Feminism: according to the men in my family


My father is a Feminist Capitalist; my mother a Feminist Socialist. Brought together by the swinging sixties and the hippie flower power my father and mother were poles apart. They had one thing in common though; rallying Women’s Liberation Movement. But that is as far as their similitude stretches.

Needless to say each one of their offspring was pre destined to being a Feminist stroke something or another regardless of their gender. Maybe that is because the men in my family were outnumbered. To every one XY chromosome holder, there were three XX chromosome holders lurking around. Cynicism aside though, the struggles faced by the female form is still palpable. The men in my family like to alleviate some of those struggles in their own little idiosyncratic way.

Take my father for example; he is constantly challenging societal norms and ideologies that a women is nothing but a rotten tomato if she is to hit twenty five years of age and isn’t under the guardianship of a husband. Aside from the fact that this is a poor metaphor because tomatoes don’t last that long (or do they); in the spirit of feminism and the capitalist ethic, my father is of the opinion that everyone should do their bit in a capitalist society. Women shouldn’t be regarded as a second class citizen, they should be free to conduct trade (amongst other things) as and when they see fit.

Ripe or rotten tomato we may be, telling my father one would like to get married is equivalent to committing the cardinal sin. There is a long list of achievements a female has to tick off before she can even think of introducing a gentleman caller to my father. Let’s face it those divorce statistics are not very appetising.

There are a lot of upheavals to overcome. A glass ceiling to break, a FTSE 100 to conquer, gender based violence to abolish, equality to attain, oppression to overcome alongside a whole host of other barriers. According to one statistic “if the skills and qualifications of women who are currently out of work in the UK were fully utilised, the UK could deliver economic benefits of £15 to £21 billion pounds per year – more than double the value of all our annual exports to China”. Now that is a statistic for my father to revel in.

Of course, there is a downside to having fellow males appropriating the female struggle. Don’t expect any help from the men in my family simply because you are of the female form. Whenever I attempt to use that card it backfires on me. Such are the times when I instruct my brother to take the rubbish out, why? Because in certain parts of the world women aren’t allowed to step a foot outside so this is my way of standing in feminist solidarity with my fellow comrades. Needless to say he refuses to do so why? Because I need to step up to the equality game and be appreciative of privileges bestowed upon me as a young woman living in a first world culture and take out the rubbish myself, even if it is 2:00am.

Nor should I expect to be chauffeured to and fro when I can’t be bothered to utilise my bus pass and hop on public transport. Instead I am told by the male figures in my family (and females alike) that I should use that as a motivation to get my license and get my own car. Why… because some of us have to live with the burden of being chauffeured around and never getting the chance to exercise our inalienable right to frolic with the wheels of a vehicle.

Oh the dysphoria!

Ermm on a more trivial note I wonder if car insurance is cheaper for women on the basis that we are better drivers; even if I can’t attest to that myself, just yet!

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Grapes Are Not The Only Fruit


I am someone who has had the good fortune of being borne and brought up in a household full of feminist hypochondriacs. From a young age I was indoctrinated with the ways of the world albeit cryptically. As a child you don’t appreciate the linguistic wonders of metaphors, analogies and proverbs which my parents utilised more often than I could recall and thus I was unable to fully comprehend the gravity of what messages my parents were attempting to convey to me. I was too busy chasing balls (strictly of the leather type), being a tom boy and advancing my skills as a centre forward to care too much for their crypticism.

 

With little assistance from the Angels and the Almighty or so my mother tells me I came into this world. I was always a cheery go lucky child who grew up to be a bit too trusting of strangers, or so my father tells me. So unbeknown to me my parents devised a plan to ensure that I don’t grow up too gullible especially where men are concerned and later in my teenage life – girls. My mother was always of the belief that girls are a mischief and having brought up five girls she was of the belief too that this was her golden ticket to heaven – My mother works in mysterious ways!

 

I was born at an unfortunate time where the joys of wondering off as a child were slowly diminishing. Though things were not as bad as they are now but the signs were cropping up. There were the odd horror stories here and there concerning children.

 

Years of primary socialisation that my parents took upon themselves remained forever ingrained in my brains. My mother used to say “strangers are friends you are yet to meet and I’ll be sure it stays that way”. We can all conclude that I had a sheltered life.

 

Consequently, as an adult hypochondriac woman with Feminist tendencies, I am weary of unsolicited conversations, gifts and offerings from people who I am not familiar with. Not so long ago a male colleague started working with us. Unfortunately before we could get to know each other I jetted off on much deserved and belated annual leave from work. I am unsurest as to what happened in that time but all I know is that grapes are a thing for this guy.

 

I am not aloof and I am not overtly friendly either. I am particularly volatile capricious pre 12pm. I don’t ask for much, all I want is to be left alone with my coffee and respond to whatever vituperation humans have via the best mode of communication invented for folks like me- Emails! Save the world one human at a time with few unicorns and mermaids thrown in for a good measure.

 

Post 12:00 pm a different woman emerges; one that is more receptive to other modes of communication including the occasional human format; I’ll even hmm and ahh at few office gossips! Suspending my frivolous digression and coming back to the story at hand… So when someone disturbs this little routine and wants to engage in some small talk pre 12:00 pm with offerings of grapes that I don’t know where they have been, I am a little taken aback. When someone offers me grapes that I don’t know where they have been and then instructs me to eat them as they watch me; I am more than taken aback.

