Recommends: Liking Women

I really, really, really, really, really recommend everyone go read this.

Even most feminist women have to make a habit of liking women, of rewriting that entrainment to reflexively see other women in negative terms, and replacing it with a spirit of sisterhood. A lot of women exceptionalize the women in their lives in the same way men do. My group of female friends having fun at this bar is awesome; that other group of female friends having fun at this bar is a bunch of skanks. That is the way we are all socialized to view women—their individual value determined by proximity and affiliation, rather than merit.

I have been feminist for a long time, but it wasn't until I found fat acceptance that it really clicked for me that feminism requires Liking Women and Trusting Women, and that anything less is just another packaged form of patriarchy.

I like women. I don't judge them for being thin or fat, for being pretty or plain, for dressing up or down, for sharing my tastes or not, regardless of their religion, their political affiliation, their culture, their country, their family dynamics. I don't fantasize about about being exceptional or better or above all those other women, and I don't enjoy fantasies about women being put in their place while I rise to the top like the creme de la creme.

But thanks to the patriarchal narratives I grew up with, it took me a long time to get to this place.


Laura G said...

Ooh, I feel awkward starting the comments on this one...

I had a hard time coming to like women because of a pair of experiences I had in high school. I participated in this club where, once a week at lunch time, a pair of really cool nuns would let us hang out in a lounge, watch movies, and theoretically discuss issues but that didn't happen often.

One year, just by chance, I was the only girl in a group of boys. And the guys all pretty much knew where they stood with one another.

The next year, it was the opposite: one boy and the rest of us girls. And the girls would all act like each other's best friends, and then as soon as any one of them left the room, all they talked about was how that one girl was a bitch and/or a slut (I suppose the awesome nuns were frequently distracted, as they would not have let this stand had they heard).

So I learned, incorrectly, that if a boy treats you like a friend, take it at face value; if a girl treats you like a friend, be prepared to be insulted once your back it turned.

Then in college I encountered guys who were my friends because Nice Guyism; in grad school I finally met women who admitted to the same attitude towards game-playing and fake friendships that I did.

I now have great friends of both genders. But unfortunately, instead of trusting women at face value more, I think I just trust men at face value less, and hope to be happily proven wrong either way. Which is sort of the opposite of what I gather I should be doing.

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