Guest post: At the pinnacle of privilege all these years

Originally a comment by iknklast on Those theorists whose lives are most directly affected.

I hate the idea of no longer calling myself a feminist, but I also hate the idea of being associated with this brand of repressive ideology. Maybe we just need to invent a term that can let people know we stand for equality without having to take on all this baggage.

I am also white and feminist; I suffered my entire life (and still do) from the whims of people who believe that gender is essential, and that I therefore am some sort of grotesque mutant who isn’t a woman at all – but not a man, either, because reasons. As a teenager, I was forced into high heels, make up, and dresses. We were not allowed to wear anything but dresses to school until I was a freshman in high school, and even then, it had to be “pant suits” with matching tops and pants. When I was a senior, they finally (grudgingly) allowed girls to wear jeans, which the guys had been wearing all along. I was required to take Home Ec, and was discouraged from taking Calculus or Economics, for which I had to wait until college. I was shuffled into the slow Biology class because that was all I could take that didn’t conflict with honors English (the assumption being that, since girls are good at English and boys are good at Science, you wouldn’t have people who were eligible for both classes…in fact, my entire honors English class was filled with people who qualified for both, but none of us could stand the pain of going back through this is a noun, this is a verb, see John run, which is the noun which is the verb…).

I have been beaten for being insufficiently female, for reading the wrong books, taking the wrong classes, thinking the wrong thoughts. I was vilified and pressured until eventually I found someone and got married, more to prove that I was a woman than out of love (I realize that now; I didn’t then). He (my ex) was getting married to prove he wasn’t gay (he was). It was a marriage doomed, and would never have happened if I hadn’t been put into the spot of being expected to “prove” I was a woman, and he hadn’t been put in the spot of being expected to “prove” he was a man.

The young feminists doing all this screaming have no concept of what the earlier feminists went through to gain these rights, and they don’t really care, because they have convinced themselves that these rights were only gained for white, cis-hetero women. Not true – they apply to all women, even those, like my mother, who would rather die than make use of most of these rights.

Now, I find out in the declining years of my life that I have lived at the pinnacle of privilege all these years, a pinnacle apparently even higher than that of the rich white males who just took health care away from millions and continue to do everything they can to make choice an impossible option.

16 Responses to “Guest post: At the pinnacle of privilege all these years”