Diary of a feminist: 18/05/2010r

For Sawtalniswa by Sara AG

My coworker is a sexist guy. He thinks that women can’t drive because they can’t focus. “It’s in their genes” he explained to me. He later told me about his “scientific” theory that explains what it is in women’s vision that doesn’t allow them to focus on the road ahead. He also said that when we go back to the basics men are stronger- that’s just the way it is- and this is why men are superior. He finally explained how all fetuses in the first three months of pregnancy are girls, and then some of them develop to become boys.

This is the guy I go to work with everyday. This is a consultant working in my office, a guy who understands the complex theories of mathematics and finance but doesn’t get the simple notion of sexism. On the first day, I didn’t talk to him. On the second day, I had a debate with him. On the third day, I ignored him. I cannot work with such a guy. I refuse to sit next to him. I refuse to talk to him. But I don’t really have a choice; all I can do is avoid discussing anything that relates to women with him. Sexism is all around me, and I am tired.

I am tired. I do not want to create change for others. I want them to rot in their sexist, hypocritical, homophobic, and racist society. I want to leave to a place where people get it and where I don’t have to lie to myself in order to stay in this country and work toward change. I do not want to compromise anymore. I do not want to lead a life of disgust, and anger towards all the sexist people around me. Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” But it feels like the road to success is long; people have so much to understand and I do not want to be laughed at, ignored or fought in the meantime. Gandhi also said: “Everything you do in life will probably be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it”. How important and why?  I guess Gandhi never lived in the Lebanese society. No seriously–I do not want to spend my whole life fighting to create an insignificant change. It would be so much easier to just move somewhere where people get it. Wouldn’t it?

I love my feminism, I believe in it, live for and by it. But honestly, I wish I could go to a place where I don’t have to ever use this word again, a place where it doesn’t make sense. What’s so hard to understand people? How hard is it to get that gender stereotypes and roles put us in boxes and oppress us? I am not talking philosophy or very complicated anthropological theories, I’m just saying that you can’t tell me what I can and cannot do just because I’m a woman, you cannot decide for me on how I want to look, act, or live my life. You can’t pretend to know anything about me just because I’m a woman. For example:

-      I decide if I dream of getting married or not, of having kids or not, of staying at home or not. And no, if I decide not to have these things, it’s not because my husband’s paycheck doesn’t cover the bills, but because I choose to do it just like he can choose to stay at home.

-      You will not decide how well I can drive, fix my car, or clean the house, unless you see me do it.

-      You cannot decide what fields I can make it in. And no, being a teacher is not the best job for me since it allows me to earn money and still be able to put food on the table and raise my family in the afternoon. I have other criteria as well.

-      You will not decide what I need to wear in order to look beautiful or how I’m supposed to fix my hair in order to look feminine.

-      I decide whether a car or a job suits me. You cannot talk about “women” in general. We are not all one woman, we are different women, who like and prefer different things.

-      You cannot tell me what I’m supposed to do in life or what the role I’m BORN to fill is. I don’t even know what it is, and I will figure it out along the way.

 

How difficult are these concepts to understand? These are simple facts that all of us should agree on. I am tired of having those primitive debates with people. Today, I don’t feel like being positive about social change. Today, I am just disappointed. I am tired.

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