“Well, back in the day there was a higher rate of domestic violence but women were happier. Nowadays all they do is complain”. I rolled my eyes until I reached blissful blindness. This was the opinion of the twenty-two year old guy who offered to drive me back from college to my parent’s house on weekends. Avoiding the almost three hours train trip and replacing it with a comfortable one and a half an hour car trip, came with an extravagant price tag. If there’s one major thing to point out is that these guys truly felt comfortable in expressing their profoundly sexist opinions.
You know, there are some situations where it is indeed better to drop the case. I could’ve tried to explain to them why women “seemed” happier back then and why today they “complain” instead. I’m usually quite reactive to these things but that time it felt like an impossible task. You know when Goku –from the japense Dragonball Z series– is forced to admit that his enemy is stronger than him so he humbly returns to his hardcore training?
Yeah… well. Those guys sounded like a sexist Freeza version whose power is to blow your mind up with deeply hurtful punchlines and I was far from the Super Sayan version of myself.
During the car ride, most of the time I found comfort in silence. It was hard to focus on something else since even the music was second-hand torture. But hey… I chose to accept his offer so I might as well shut my mouth. Matter of fact, I might also go back to taking the train…
Truth be told, I felt like I was backstabbing a whole generation by keeping silent. As the proclaimed feminist as I like to consider myself… WHAT THE FUCK GIRL? An imaginary intervention reunion took place in my head where multiple versions of myself started debating about this:
“Let’s just keep quiet. That’s more of a statement than blabbering something that’ll sound like nonsense to them either way”, said the smartass-version of me. “And let them walk out with these convictions like they’re not potential sexual aggressors?” The coldness and seriousness in these words came up from a painful memory of a younger version of me. It stayed quiet for a long moment before I dared to ask: “What is the purpose of feeling like a feminist when you don’t know how to act like one?”
Well… the truth is that feminism doesn’t come with a handbook and precise instructions. There are different types of feminist movements putting their priorities on diverse topics and causes. Some have the balls to go outside half-naked with flowers in their hair shouting provocative (but very smart) slogans. Other write books and thesis about the feminine condition in our society that cleared up some questions and liberated some young girls and women.
I do not know what to think about feminism itself and all its shapes and forms. But I do know how I personally feel: I believe in gender equality and righteous treatment for both sides. I believe in a society where women as well as men can reach out to their ambitions without suffering consequences based on their gender.
If that makes me a feminist, so be it. But I’m learning too, and the process is long. So, not knowing how to talk to those guys I went back to my casual three hour long train trip. And if that makes me a “picky bitch”… well then so be it.