Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wherein I take the feminist movement a step back. . .

You know, I do consider myself a feminist. No. Not a radical feminist and that is primarily because: one, I have a sense of humor and two, I am not a misandrist.

I also consider myself quite informed on the political correctness of gender, race and class issues. And that is because I actually took a class on it. It was called Gender, Race and Class Issues.

The reason I had to take this class is a tiny bit funny.

One night, during my freshman year at UGA, Yvonne (Steph's roommate and how I actually met Steph) and I hashed out over a pitcher of Killian's Red at the GA Bar how we would become feminists. I was all down with the woman's power but was whatever on the Women's Studies class she insisted we take spring quarter. Nevertheless, I signed up for it. So did Yvonne. And maybe so did 2 other people--right, I'm sorry, women.

However, because of the lack of interest in the class the professor had to cancel the class. She offered to the few who signed up a spot in her upper level Gender Studies class. Thinking Yvonne was going to sign up too and that we were still moving forward with our being feminists plan, I took the spot.


Not only did Yvonne NOT accept the class I was the ONLY freshman in the class. Even worse there were only 8 other people in this class. Yes, people. There was one guy. It was a conference table class. No desks. Round table. Close quarters. But worst of all? I was the ONLY person who shaved their legs. Oh and we can go ahead and assume armpits in the class. Never mind skirts and make-up. I also didn't have a face full of piercing or tattoos, or purple hair. Oh, and I was straight.

Okay, but even worse than all that were the texts for that class. I tried in vain to Google but could not find the one book that sent every single one of my friends in to hysterical fits of giggles. Yes, they would all get high and laugh at the various passages. Okay, brace yourselves, and I swear I am not making this up but the title of the book was :Gay, Black, Jewish and Female-- or something along those lines, possibly Black Jewish Lesbians. Really. Could she have tried to pigeon-hole herself anymore than that? The other texts were similar but the titles boring: Gender Issues in America etc.

I did not offer much to discussion and I chose--from my perspective at least--the safest, most vanilla research paper topic I could come up with. I even remember the title: The Dynamic Role of Women in Modern Judaism. No, I am not Jewish. So that whole "write what you know" rule was not followed. The most cutting edge part of my paper--apparently because it was the part we had to discuss ad nausuem-- was Niddah (i.e. menstruation rituals in Judaism.) OhMyGod. I hated that paper. If only there had been reality TV back then. That class would have had a cult following but for the exact opposite reasons for which it existed.

Anyway you'd think I would have learned my lesson. But no. At Kennesaw I still needed a few electives. And you know the more related stuff you take the better in all looks on your transcript blah blah blah. So I signed up for a Feminist Philosophy class. This class was far less intimidating but still pretty damn annoying. I spent an entire quarter reading essays--that as far as I determined were a bunch of bitch-moaning and finger-pointing without much solution. Think inflated language, paragraph long sentences, and the words "patriarchal society" and "Judeo-Christian tradition" sprinkled throughout.

Okay, I did get to read some Mary Daly. I have to admit that as out there as I think Ms (or is it Mister?) Daly is I did think her essay Sin Big was brilliant. Her agenda didn't interest me but because she capitalized on how the word sin in the Indo-European tradition translates as "to be". Yes, the etymology is more complicated than that but having taken a course on the history of the English language I was able to make that leap with Daly and accept that sin translates as "to be." For me this split open my head and explained the whole Adam and Eve story with brand new meaning. I won't even go into that--you'll just have to find a copy of the article and then consult some Joseph Campbell for further understanding but I promise you will get there too. . .

Soooooooo . . . Wow, yes I know that was all probably very boring. Tyler. But I have a point. Beau "sinned big"in the male patriarchal tradition (see, it is contagious) called chauvinism. Please note the lower letter c usage. I am not talking capital letter C Chauvinism. He is only 4 after all. Let's keep this in perspective please.

And me? I let him.

And this is how there is that fatal flaw in radical feminist argument for me. It just does not take into account the power a son has over his mommy.

What power?

Well, apparently it is a male given trait designed to make women swoon.

No, Daly wouldn't understand.

Friday night Ryan and I took the kids out to dinner. While we were waiting for our food the kids were coloring. Carmella was drawing a picture of goats and a rainbow. Beau was drawing his family as birds. Beau does not draw people. He draws bird people. Think stick people with bird feet, beaks and wings. Ryan was a bald eagle (of course), Beau was the owl, Carmella was the little blue bird and Beau told me "Mommy, you're this skinny bird."

