I’ve lived in Europe for some time, and from time to time, I come against some minor culture clash. It’s never anything too severe, I’m American and let’s be honest, other than the language, it’s not like I’ve moved to Mars.
However, from time to time, I feel like the crazy feminist stranded on Planet Chauvinism. Sometimes, my friends – women friends – say things that are so far from my point of view; I have to wonder where the hell I am. And, seriously, these women call themselves badass. They think of themselves as progressive, punks, forward-thinkers, and, I dare say, feminists. And some are young millenials.
I try to chalk it up to culture, and maybe it is. Maybe the culture is so passively chauvinistic that I only really notice it when it slaps me in the face. Maybe it’s a type of Stockholm syndrome – women have been so enveloped within a chauvinistic culture, they just believe in it.
Whatever the reason for it, it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever acquire this characteristic, no matter how long I’m here. Just to make myself clear, here are three examples of what I’m talking about.
image via Wikipedia
Example No.1: I was chatting with a friend, you know, having a good gossip. She tells me about another friend of hers, someone I had met just a couple of times before. This friend, she tells me, was going through a rough patch, went into a severe depression, and had checked herself into the hospital. After exchanging a discourse of how sad it was and how horrible we felt for her, my friend busts out with, “I think she just needs a boyfriend”.
Yes, my jaw dropped. There’s so much blatantly wrong with this, not to mention a real kick in the ass to those who have had severe depression.
Example no. 2: It was my turn to go through a really difficult time. I admit, I was at rock bottom. During this dark and twisty period of my life, a friend – another, different, good friend who is also a woman – invited me to lunch. While we were there, she asked me about my problems and then asked if I had met any guys. I just stared at her and then finally said I was a hot mess. And then felt the need to further explain that I would prefer to meet someone when I was closer to my best than at my worst. She said that she thought a boy would help.
Without going into details, I can guarantee that a relationship was the last thing I needed at this point in my life. Just like the previous example, a boy is not the answer here.
Example no. 3: I’m with a group of girls and a woman walks by wearing almost nothing. One of the girls remarks about her lack of clothes, and then says that if something happens to her, she was asking for it. My eyes popping out of my head couldn’t be ignored. I replied with, “That’s the excuse that rapists use”. This then snowballed. The defenses were things like, “Oh I don’t agree with it, but it’s what people would say.” “It’s what the police would say.” “I know better than to tempt fate when I leave the house. I don’t agree that it’s right, but it’s the reality.”
Victim blaming is never acceptable, no matter how tasteless the lack of clothes are.
I find the Prince Charming-will-fix-everything Syndrome and victim blaming dangerous. Everyone – both ladies and gentlemen – need to take care of their own sh*t. Of course, ask your friends for help when need be. But never expect a boy will fix your problems. And victim blaming. *deep sigh* How is this even still a thing between women? Ladies, if there was ever a time to stick together, it’s now. Anyone who is paying attention to global politics knows that women are far from being considered equal and are constantly mansplained, held back, and pushed down. More than ever, this is a time to stick together.