I was on a Pinterest marathon today. Feminist everything. Books, t-shirts, stickers, quotes. Everything spoke to me. I may have been buried deep in my couch at the time, but I still felt super inspired. Hence the birth of this blog.
Anyways, all of my Pinterest marathoning got me to thinking about all of the seemingly insignificant conversations we have with people – both men and women – on a daily basis. Only a lot of times they really aren’t so insignificant. It’s the things you sometimes realize after the fact. Like how certain ways of thinking and speaking are so embedded in our society and culture that sometimes we don’t even question them. But in some cases we probably should, if we want things to be different that is. And If we want to help support women’s rights and equal rights and stop subscribing to the notion that there are fixed gender norms.
I remember a conversation I was having with a guy a few months ago via text message. It was around 9 or 10pm on a week night, so naturally I was in my bed watching Netflix. He asked me what I was watching and I responded “Grey’s Anatomy.” His response back was “Of course you are.” I think my next text back to him was something along the lines of “What is that supposed to mean?” to which he responded “Well you have a vagina.”
This bothered me a little bit at the time, but admittedly I continued to talk to him without calling him out much beyond my initial retort. Yet, I still haven’t forgotten about it. Because really what does my vagina have to do with what I watch on Netflix? Yes, my vagina is one of the anatomical characteristics that makes me a female. And yes I was indeed watching Grey’s Anatomy. But who ever decided that being female and watching hospital dramedys go hand in hand?
The bottom line is what I choose to watch on Netflix or elsewhere should really have nothing to do my sex or gender. I am a female. I am a woman. I have watched Grey’s Anatomy. So have a bunch of other people of varying sexes and genders. And I’m sure the guy did not mean to be offensive with his remarks on my Netflix choice. He probably actually thought he was being quite clever. Maybe even a little bit cute. The point is that there are still deeply embedded notions in our society of what it means to be a woman. And what it means to be a man for that matter. While likely not all of these individually are harmful, the danger comes from the cumulative effect of society expecting men and women to exist inside certain gender roles. If these uneven and often inflexible gender constructs continue to exist how can we achieve true equality for all sexes?