Call Me Cait

Today, I came across a post shared by an acquaintance on facebook. This post was written and published publicly by someone else, a stranger whom I have never met, it was then shared by the person who I know. I wont name names, this isn’t an all out war. This particular post was in regards to Caitlin Jenner. You can read for yourself below, but the post was rude, biased and in short, completely absurd. Needless to say I was angry. So on my lunch I wrote a pretty well worded response (if I do say so myself), and had every intention of posting it on the acquaintances wall. However, after maliciously typing I thought better of myself and decided to post it on this public forum instead. First you will find the original post by the stanger. Followed by my response.

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Original Post

I’ve heard you say you “identify as a woman”. But I find that highly unlikely and insulting. You see, Mr. Jenner, there is more to being a woman than beautiful gowns and fake boobs. There is more to being a woman than makeup and pretty hair. This is something we mothers begin teaching our young daughters at an early age.

As a woman of nearly 50 years, I can tell you what it is truly like to be a woman. You may be able to understand or even empathize, but you are definitely NOT able to “identify”. For instance, you will never know what it is like to wake up every 28 days with searing stomach pain so bad it doubles you over, yet still trot off to work or school as though everything is fine. You will never know what it is like to have your car break down on the side of the road and when a couple men stop to help your prayer is that their intentions are good because there is no way on earth you have the ability to physically hang let alone overpower them. You have no idea what it is like to long to have a child only to have your third miscarriage, yet still manage to be able to share in the joy of all the other young mothers in your life. You will never know what it’s like to get pregnant, gain 40 lbs (1/3 your total body weight), hurl all morning long for 4 months straight, yet still care for your other two toddlers, and not drive your husband to the brink. You will never know what it is like to give birth to a 10 lb. baby boy with absolutely no medication!!! You will never know what it is like at the age of 50 to be walking down the streets of Phoenix and popping in the Dairy Queen for a cool refreshing treat only to be gripped at that moment with your fourth hot flash of the day.

I have, in my life, met many women who have been widowed. For me to walk up to them and say I identify with them would be ludicrous. Like I said earlier, I can empathize with them, but I cannot identify myself as one of them because I don’t know what that is like – I can only imagine. And let’s not even talk about women who have worked through their double mastectomy.

No, Mr. Jenner there is more to being a woman than you could ever experience or even imagine. And lesson #1 for all true women is this – botox injections, plastic surgeries, designer clothing, and public approval is NOT what makes a woman. A real woman is one who in spite of the stretch marks, age spots, dirt under her nails and tired eyes, and even with 1/2 plastic photoshopped supermodels as her competition, she has carried herself in such a way that her family, husband, and children, see her real beauty and find her far more valuable than rubies or diamonds and they rise up and call her blessed.

Mr. Jenner you are a privileged white male living in the U.S.A. In fact, you are so free and so privileged, you can even spend your massive amounts of money to change your outward appearance to whatever you wish. That is NOT something most woman around the globe are free to do even if they wanted. MOST women in our world don’t even have access to a high school education. So, Mr. Jenner, I find your claim to identify as “a woman” disingenuous, uneducated, and honestly – quite offensive.

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My Response
I have to start by saying that I do not normally do this. And by this I mean leave preachy comment on people’s posts. One because nothing realistically nothing I type is going to change the way you feel and two, because I hate dramatic feuds. But this
post, this bothered me, it irked me and it frustrated me. So much so that I have spent all morning thinking about it, instead of focusing on my job. This then frusterated me even more because I have got shit to do. So here I am commenting on someones post, doing something I do not do simply because this portrayal of what it means to be a woman is so severely closed minded and narrow that I can’t just ignore it.

The first paragraph of this post is not incorrect. There is more to being a woman than beauty. However, this is the first and last thing written in this post that I can agree with. Let’s make a list shall we:

– Not all women get periods. Many do. But many do not, be it because of health and fertility issues or birth control, or because they are trans-gendered. At the end of the day not all women get periods.
– Not all women assume that any man who approaches her to offer help is actually intending to attack them. This is incredibly sexist and misguided.
– And even if a man had bad intentions, some women could totally overpower these men because some women are super strong, some women are super smart, some women are super precautions and rely on more than just a prayer to keep themselves safe.
– Not all women have miscarriages
– Better yet, not all women have children, not all women try to have children, not all women want children
– Not all women have nausea while pregnant, not all women get super duper hormonal while pregnant, some do, but not everyone.
– Not all women get married, and those who do don’t necessarily get married to men.

Each and every one of these claims is just ridiculous. Most of these claims are stating popular biological facts about the female sex. And Caitlin Jenner is a women who will never have the experience of being female. Because she doesn’t have female sex organs such as a uterus, ect. But womanhood, and the woman gender is not biological. It is a social construction. Therefore Caitlin Jenner can most definitely identify as woman. If she, or any trans-gendered person for that matter, feels that they connect with and relate to and identify with the social construction of what it means to be a woman more than a man, then who are you to disagree with them.

