Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The Rules of Engagement

from Bitch, by Elizabeth Wurtzel --

"It tells women how to act as to compensate for the fact that while feminism has changed the way many of us think and behave, while it has made men change diapers and do dishes and spend quality time with children whie women perform neurosurgery and direct movies and trade Eurodollars, it has failed to truly change the way we feel. As Ellen Willis put it, most succinctly: "Feminism had transformed women's consciousness without, as yet, transforming society, leaving a gap between what many of us demanded of a relationship and what most men were willing to give."

i don't know how to be a Good Girl, a sweetheart, anymore than i know how to be the Bitch, the Vamp, the Bad Girl, the It Girl. it enrages me that i still have to make the choice between being a Good Girl and getting what i want; it infuriates me that i don't have the courage to say this is my life i will do what i want and the rest of you can fuck off and die because i am afraid that if i do that, i will be left alone. the Bitch is always alone. women hate her, even as they love what she represents, because she dares to break the stereotype -though she has become stereotype herself.

i am afraid to ask myself what i want these days because it feels like i am opening a door to the pits of hell -- what i want and what i can get are so far removed from each other than to contemplate them simultaneously threatens to throw me into despair. i want to be independent, i don't want anyone to tell me what i should want, or need, or do; i want to be angry, i want to scream, i want the world to listen when i yell; i want to be the Bitch, the Bad Girl, because the Bad Girl gets what she wants; i want to be unafraid. i want to be able to wear what i want, do what i want, say what i want without being labelled a slut or a vamp or a shrew or a nag; i want to be treated well because of who i am not because i am -caught somewhere between a girl and a woman, unable to go forward because i'm not convinced i can, but loathing the very notion of going backwards because it is a proposition loathsome beyond words. i want to stop pretending my life is fine, i want to stop pretending to be confident and secure and strong, i want my anger and my insecurities and my fear to leave me for good.

i want to be free of you can have what you want as long as what you want includes a husband and children; i want to be able to make my own choices because they're my choices; i want to be able to stop considering what my family will think, what my friends will think, what society will think if i make these choices. i want to do things for Me -- and i can't because of where i come from and what i am; because i have been raised to think subconsciously or not that i have to please everyone, i have to change my behaviour to suit everyone -- and simultaneously told that i can have everything i want, be anything i want, do anything i want. i have been told that i can be superwoman, and at the same time it is requested of me that i choose not to be. i hate the notion of settling for something that i don't want because i have been told that is what i want; i hate that i find that notion more and more acceptable because the older i get the more pressure there is for me to be the woman that the world expects me to be.

so you see, if i'm angry at the world and if i am a bitch it is because i cannot be what i want to be. because i feel like i'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, and if i don't move i will explode. if you keep moving they can't getcha. i want the gap between what we have been taught to expect and what the world is willing to give us to close, and i know that's not going to happen, not in my lifetime. not when everyone has a different idea of what it means to be a feminist, what it means to be independent, what it means to want equal rights, how to pick their battles so they don't lose the war -- the fact that it is seen as a WAR means that we have already lost, because we make enemies of the very people we are trying to get to treat us as friends. i want the Bitch to no longer be a stereotype that gains attention, because every woman -every PERSON- can behave the way they want and no longer have to go to extremes to ensure that possibility exists.

so when i say i hate people, i'm not being a teenage-angst-filled twentyone year old. i'm being a human being, a girl, a person, frustrated as hell with the way the world is shaped, angry as all fuck at herself and everyone else for not being and not being allowed to be the people that they want to be, would choose to be, should demand to be.


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