I try to surround myself with like-minded individuals. These people are usually feminists–whether or not they use that specific term. It’s been two years since I’ve been out of school (what have I been doing with me life!) and yet I still feel like I haven’t adjusted to reality. Like, the reality of dealing with sexists. And even worse, drunk sexists. I’ve tried different tactics but they never seem to work.
When drinking in public I am trying to have a good time, so when I encounter a stranger I try to give the person the benefit of the doubt. Last night I decided I was going to stop doing that. This incredibly drunk guy was trying to make the argument that irish men are just as oppressed as women. Seriously. The group I was with seemed to be humoring him. When he looked at me I said,”your argument is stupid, you should stop talking.” And of course, he didn’t stop talking. To which I was like, “no, really, shut the fuck up.”
Perhaps it’s the season of bitchiness. I’m not going to sit around and have stupid conversation with jackasses any more. Sure, I’d love to be able to have an intelligent conversation with someone on the topic of oppression in the Americas but most of the time it’s nearly impossible to get through to anyone when they already have their “theories” set (and are on a drunk rant).
I’ve realized that as a feminist trying to survive in our culture I have made sacrifices to “keep the peace,” when I should have instead created an uproar. I have a very deep internal conflict about how I should interact with assholes. As many of us learned early in the gender studies program–it’s important to pick your battles selectively. And since I prefer not to fight, I rarely ever pick one.
I know I have an issue with being a people-pleaser. Like, I want everyone around me to get along and be happy and I will do whatever I need to do to make that possible. But, fuck that, it’s not my job to play peace-maker or to humor someone that I don’t even know just because I’m nice. I don’t have to be nice. And I think that is the most important lesson learned. I see oppression, I see sexism, racism, homophobia etc. and I don’t want to be a part in perpetuating that system of complete fuckedupness so I let everyone say whatever they want– and that itself is fucked up. It’s not my job to help anyone else feel good about themselves and when they say something ignorant I should call them out on it. It shouldn’t be about “keeping the peace” because it’s not peaceful to talk like that.
The more I think about it, the more I like the tactic that I used last night:
“What you are saying is stupid, now go fuck off.”
Then if they try to argue more.
“I said, fuck off.”
Because later that night when the bar was closing the guy came up and apologized. So, he obviously knew deep down in his drunk subconscious that he was being a sexist asshole. Shut the oppressor down. Give room for other voices, thoughts, opinions, from people who maybe don’t get the opportunity to speak very often.
I need to get over the fact that I will be seen as a bitch. This is hard because the truth of the matter is I really do want everyone to like me. No one deep down wants anyone to not like them, unless maybe they’re masochists. Or have a severe mental issue.
I can’t help always wanting everyone to get along–it’s why I’m a feminist to begin with. I do not believe there should be as much conflict as what exists in the world today and I believe it should be simple to live peacefully. Since this seems to be a rare idea I suppose I should offer it to the world more often. Even if it means telling others to fuck off so I (or someone more well-versed) can speak.