You take it too far, Part II

Have you ever heard people say that “feminism takes it too far” or that “some feminists take it too far”? Non-feminist men and women tell me that I’m taking it too far, and I’ve even had women who call themselves feminists tell me that they think I take it too far.

The only thing I believe in is full equality between the sexes, where people’s responsibilities, preferences, and actions are not arbitrarily dictated by the genitalia they were born with.* Basically I think gender roles are garbage.

Apparently this is extreme.

This is taking it too far.

And, apparently the following isn’t:

What’s not taking it too far is the unrealistic standards put on women as to how we are meant to dress and alter our appearance into something completely unnatural.

What’s not taking it too far is the number of women who are victims of intimate partner violence.

What’s not taking it too far is thinking that men need to allow women to go ahead of them in line/sit down on public transport because our female legs are too weak to just wait in line like a person.

What’s not taking it too far is the number of women and girls who are victims of sexual assault.

What’s not taking it too far is telling women they “unprofessional” and going as far as to fire them for not wearing makeup (or high heels).

What’s not taking it too far is saying that it’s a woman’s responsibility to cook. (Seriously, are we supposed to put vaginal secretions in what we cook? For what other reason does that make it the woman’s responsibility?)*

What’s not taking it too far is the almost universal expectation (and practice) that a woman will become a man’s property and produce more property for him with her body when she marries. (I put my name on my lunchbox because it was mine. Same principle.)

What’s not taking it too far is denying women the right to make decisions about their own bodies.

What’s not taking it too far is women still making less money than men for doing the same thing and being punished for asking for more.

What’s not taking it too far is assertions that women only read and write romance novels.

No, I’m the one who is taking it too far.

What’s taking it too far is objecting to someone rushing in front of me to open a door I was just about to open. (Men often argue that it’s about being nice. Look, if you’re doing it for me, and you would never do it for another man, and then you get offended when I don’t appreciate it, you are absolutely not being nice.) What’s taking it too far is not wearing makeup or shaving my legs. What’s taking it too far would be for a woman and a man to marry each other, and neither of these people putting their names on the other person. What’s taking it too far would be a woman giving her name to the children that she gestated and pushed out of her vagina. What’s taking it too far is not believing in stupid, patriarchal ideals about what makes a man (or a woman) desirable.

I had a friend a few years ago with whom I got into an argument about leg shaving. Her argument was that it’s not attractive for women not shave their legs, and I was disgusting for wearing short things without shaving mine. I pointed out that men don’t shave their legs, and she didn’t consider that disgusting. She said “That’s different, because they’re men.” She kept insisting that it was unattractive for women not to shave their legs, but it was fine for men. She also said (seriously) that it was “natural” for women to wear makeup, because makeup was invented for women.

I am no longer friends with her.

Men have legs. Women have legs. Men grow hair on their legs. Women grow hair on their legs. Legs perform the same function for both men and women. But somehow… only the people with vaginas* are disgusting if they leave the hair on their legs? Even though 90% of the people commenting on this post would agree, I think they’re taking it too far.

You have a right to your preferences and your opinion. That doesn’t make them not sexist.

I do not maintain relationships with people who don’t think I’m a human being.

Maybe that is just taking too far.

*I realize how cis-centric this sounds, but I do this to highlight the absurdity and arbitrariness of these norms. If someone transitions from M2F, does that mean that their legs must suddenly be shaved even if the previous week they didn’t need to be? They must suddenly cook when they’ve never needed to before?

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8 thoughts on “You take it too far, Part II

  1. urbanindianwoman says:

    What pisses me off is this whole ‘it is natural for men/ women’ line of thinking. One would think that with advent of 21st century, in our entirely unnatural lives we would transcend it, but no.

    Fact is, biological reality is accepted as attractive in men. Body hair, sweat ( musky scent), ageing signs like wrinkles/ grey hair. While women are expected to look like they are 16 year olds all their life. Smooth skin, lush hair, hairless bodies.

    • Doreen says:

      Why do you think that is? I mean, beyond the cursory answer, patriarchy, why is it that what women look like naturally is accepted as being, without question, disgusting, and what men look like is perfectly fine?

  2. PalavaWoman says:

    How am I just seeing this??? What’s sad it that it is often women who will lob the “taking it too far” line at you, as though a certain amount of feminism is respectable…you know enough so the man knows you’re not a simpering idiot. But once you actually get some agency then you’re taking it to far.

    • Doreen says:

      Hi PalavaWoman,

      You’re right. It’s only okay as you’re not doing anything to upset the natural (read: unnatural, socially constructed) order of things. You can work outside the home, but you best not start trying to make any decisions. If you do, then… well, you know the rest.

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