Well my last post certainly generated some controversy. When writing it, I thought a long time about how to phrase everything, constantly thinking, "is this too controversial?" Husband told me it was good, and eventually I just said screw it and hit publish. I genuinely feel bad that some people think that my emerging feminism has made me little more than a whiny complainer. I have been told by several people that I'm looking solely for the bad and ignoring the good. One person even suggested that the negativity on my blog attests to my need to see a psychiatrist and be medicated. Let me borrow a metaphor from this article.
I took three years of Spanish in high school. Before freshman Spanish 1, I was barely aware when Spanish was spoken within my hearing. It blended into the background, a part of the white noise that hums along unnoticed. Once I started learning the meaning of those words and syllables, Spanish jumped out of the white noise. It suddenly had meaning. I heard it everywhere. In fact, it was everywhere. Similarly, have you ever learned the meaning of a new word and suddenly begun hearing it all over the place? Did everyone learn that word at the same moment you did? No! It was being used all around you the whole time, but you didn't know what it meant, so you didn't notice it.
Learning about sexism and other forms of discrimination is akin to learning a new language. You learn what it sounds like, what it looks like, what it feels like. You learn the common usage first (say, sexual harassment in the workplace), and move on to more advanced topics later (understanding the scope of the patriarchy and rape culture). As you learn, your eyes are opened. You see what "wasn't there" before. What used to be unremarkable business-as-usual jumps out and proclaims its true meaning to you. In reality, it was there the whole time; you just didn't see it. As you become more fluent, you see sexism everywhere (because it is everywhere). With time, you start to see that it is inescapable. It is our world. It is in the air that we breathe.
So here I am now. I see sexism everywhere. I feel like Neo, who has recently discovered the matrix. Oh, I saw a few flaws in the matrix before I took that red pill (why have I never read a book in school written by a woman? Why do all the ladies in young women's look uncomfortable when I talk about becoming a geneticist?). But now that I'm fully unplugged, the world looks different to me than it did before. It looks different to me than it does to those who have not learned the language, who still think the matrix is reality. And you know what? The view from where I now stand is profoundly frightening, infuriating, depressing at times. I'm not going to lie, it's hard to be a feminist and stay positive. I often feel like I'm the only one who is aware, who speaks this language, who sees the matrix for what it is. I feel like everyone else is content to live a virtual life, to be hampered in by the patriarchy. I feel like I'm struggling against an insurmountable enemy.
This is why I don't write shiny happy unicorn and rainbow posts. I do see good, but I can discuss that with anyone, anywhere. That is not the purpose of this blog. I write in the hopes of finding people who speak my language, who notice the green tinge of the world. I write so I can at least pretend that someone understands me - so I can express my thoughts and feelings somewhere. I write to show the world a small portion of the inequality I see in't, in the hopes that someone else will start to see the matrix for what it is.
To you who chose the blue pill, know that I sometimes envy you. I often wish that I could go back to my life of unquestioning faith. I wish I could believe in a just world. I wish I could believe in the benefits of rigid gender roles. I wish I could believe in infallible, non-racist, non-sexist leaders with black-and-white answers. It really is so comfortable to believe every word of your culture and religion, to feel like you belong. But that world is no longer mine. I made my choice. I left the cave, went down the rabbit hole. I can't go back - it's not possible. Sorry to disappoint.