Tuesday, December 13, 2011


There are many things about people that puzzle me, but very few which I do not think I could, given a few years and sufficient resources, comprehend. Most of these things are not worth figuring out, e.g., Why does anyone eat pistachio ice cream? I'm fairly sure there's a gene somewhere that explains such insanity, but taking all those courses in DNA sequencing would really set me back in my frisbee game. Again, what is it about Power that appeals to politicians? There are certainly enough interviewable specimens in Washington to answer the question; but I have better things to do—like knitting my godson a pumpkin-colored snow hat for Christmas—than running a clinical study to solve it.

Despite this self-confidence in my own powers of analysis and deduction, there is one thing which I am fairly certain I will never, ever understand: Feminists.

It wouldn't bother me if I couldn't understand, say, men. They're sort of a different species, and it would be only natural if from time to time their behavior proved confusing. Besides, I hear that men can't understand women either, which makes us even. Feminists, however, have an aura of understanding everything while simultaneously remaining volitionally opaque; and that stings—it really does. No matter what they try to imply they must deep down be women just like me, so I ought to be able to comprehend them, no?

Every now and then I think I've got a feminist explained. This one—came from a bad home. That one—got cheated of the contents of her doctoral dissertation. Them those over there—dated the wrong people. Check, check, check. I might be a feminist too, under the wrong circumstances. Every time though, just as I begin to think the feminist psychology is making sense, I run up against one major inconsistency, one issue to which they illogically attach themselves.

To be fair, I should make it clear that not all feminists feel strongly about this issue. It's pretty solidly confined to those feminists who believe in God, or, perhaps more accurately, to those feminists who believe in organized religion: Women priests.

First there are the vestments. I thought we had discarded the notion of women wearing religious garb—that's why all those nuns dropped their habits, right? But there the women priests are, standing at dissident or Protestant altars, wrapped in robes broad enough to drape a beached whale, and looking as if they thought it a rather fine fashion statement. Peculiar thing, that. Then there's the homily. I will be the first to admit, we ladies like to give advice; that's one of the reasons why we make such good teachers and mothers. Why would any woman pin herself down to seven minutes once a week when she could be talking all day every day? The mind warps and boggles.

Ah, well. I suppose women are irrational, and that's all there is to it.

Women are irrational ... Why does that ring a bell? Women are irrational ... irrational ...

Why can't a woman be more like a man?

Oh, Professor Higgins, I don't think you'd really like it if we were. Just look at those haircuts ...

Why can't a woman take after a man?

Have you seen the ones that do?

Why can't a woman be like us?
Why can't a woman behave like a man?
Why can't a woman be like me?

You mean why can't women be self-centered, misogynist, idiots-in-the-strictest sense? Well, I don't really know why not; some of us have proved pretty good imitations.

Misogyny. That's what it is, isn't it, when women try to act like men? When we cede our natural speech, expressions, gestures, habits of mind and body in an attempt to conform to the male-dominated circles into which we are trying to gain entry? It's misogyny, pure and simple. Sisters, sisters, you've let me down! I thought the female priesthood was about Grrl Power. Turns out it's just another confession that the men had the right stuff all along.

If your sense of self-worth is dependent upon what you own, or what you can achieve, or what clubs you are allowed to enter—I'm sorry, but you don't really value yourself very highly. If your sense of self-worth is dependent upon your ability to make yourself into something else, then you don't value yourself at all.

Maybe those women priests aren't so different from the other feminists after all—the ones who've been hurt by bad parents, bad teachers, bad boyfriends ... Maybe they just don't love themselves enough to feel confident in their femininity. We can't really love ourselves if we define ourselves by what we are not. What fools we are, what dominated fools, to think they are the earth and sky ...

The most feminist thing I can think of to do would be for us to enjoy ourselves for what we naturally enjoy, and for what we are ontologically good at. You know, things like being pretty, having babies, teaching children, match-making, boosting sagging egos and puncturing swelled ones, admonishing sinners, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful ... Real feminism is the exaltation and the excellence of real femininity. After all ...

It takes a woman all powdered and pink,
To joyously clean out the drain in the sink;
And it takes an angel with long golden lashes
And soft dresden fingers for dumping the ashes!

1 comment: