Tab Tries: Not Being a Feminist
CHARLOTTE IVERS explores the other side as an anti-feminist…
Now, I am not one for apportioning blame. I am sure that the lovely Tab commenters will be more than happy to do that for me. But for some reason, a lot of girls whom I have talked to in Cambridge are unwilling to describe themselves as feminists, since they feel that this marks them out as man-hating extremists. This annoys me, since I am a feminist and believe that they are too: they are just afraid of the word. And so, in an attempt to prove that all these individuals are in fact feminists, whether they like it or not, I took it upon myself to spend a day not being a feminist, to see whether it is workable. Spoiler: it isn’t.
My day of boycotting feminism began exceptionally well. I finally dragged myself out of bed at 9:45 (living the arts student dream), only to realise that as a woman, I really should not have been allowed within 5 miles of a university in the first place (hey Girton), let alone be studying for a degree. Damn those blue stockings, sticking their noses in where they weren’t wanted. On the basis of this rock solid piece of reasoning, I went back to bed. Charlotte 1 – Feminism 0.
Unfortunately, I had a supervision later that day which I couldn’t afford (financially or academically) to miss. Luckily, I got around this by allowing my male supervisor to patronise me while I stared vacantly at him and thought about shoes and boys. Worryingly, no discernable difference was picked up on by either party.
Lunch proved more of a problem. In the common room, a male acquaintance started mouthing off about the relative stupidity of state school students. Usually, this type of thing would warrant a reasoned debate (read: aggressive rant) on my part. Unfortunately, as a woman, I was not allowed to have an opinion and so instead smiled sweetly and offered to get him a chocolate bar when I went to buy a drink. On my way to do this, it occurred to me that I couldn’t actually buy said chocolate, since I would be spending money which I had earned by working over summer, capitalist slut that I used to be. Instead, I gave my card to my college dad, and asked him to make a choice for me. Who needs autonomy?
I ran into more complications as the day went on. I had a hockey match, but wasn’t sure that such a violent sport was befitting for a lady. Luckily, the men’s captain was on hand to tell me that I had to play, and since he is the proud owner of a Y chromosome, I had no choice in the matter. When this was over, since I had been absolved of my already highly limited academic responsibilities, I decided to devote the rest of the day to finding a husband. This did not go well. Any attempt to approach a man would have been to display unacceptable sexual autonomy, and so I just had to sit in the library looking coy. As it turns out, I really don’t do coy. At all.
Not to be discouraged, I decided (as one should always decide when there is any doubt about what to do) to set out for Cindies. After all, as everyone knows: relationships which start in Cindies end in marriage. (Let’s just pause here to imagine how fucking incredible it would be to have the Lion King as the first song at your wedding, because it was playing when you met each other. Indescribably good.).
Going out after dark seemed to be a bit of a bold move, so I compromised by phoning my dad (actual, not college) and asking his permission. Slightly bemused, he granted it. I also took the opportunity to forewarn him that he would soon be receiving a call from a young man asking for permission to marry me, and so should probably start having a think about the dowry. I like to think that I am worth a fair amount in cattle, and didn’t want to be undersold. He told me that I was probably drinking a bit too much, and suggested I take a couple of rugby players as chaperones to complete the nineteenth century look.
Unfortunately, when finally I stumbled into Cindies, fairly catastrophically wankered thanks to a new rule which commanded that whenever a man told me to drink I had to do so, Independent Women was playing. Usually, the heady combination of Destiny’s Child and multiple Jaeger bombs would have been more than enough to ensure my (over)enthusiastic participation in the satanic pit of grinding that is the Cindies dance floor. But not today. Today I was not to be led astray by the temptress Beyonce.
As I sat sulking in the corner, a stranger, smelling weakness with the well honed skill of a practiced shark, appeared out of nowhere and started trying to get with me. Since, as a woman, I lack sexual agency, I went along with this for a minute or so. Luckily, an ill formed thought soon surfaced through my VK addled mind, to the effect that I was not (yet, at least) the type of person who slept with people in the name of journalism and I swiftly extracted myself from the situation. Upon checking my phone so as to look less awkward about having run away, I received text from a guy I was vaguely seeing at the time, asking whether I was out. However, I chose to ignore it, on the basis that the gentleman in question was himself a feminist (effeminate idiot) and so would have ensured that whatever happened that evening would also have been enjoyable for me. Unacceptable. Everybody knows that that is not the role of a woman.
After having cock-blocked myself spectacularly, I made my way home to write up my article. Unfortunately, halfway through I realised that I seemed to be expressing an opinion, and that this was a pretty serious transgression of the rules. Nightmare. And with that, I decided to come crawling back to feminism and accept that I might just have the same value as a man. It sounds ridiculous, I know. But I don’t seem to have another option.