Some trans-gendered women will change their names, some will take estrogen pills to prevent things like facial hair and body hair (things that are more inherent to someone of the male sex but don’t necessarily appear and all people who identify as men) , some will have plastic surgery to greatly alter their appearances. And some will not. But that does not mean that either person is more of less of a women.

I guess, at the end of the day, what I am trying to say is that all people experience life, gender and sexuality differently. What I experience as a female who identifies as a women is going to be different from what my sister experiences as a female who also identifies as a women. And our experiences will be different from a male who identifies as a women and from a female who identifies as a man. Yes, it is a difficult concept to grasp, gender fluidity, but no persons experience should ever be discounted and discredited just because it is different from your own.

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An Open Letter to Kiss 92.5 FM – RE: Roz & Mocha Talk About A Woman Who Was Accused of Sleeping with the Entire Wu-Tang Clan on Divorce Court

Dear Kiss 92.5 FM, specifically Roz and Mocha:

Some of the things said in your Wu-Tang Clan Divorce Court segment caused me frustration and anger. It reached the point where I was forced to turn off the radio because I was so upset. Normally I enjoy listening to Roz and Mocha in the morning. Their banter is clever and witty and it makes for very good radio. However in this particular segment the opinions expressed by Roz were misogynistic and exceptionally sexist. This is a problem for me because as a public broadcaster Kiss 92.5 has a strong influence over its listeners.

Let me explain; There was an episode of Divorce Court where a woman was accused of sleeping of the entire Wu-Tang Clan. Whether she did or did not do that is irrelevant. What matters to me is the discussion the followed. Roz said, and I quote “if you have somebody in your life that you care about you have no business, I don’t care how big of a fan you are, you have no business going to a show and going backstage”. Mocha then rebutted by saying that it would be cool to meet your favourite celebrity . This is when Roz said “no, no, we’re not talking about you. We’re talking about your girl“.

So the woman in a relationship, according to Roz, cannot meet her favourite celebrity without disrespecting her partner.

You have got to be kidding me!

This opinion is not only way out dated but it is incredibly misogynistic. Why as a man is it fine to go back stage? But as a woman it is inappropriate and disrespectful? Because Roz is objectifying the woman. She is an object which belongs to her man. She is your girl. And when she makes her own choices she is disrespecting you. Enjoying a night out, meeting her favoruite celebrities, having an experience of a life time are independent choices that a woman does not have the right to make if she belongs to a man. This is the underlying message in Roz’s opinion.

Objectification. Ownership. Control. Dominance. Disrespect. Sexism.

What began as playful banter about a strange and funny television clip took a sharp sexist turn as soon as Roz uttered the words “We are talking about your girl“. Many people probably didn’t even notice that his statements were entrenched in misogynistic ideals. Even more people probably agreed with him. And this is the problem. When misogynistic statements are broadcasted by public figures they are blindly accepted as the norm without a second thought. And this is why the feminist movement still has such a long way to go.

I understand that the premise of the Roz and Mocha show is contrasting opinions. It riles people up. It invites them to call in. But when every caller is saying the same thing as Roz it is a major issue. Having statements and opinions such as these broadcasted on the radio perpetuates gender inequality. All men, all women, all humans are equal beings And that is not something that should ever be up for debate.

Equality of gender means that we should all share the same rights. Be it the ability to vote, the ability to work inside or outside of the home, or the ability to go back stage at a concert. If it is disrespectful for a woman to do then it is also disrespectful for a man. If it is totally cool for a man to do then it is also totally cool for a women.

It is 2015, we live in Canada; a forward thinking society. So Kiss 92.5, Roz, Mocha I am asking you get on board with gender equality and start broadcasting that message.

Thank you,

Alexandra Folkes

Toronto, ON, Canada

When a Celebrity Claims to Not Need Feminism.

Just over a week ago a friend (we’ll call him Mike for privacy reasons) was scrolling through facebook and he came across a “feminist rant” about the Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting Redbook interviewcuoco. Essentially, when asked if she identified as a feminist she said “Is it bad if I say no?”. The “rant” which Mike was reading aggressively called Cuoco-Sweeting stupid, it shamed her for her naive and privileged existence and it claimed that her opinions and thoughts were wrong. He looked up from his iPad with a confused facial expression and said “Isn’t it anti-feminist to call another woman stupid and tell her that her beliefs are wrong? If feminism is about equality, shouldn’t every woman have the equal right to her own opinions?” Now that is an interesting question, sir.

