Here are some arguments that I, Paprika, am done having. I know there are more, and I’ll probably write a sequel later, but right now it’s 2:33 a.m., and I have a paper to finish.
I got really cranky in this post. I tried not to, but I couldn’t help it. I blame John Thune.
Argument: Sexism against women is dead, thanks to feminism! Now everyone is sexist against the menz! Oh, the menz. How sad they all are.
Reality: Sorry, but no. There is no sexism against men. Prejudice? On occasion. But not sexism. You see, were this really a magical post-feminist utopia, a lot of shit would be different. For example: reproductive freedom would be a given; Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have to fight for government funding; there would be no rape, no domestic violence, no street harassment, no subway flashers, no workplace discrimination; lady health issues would be taken seriously; they’d finally do something to make PAP smears more pleasant (I request a cashmere bathrobe); women wouldn’t be constantly slut-shamed just for like, getting laid and stuff; eating disorders would be practically non-existent because, ZOMG, women’s natural bodies are actually kinda beautiful!; women would be welcomed into all workplaces and academic fields (mechanics! physics! the ladies are infiltrating the world!); women could get angry without being dismissed as “hysterical” or “narcissistic”; all MRAs would have stupided themselves out of existence a long time ago; and blaming an eleven-year-old girl for her gang rape would be a complete fucking impossibility.
Also, there would be no patriarchy. And that wouldn’t just help women—it would help everyone. Because while the patriarchy is especially harmful to women given that, you know, they’re not allowed to join, it also forces men into specific roles they might not actually want. In fact, were the patriarchy to finally collapse on itself like the metaphorical broken futon it is, the world would be better for everyone.
And I know this is hard to believe, but despite being a cray-cray dude-hating feminist, that’s basically the world I want.
Argument: Reverse racism! It oppresses me.
Reality: Didn’t I just address this? …Oh wait, I was talking about sexism. Well, whatever—same tree, different branch.
You know, here’s the thing. As with gender, individuals can be prejudiced against whatever group they want. I, for example, am prejudiced against fish. I can’t help it—they’re so creepy, what with their oily sheens, big dumb eyes, and perpetually gasping mouths.
And, sure, people of color can be prejudiced against other groups. But this is Amurrica, and there just is no institutionalized racism against white people. There can’t be, what with all the institutionalized racism against non-white people. Sorry.
White people, as a group, are fine. And you know all those “freedoms” you keep bitching about?—you know, the ones that are being stolen from you by the lazy, dirty, not-white people? They aren’t freedoms, they’re privileges. You’re not actually entitled to all the scholarships, or guaranteed admittance to the undergraduate business program of your dreams. I mean, you think you are, and that’s fine, but you’re full of shit.
Argument: Clinically depressed people are just weak! They need to pick up their brains by their bootstraps, or something.
Reality: I wish people would understand the massive difference between occasionally feeling down, and actually being depressed. That one time last month when you had a case of The Sads, which you got over by going for a bike ride, eating some waffles, and watching terrible Lifetime movies =/ depression. You know why? Because you got over it by going for a bike ride, eating some waffles, and watching terrible Lifetime movies.
I know—it looked like depression to you. But clinical depression isn’t cured that way, on account of it being, you know, clinical. It’s not the same. You overcame your situational Sads—congratulations. I bet that was hard.
Now if you could just remember that your particular experience is not actually representative of everyone else’s, we’ll be fine.
Argument: You need to stop ranting about the state of the world and take action!
Reality: People really love the word “rant,” don’t they? But it has such a negative connotation.
If I mention a terrible news story and then go off on a tangent about how we all need to move to the moon because the world is awful and there’s no point living on earth anymore, that’s a rant. If I mention a terrible news story and then offer a clear, logical analysis, that is not a rant. Not even if I sound angry when I give it. It’s just a firmly-worded opinion, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Of course, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with rants, either, as long as they’re in moderation. Sometimes ranting is very soothing. Personally, just voicing my feelings can help me de-stress.
But what I really take issue with is this idea that you’re only allowed to complain if you’re also, say, camping outside the state capital surrounded by throngs of protesters. Social activism is a privilege. It requires time and money that a lot of people (myself included) simply don’t have. Even on a small scale, it at least necessitates a consistent internet connection. Not everyone has these things. That doesn’t mean they don’t get to be angry.
Besides, simply sharing information is a hugely important step in itself. And if the only people voicing their anger are those lucky enough to travel to protests (which in South Dakota is no easy task), or people able to donate money to the causes of their choice, etc., well, we have lost a lot of voices.