 

My hypochondria comes out in full blow. I assume some verbal diarrhoea about how it is lunch time and studies show that grapes are best eaten after food and how the acidity found in grapes can cause untoward incidents to someone’s intestines.

 

All the inculcating ideas on how I shouldn’t talk to strangers my parents instilled in me as a child do go out of the window every now and then. I like to give people benefit of the doubt, most of the time anyway. So I got talking to this individual. There is something inviting about me despite all my attempts at staying aloof. Our exchange was plagued by platitude at best, mendacity at worst.

 

I don’t know if this guy has some weird grape fetish, or whether I show signs of grape malnutrition or if it is just his way of peace offering- maybe a triangulation of all three. I don’t know…

 

All I know is my germ sirens have been giving off prolonged warning signs. I have had few sleepless nights worrying about all the possible germs I might have contracted. I have rescheduled few meetings in an attempt to disinfect my desk, only for Mr. Grapes to come back with yet more lashings of the damn fruit personally hand washed by him. I also know that I probably erased all possible signs of natural oils in my hands due to excessively washing them.

 

In hindsight I wish I feigned an allergy to grapes but then again grapes aren’t the only fruit and I believe where there is a will there is a way.

 

There was a banana on my desk this morning!

 

I wonder how much time one should allow to lapse before one can report suspicious behaviour on the grounds of gratuitous grapes?!

 

Pingaback

The Get-Out Clause


I am an unmarried woman who is yet to loan her womb for the advancement of the world. Whilst I can’t give expert commentary on holy or civil matrimony nor on making one’s womb habitable for other beings to survive within it however, I believe that I am well placed to share few personal opines on dating doldrums and other paraphernalia. I am not a paragon of familial union or maybe I am but let’s not digress because this is not what this post is intended to be.

I have given the dating charade a passing chance here and there. In 99.99% reoccurring of the cases, friendship was both the get-in and get-out clause. I have only partaken in such exercises once or twice, maybe thrice at a push if we widen the criterion and add the hot guy from my college days who at a closer inspection and one date night at Pizza Hut later turned out to be what our cousins across the pond would call a douche.

Of course this process isn’t representative of all. But there is no reason why my own ethnographic study couldn’t be replicated.

I am a very guarded individual and thus it is hard to let those sentries down for any man, or women may I add. Unsurprisingly when it comes to dating it is the same. I say dating, it is anything but. I equate “dating” (ok we’ll stick with the word for now because I can’t think of a suitable synonym) to a phone contract.

No reputable phone company will allow you to just walk away with a brand new off the shelf state of the art mobile device and entrust you to keep up with monthly payments for 36 months without doing some rigorous examination. I too follow suit minus the credit check because how much a man makes or doesn’t is none of my business (damn you feminist ideologies for leading me astray from the much desired and lucrative path of gold digging. I once scolded an affiliate for showering me with gifts, would you believe it; on the basis that I am more than capable of buying my own gifts).

I subject my potential affiliates to meticulous and painstaking examinations that would last anything from 2 years to a lifetime. Some people just ooze suspicion so they are put under permanent surveillance. Such examination ranges from, but are not limited to: surveillance in the form of internet trawling, cross examination (usually with fellow female companions), character reference, covert participant observation (to the man in question this usually translates as: she is digging me but playing hard to get so let me up my game), overt participant observation (to the man in question this usually translates as: she is a flirt and probably equates to numerous other things in his head that I fortunately aren’t privy to).

With each test that is passed the male in question moves up a rank. Accepting a friend request on whatever social medium I feel most comfortable with adding him to, to exchanging email accounts (I must admit to begin with their emails are delivered to the junk inbox and are treated as suspicious sender), to adding them to my mobile phone’s contacts list once I am satisfied with their writing skills. If he can manage to write/send an email with most linguistic rules intact with the odd LOL thrown in for good measure, he can proceed.. it is all in the writing my friends, it is all in the writing.

If a man can conjure up a simple declarative sentence other than ‘I want you tonight’ it is a good indicative, as any, that his dealings are that of elevated social groups, not the one-night-stand types. I must admit that I suffer from an innate subconscious ability to read between the lines. Ambiguous grammar punctuation is a turn off. Am I alone in thinking so?

Of course I make an exemption for hipsters, no need for tests where they are concerned. I say let us go on few tree hugging sprees and dabble in some bohemian sensibilities whilst enjoying the sweet sound of alternative music. I’ll happily gift you my favourite black skinny jeans for you to titivate, when yours has come off at the seams.

Hipsters aside, once a potential affiliate has passed all the required competency tests they enter the coveted stage of ‘getting to know one another’. This stage is more organic and more often than not lasting friendships emerge from it that transcends distance, language, religion and culture. What can I say I am an international lover!

Google translate and my listening skills come in very handy when the person in question doesn’t speak any of the Lingua Francas I am versed in. I just listen to them and pick up the odd word and depending on what translation Google feels like giving me that day (because that thing is a fickle) I make up the rest of the conversation based around that word/phrase.

Similarly when the romantic endeavours of both parties come to an abrupt cul-de-sac, the sustained friendship refrains both parties to the contract to cancel it altogether and return to the perfect strangers we were. Bit like you fulfilling your contractual obligations to the phone company, and once the company is satisfied that you aren’t a dodgy person they offer you more lucrative deals in the hope that you will stay with them longer. Friendship is thus the get-out clause. See, there is a point to all those tests after all.

And on that note…Happy Thursday lovers! Believe it or not, Thursday is the start of the weekend for many. The rest of us mere mortals such exoneration shall await till 5pm Friday.