Great. Now that that is all out of the way, we can get down to business. You may, depending on the quality of your required education, remember a couple things about me. I am the witty, truth telling girl who calls it like it is. I am, now that enough time has passed and I have a word to call it, one of the first feminists.
If it sounds like I am bragging, it is because I am. I am proud to belong to a group of people who, even if they were not exactly named when I was being depicted on stage, have fought hard to get women rights.
I do not know a lot of things. Weather or not it was Shakespeare who wrote his plays is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. I have no idea why some people pour milk before pouring their cereal. I don’t know what a tweet is, and I most certainly do not know what a hashtag is. Those were not the only reasons I was confused, however, after being confronted with #womenagainstfeminism.
“I don’t need feminism because I like being a women.”
I had to read that opinion with my own eyes. Now, I have been analyzed or quoted in millions of terribly convoluted, plodding papers but never have I, with my own eyes, had to read something that offended me the same way as that did.
Dear dummy on twitter, all the other dummies that agree with this opinion, and those too apathetic to care,
Seriously? I mean, thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.
“I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.”
Let me explain something about that confessed dissatisfaction with my gender. That wish was not my wish, but the wish that I was written to have. Had I written that line, I would not have grieved womanhood as a loss, but the treatment of women as one. Think of the way I was treated. True, I was allowed to say some pretty beautiful and funny things, but my plot was not my own. A man thought me up and wrote me. He determined my wants and feelings. He was my god. Not only that, but a body that looks like mine was not allowed to be seen, so men played me and my curves so that no woman would be the center of attention for that long, so no woman’s voice would get that loud.
I understand that the way he wrote me was novel for the time, was cutting edge. But instead of creating me a society that would treat me as a I deserved to be treated; the Bard made me wish I was something different. As if the only way to be happy is to be a man.
Or, as my ending seems to suggest, to be with a man. He made my anger about a boy, but I will tell you that the real reason such caustic wit burned through those pages is because I was mad about something much greater than a ruined affair. My anger couldn’t be pacified by a marriage because I do not want a marriage. I do not need to stitch another man’s name onto my own. I am Beatrice not Mrs. Benedick. I don’t want to have to marry up into respect; I want it to be granted to me. I was mad because a woman being accused of lustfulness is so shameful that it seems appropriate to fake her death. I am mad because a woman that speaks her mind (like me) needs a cause for it, as if it is a symptom of a disease that needs classifying and treating. A woman who is brave enough to match wits with a man is something for audiences to laugh at.
I was a punchline. I was a character.
But, oh, how it takes one to know one: Women are still punchlines. Women are still characters.
It seems that every women is expected to play a role or a combination of multiple conflicting ones. There are more options now, but the characters are there. I have taken the time to compile a cast list from my vantage point. Here is the cast list:
- The Pure - be a virgin. Wear all white. Be good. Be thin and blonde and pale. Giggle. Let things go over your head. Don’t be smart. Know how to play video games, but not well enough for the boy to win.
- The Whore - be a sexual object and nothing else. Don’t have thoughts or feelings. Never expect to be pretty. Remember, you are always asking for it.
- The Mother - always be there for your family. Cook pies. Know exactly what your children want, and if they turn out wrong it is all your fault. Smile while you do laundry. Laugh while you eat yogurt.
- The Worker - be smart, but not too smart that you intimidate anyone. If you speak up about the subjects you know the most about, you are too bossy. Be intelligent but submissive. Don’t earn a promotion that was meant for a man. Don’t ask for a raise, and don’t expect one. Quit to have a kid or else you are being selfish. If you don’t have a kid, be prepared to defend your decision at every meeting.
You do need feminism. I need feminism. We need feminism. Times have changed a lot from when I was first ink on a page, but times still need to change more. Only until the day that we are truly equal, until we stop being characters and stop being writers will we not.
Basically, what I am saying is this: we do need feminism because I like being a women, not a man or a character. A woman. And I deserve the ability to be just that.