programmed” to love that sort of thing? After all, the society finds it acceptable for females to react emotionally when watching a romantic movie and give a slightly-bored – or even better, appalled – reaction in response to a more action/physical movie. On the contrary, it is considered more “normal” for the males to be excited in response to action and suppress their own feelings in response to more sentimental genres. I guess this is why he expected for me to find The Expendables to be boring [at first] which isn’t the case. I won’t get into too much details, but the main reason I was slightly disappointed is because it was a little overdone by my standards. That’s all there is to it. But since I’m a girl, it just had to be because it was *exaggeration* all action and no plot *end exaggeration* right?
The aforementioned experience serves as a good example of how subtle inequality builds up to something even bigger: gender inequality. As mentioned, it was “understandable” for me to not find the entire movie exciting. But when a male says the same thing, he’s “at risk of losing his manhood.” Where did I get that? I overheard some random guy saying that to one of his male friends who had the similar reaction to the movie as mine. See the difference in the expectation? If so, I guess there’s no need for me to talk about my work experience then. I’m sure quite a few of you would agree: females are typically treated a little more leniently than males are. In the short run, we females enjoy the luxury of convenience and forgiveness. However in the long run, we are seen as a group of people who are to be treated with less expectations, thus seen as “less” than our male counterparts.
What’s sad is that, the way I see it, quite a few self-appointed feminists want to retain the feminine behaviors and treatments while fighting for equality. As nice as it sounds, I find that to be simply impossible. What they fail to see is that some of those nice treatments that we are getting are due to gender inequality. How do we know if those treatments or expectations are sources of inequality? Easy: if it is considered “abnormal” for our male counterparts to request those same treatments that are considered “normal” for females to receive.
This is where things get a little extreme: in order to truly attain equality, we might have to renounce some of the luxuries that we’re currently enjoying. Here’s a good example: clothing. It is totally acceptable for females to wear relatively more revealing attires for casual wear – i.e. short shorts – while males…not so much. [Sports attires are excluded.] In formal events, there are multiple designs of dresses for “women”. Although there are minor detailed differences in “men’s” formal attires, the overall design is more similar. The major difference between the males and females is that with females, it’s all about how they’re “decorated”. Just look at the make-up, hair, accessories, and of course dresses. Males don’t have much option because “they don’t need to worry about it too much“.
Long-story short, get rid of this gender-divided fashion. That means it’s whether we deem these attires acceptable for for everyone to wear or just get rid of such attires altogether. Told you this entry is going to be harsh. After all, wouldn’t it be unreasonable of us females to fight for “equality” while retaining some those luxurious [discriminatory] treatment we get? If we want equality, we have to take one small step at a time. In the end, it’s those little things that count.