Sunday, December 21, 2014

Why you should be glad I don't want to be your fairytale princess.

With the rise of feminism, many of us are rejecting the old standard of the ideal woman. I don’t want to be your Cinderella. I don’t think I could be if I tried.

>I’m not a great cook, my room is always messy, and pretty much any roommate I’ve ever had will tell you that I don’t wash my dishes in a timely manner. I’ve known what career I’ve wanted since I was ten years old, and I will prioritize work responsibilities before having a spotless kitchen or always having a home-cooked meal for dinner.

>I don’t always care if you think I’m pretty. Sure, sometimes I like getting dressed up. But other times I just want to wear a t-shirt and sweat pants. And no, they won’t always be those yoga pants that make my butt look good. Maybe you don’t think I’m classy for showing up to a lecture in my pajama bottoms with my unwashed hair in a messy bun. But guess what? I’M COMFY. Besides, at least I showed up.

>And I’m definitely not always meek, mild, and sweet. I can be obnoxious, I can be annoying, and I can be a jerk. It’s part of the whole being human thing.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Here’s the best part about rejecting the gender stereotypes we see in fairytale relationships: IT GOES BOTH WAYS.

Look, I’m no Cinderella. But I don’t need her kind of Prince Charming, either.

>I don’t need a rich kid who brings home enough money for bills + weekly manicures. I want a man who is doing whatever he’s passionate about, whether or not that entails a traditional career. We’ll deal with chores, bills, and kids accordingly. It isn’t just about rejecting what society thinks our roles in the relationship should be. It’s about splitting responsibilities and supporting each other’s dreams in a way that works for us as a unique pairing of two unique people.

>I don’t need the guy who all the girls at the ball came to chase. If and when I end up settling down, the number of women who are jealous that I’ve taken my man off the market is totally irrelevant. I just need someone who I can’t get enough of…and who can’t get enough of me. It isn’t just about realizing that women have other sources of value than physical beauty. It’s about realizing that people are diverse and there is no such thing as “the perfect woman” OR “the perfect man.”

>And he doesn’t need to be the infallible gentleman who is always strong and can fix anything. I’m attracted to humans, which means I’m attracted to beings as imperfect as myself. It isn’t just about dissolving negative perceptions of female emotion. It’s about realizing that NOBODY has it all together, that treating your partner with love and respect will never be effort-free, and that any successful relationship involves learning to apologize AND forgive with grace.

And at this point, some will say, “Aha! If more feminists were like this, maybe I’d support them more.”

Here’s the thing: if a woman is using feminism to demand change for women yet deny it to men, she isn’t using it correctly. The feminist movement is not about women “getting ahead.” It’s about getting equal. And many of the issues that affect women also affect men.

And here, there will be another round of folks who say, “Well if it isn’t just about women, why call it feminism?”

Not so fast. Many of the issues feminists are fighting to address do affect men, but that doesn’t mean we’re all equally unequal. Maybe it isn’t any fairer to expect a man to be the bread winner than to expect a woman to be the stay-at-home partner. Historically, however, being the bread winner HAS come hand in hand with having more power and respect within the household and society in general. When we see more women succeeding in the realms of business and politics and less woman being sexually harassed, maybe then we can talk about retiring the word and replacing it with a less gendered alternative.

In the end, I guess what I’m trying to say is: we don’t want to be the girls that history and our resulting society demand us to be. But we don’t want the boys demanded by that same narrative, either.

We are human beings who want to connect with, love, and be loved by other human beings.

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