"Beau," I said, "high five for telling mommy she is skinny. Women love to hear stuff like that."

He said, "I know. Like Brandon's mom. She's skinny and . .. "

I didn't quite understand what he said. So I asked him to repeat it.

Beau, a little embarrassed now (wait, is that possible???) doesn't look up but focuses on his picture and repeats himself;. "Brandon's mom is skinny and hot . . ." He looks up and adds, "You know. Like in Hollywood."

Still not certain-- and completely disbelieving that my 4 year old son has basically just told me that his classmate's mommy is a milf-- I say, "I'm sorry. Did you say Brandon's mom is hot?"

"Uh-huh." Then looks to Ryan for back up.

Ryan and I's beer come out our noses from laughing so hard.

I regain control and further query, "Who said she was hot?"
Now, if she is the mom I am thinking of she is indeed hot. She is a petite blond tennis angel. Definitely perky and cute. Oh, and at the Thanksgiving party she gushed over my Turkey cupcakes. So clearly, she also has fabulous taste. A woman, I might say, quite like myself. . .

Beau tells me that Brandon was the one that told them she was hot.

So then I ask; "So what do you guys all sit on the playground and talk about each other's moms?"

Beau nods in confirmation.

I ponder on this a second and, of course, I have to know.

"So Beau," I ask. "What do they say about me?"

Still coloring, he says; "That you're skinny. . ." Then looking up from his picture he adds smiling, "and that you are pretty."

Oh My God.

Did you see it? Feminism? She just left the building.

And I know, I probably should have told him how "hot" is not an appropriate word to call women. . .

But I'm sorry.

My son just called me skinny and pretty.

Who cares who or what he thinks is hot.


  1. Of course I have never met her, but in my mind, Carmella was rolling her eyes for the duration of that conversation...

  2. Well you are a MILF. Not skinny by any measure. Perfect would be more accurate. But a MILF for sure!!!!

  3. This post has taken an awkward turn, what with MILFs and all... Meanwhile, there was a rating thing, and now its gone. What was that??? How horrible, to be judged post-by-post! (As if they were anything but self-indulgent...)

  4. Awesome! Skinny and pretty! That Beau, he will be a force to be reckoned with (more than he already is, but now he knows what to say, too).

    I took "A History of Women in Europe" in which my classmates called me a nazi and I got a C on my paper because (1) I started it at the last possible moment instead of discussing it with the prof, and (2) there is no history of women in Europe.

    Stoph, you are right. Carmella probably was rolling her eyes.

  5. Stoph
    Carmella was completely ignoring us. At times like that she because even more involved with whatever she is doing and pretends that she has no idea who we are. And I have no idea what was up with that rating thing. It just showed up yesterday.

    Anon-- Going on diet now. . . Sigh. No I am not skinny but my 4 yr old and the other 4 yr olds think I am and that is all that is important. I am guessing it is a comparison thing. But I like this perfect even if that isn't true either. . .

    I am trying to think of historical women in Europe. All I am coming up with is Queen Isabel, Elizabeth and a few Russian women.
    Did you do your paper on Eva Braun? Lol about you being a Nazi.

  6. In 12 years, you will be referred to as "Stifler's Mom." LOL

    Girl, I was a Soc major at UGA and even I knew to stay away from the Women's Studies classes, lol.

  7. Lauren I hope for my sake Beau is not like Stifler but I definitely think those teenage boy years will be quite entertaining.

    Okay Steph I thought up a few more women--you know in case you want to redo that paper;)
    There is a number of women writer's from the 18th century: Shelly, Austen, Radcliffe etc.
    Marie de France--who Chaucer stole from for his fabliaux.
    Joan of Arc.
    Christine de Pizen.
    I'll expect your paper when you get back from the beach.

  8. Stacey's Mom Has Got It Going On......

  9. Thanks Clyde.
    Now I'm gonna have that song stuck in my head all day.

  10. What's a MILF? Lala

  11. Not so sure I think, what you think, Joseph Campbell meant about that sin thing.. It seems to me that every guru type finds some kind of translation of the word SIN that works with their personal belief system. The current new age darling Eskhart Tolle, claims from the ancient Greek it means - to miss the mark, - I guess Adam/Eve just didn't "get it"! So much for original. For that matter what about that poor soul mucking herself out of the mud in Africa? Lala (Darwin anyone?)