On the one hand, I feel that it is incorrect to put down another woman’s beliefs and ideas and I definitely  feel that calling someone stupid and wrong will cause more problems than it will solve.  But I can’t go so far as to call it anti-feminist. Aggressive, definitely. Disrespectful, for sure. But anti-feminist, not quite.

Mike puts forth a good point, the right to ones own opinion should be an equal right afforded to all men and women alike. I agree with that statement completely. Cuoco-Sweeting has every right to claim that she’s not a feminist. But I also have every right to have an opinion about her opinion.

I think whats important here is the approach you take when voicing your opinion. The author of the rant used a very aggressive, harsh approach and it obviously rubbed Mike the wrong way. This is an issue because a lot of people are still warming to the idea of feminism and aggressive, radical writing is only pushing people in the opposite direction. It’s like the saying about catching flies with honey instead of vinegar. Aggressive writing is vinegar! At the end of the day I don’t disagree with that the “rant” said about Cuoco-Sweeting. Her statements clearly demonstrates her lack of knowledge surrounding the feminist movement and the rights of women across the globe.

In the Redbook article she says “things are different now […] I’ve never faced inequality”. The reality is things are different in some places and in some they are not, things are different for some women and for some they are not. The “rant” author was correct in calling her naive and privileged, there is no denying that but calling her stupid was out of line. Cuoco-Sweeting is under educated on the inequalities facing women on a global scale and she is under exposed to the realities of inequalities facing women even in North America. She is a white celebrity, who makes a million dollars an episode! Of course she has never experience inequality! Here is the thing, if I am being honest, I have also never experience real inequality. Many women haven’t but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening at all, that doesn’t mean we should stop advocating for equal rights for all people, women and men.

sorry

Cuoco-Sweeting has since apologized for the things she said in the interview, claiming that her words were taken out of context. Unfortunately, I think this is something fabricated by a PR rep. Out of context or not she said no when asked if she was a feminist, and that is all the context I need. I hope that this incident will open Cuoco-Sweeting’s eyes to the many aspects of feminism that she has been blind to. And I hope that in the future she will identify as a feminist, publicly and privately. Because I feel that at the end of the day every woman should be a feminist, every man should be a feminist, every person who identifies somewhere in between should be a feminist. To me, feminism means equality for all and everyone should support that.

The Reason Why Men Need Feminism

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my feminist voice and my feminist opinion. I began to identify myself as a feminist about 2 years ago. I studied sociological theory in university and in my studies I took a fantastic course on feminist ideologies in a sociological context. Feminist theory was not a new concept for me, I have always believed in gender equality, but this course gave me the knowledge and the language that I needed to take the step towards identifying myself as a feminist.enhanced-buzz-wide-4112-1417113067-9I am very lucky. I have never been victimized or hated for my beliefs but I often get eye rolls or “yeah yeah yeah” responses to my feminist opinions. And not from strangers, from my family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, these are great people, they love me and respect me but they don’t understand the feminist movement and so they, along with many others, find it annoying and unnecessary. Not super recently but at some point in the recent past I was asked a question by a male friend (I’m paraphrasing here): “why do I need feminism? I can vote, you can vote. I work and get paid, you work and get paid. We have equal rights. So why do I need feminism?” At the time I wasn’t quite sure how to answer his question, I was drinking and quite honestly I was tired of arguing so I said “you just do” and we left it at that. But his question has been sitting in the back of my mind since then and the other night I think I arrived at an answer…

UBC Assaults

Ladies, has this ever happened to you? Your walking alone at night, you’ve got your headphones in and all of a sudden you notice someone walking behind you? Immediately your body stiffens, you turn off your music, you increase your pace and you cautiously look over your shoulder every 10 seconds to make sure you aren’t being followed. By the time you reach your destination you are practically running through the door. This situation. Right here. This is why men need feminism.

Did you know that if you ask a male his top 5 fears statistics sate that most male fears be physical. Heights, spiders, snakes, small spaces, ect. Where as if you ask a woman, the fears are primarily safety based. For example: being followed, being attacked, being alone, ect. Is this because men are scary and bad? No. Is this because women are irrationally afraid? No. Is this because our sexist society has taught women to irrationally believe that men are scary and bad? YES!

Sexism is noNew-Feminismt limited to women. Last night when I was practically running home because a man was walking behind me I realized that my assumption about him, which was entirely based on his gender, is just as bad as him assuming things about me based on my gender. Women shouldn’t fear men and men should not be feared. But they do and they are. Because our society promotes fear and victimization. Because our society teaches men that they can have whatever they want. Because our society tells women that they are objects to be wanted. Because our society is not a feminist society. How messed up is that? For me, feminism is the opposite of man hating. It is man loving. It is woman loving. It is everyone loving!

So to answer your question male friend of mine, you need feminism because you deserve to be respected instead of feared. You need feminism because your female friends deserve to feel safe in their communities. And you need feminism because you just do.