I just had an interesting exchange at work. I was chatting to a really great cis-woman I work with. She is married with two children but always engages in harmless flirtation with me (she starts it, I indulge her, it makes her feel good LOL).
During the exchange she wondered what her name would sound like if she had my last name (as if we were married). I stated, jokingly, that if we were married I would take her last name, and that women who unquestioningly took their husband’s last name were simply perpetuating their own oppression.
As you can imagine some mindlessness pretty quickly came into the equation, because I had challenged the unchallengeable – namely, the sacrosanct doctrine that the heterosexual white male is king, and that women are naturally subservient to him.
A second cis-woman who sits nearby interjected with, “It’s not oppression if you choose to take your husband’s last name. Women are not oppressed because they have the right to choose.” She looked so impressed with herself after delivering this sermon from Up On High. The first cis-woman I was speaking to looked at me and said, “And I choose not to listen to your views.” I pretended to joke along with them (for the sake of harmony in the workplace), and said “Geez, don’t let any feminists hear you say that”, and was confronted with a third cis-woman who stated, “We are feminists, we’re women.” I just laughed (again for the sake of office harmony) but in reality I was mortified that these people were so completely unaware of how happily oppressed they really were (and how completely the opposite of feminist they were).
This is the kind of crap I deal with on a daily basis in the hetero-dominated environment of my workplace. Cis-males and cis-females wandering around in Comas of Conditioning. They like to pat themselves on the back for being members of an enlightened, progressive, sophisticated culture, and yet all I can see is unconsciousness. Severe social, spiritual, and intellectual unconsciousness.
The point is, I have read more feminist literature than any of the cis-women in my office. I am more of a feminist than all of them put together. I consciously choose not to use language that perpetuates the oppression of any group, whilst these so-called feminists run around mouthing off about each other all day long with statements like “It must be that time of the month” and “She’s a bitch” and “She might calm down a bit if she had a man or had a good fuck.” Yes, you are fabulously fabulous feminists, all!
My personal predicament (being part of a well-hated minority) has helped me to become conscious of oppressive language and actions. What I can’t understand is how the cis-women I work with, being an oppressed group themselves, cannot also see this.
My suspicion is that these cissexuals, despite having their much-touted “choices”, would go through their entire lives without thinking once about actually choosing a choice that didn’t completely fall in line with age-old oppressive patriarchal conventions.
In other, shorter words, there’s no chance in hell one of these women would NOT “choose” their husband’s last name.
Frighteningly, to these people, the very idea that a male can be a feminist is illogical. I wanted to ask, “So, having this wonderful freedom of choice between your husband’s name and your own, would you really ever consider keeping your own name?” The predictable argument would be “Of course I would consider it” when the real meaning of the words are “Are you out of your mind?! I would never in a million years keep my own name, because that wouldn’t be normal and I want to be normal just like all my other straight friends.”
It just shows how strongly a mind can hold onto its conditioning, particularly for those who identify as heterosexual in our society.
You might be wondering what this has to do with my blog. It’s simple, really. Homophobic language is the language of anti-woman sexism. It’s the language that insidiously creeps into most gender constructions in our society. It’s the language that says the masculine gender is superior and more desirable to the feminine. It’s the language that says men are better and stronger than women, in every aspect.
Homophobic language is sexism against women directed at men. Men who, according to accepted social “norms” are somehow “less than masculine” simply because they are, like heterosexual women, attracted to men. It’s the same language that puts being the “top”, the penetrative partner, the “masculine” partner, on a pedestal, and being the “bottom”, the receptive partner, the “feminine partner”, in a position of ridicule and shame. As though allowing someone to put their cock into you somehow makes you filthy and undesirable because you’ve been “conquered”.
When really, when you think abut it more, that cock has just been absorbed and assimilated into the other, and has been deprived of its individual self, it’s ego, it’s consciousness, it’s life force.
This is insane stuff, yet here we are, in 2012, supposedly at the height of our evolution and sophistication, with a majority of humans wandering around like sleeping zombies. Is it all too hard to think about your existence when there’s something inane happening on Jersey Shore?
Brains! MUST. FIND. MORE. BRAINS TO EAT! Ugh….